Green Onion Tart

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Green Onion Tart

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This recipe is a nice and light afternoon dish to enjoy with a light pinot noir or pinot grigio. This can be served room temp, cold or even warm, it depends on your mood.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Ingredients

1 lb. green onions

2 tbsp. lemon juice

½ c. red wine

¾ tsp. salt

½ tsp. fresh-ground pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

½ c. finely grated Manchego cheese

½ c. cream cheese

2 clove garlic

½ tsp. lemon zest

1 Pastry Dough

 

Directions

Make the Onion Filling: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large saucepan of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and roughly chop into 2-inch pieces.

Transfer the onions to a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Add the lemon juice, red wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, olive oil, and thyme; toss to combine.

Tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil, roast for 15 minutes, remove the foil, and continue to roast until onions are tender and lightly caramelized, about 45 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and let cool slightly.

Assemble the tart: Combine the Manchego cheese, cream cheese, remaining salt, and the garlic and lemon zest. Carefully spread the cheese mixture onto the bottom of the tart shell and top with the onions. Remove the tart from the pan and serve.

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Roulade “spring roll style” ginger marinated Pulled Chicken with Mushroom

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Roulade “spring roll style” ginger marinated Pulled Chicken with Mushroom

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This is one of those fun anytime dishes made for a midday snack or as an appetizer for any party.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Crepe (will roll into a spring roll)

Ingredients

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup milk

Method

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, eggs and milk until smooth.

Heat a lightly greased 8-in. nonstick skillet; add 3 tablespoons of batter.

Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom.

Cook for 1-2 minutes or until top appears dry

Remove from pan and cool on sheet pan

 

Ginger Marinated Pulled Chicken

Ingredients
2 chicken breast halves with skin and bone (1 1/2 pounds total)

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon Asian chile-bean paste with garlic (preferably Lan Chi)

1 teaspoon red-chile oil , or to taste

1 teaspoon Sichuan-pepper oil , or to taste

1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh mild long red chile such as Holland

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh cilantro sprigs

 

Method

Lightly rinse chicken off and damp dry

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss chicken to lightly coat

Allow to marinate for 2 hrs in air tight container

Place chicken into pressure cooker and cook for 30-40 minutes

Remove and cool on cooling rack

Remove Skin and using a for shredded chicken

Take sauce and strain, reduce to 1/8, thicken with cornstarch if the liquid has not naturally thickened. Cool and reserve for later use.

 

Vegetable, Julienne

Ingredients

6ea Snow Peas, julienne

1 pkg Enoki mushrooms or Shitake Mushrooms

½ ea Carrot, julienne

1ea Scallion, sliced on an angle to make 4” slices

 

Method

Julienne all items and toss together

Drizzle some of the reduction enough to coat the vegetables and reserve

 

Assemble to rolls:

Place a crepe round on top of the counter surface

Take about 3oz of chicken mix and lay it in the center of the crepe

Top the chicken with the vegetable mixture

Fold the crepe over

Fold the crepe “flaps in” and roll to create a “spring roll”

Spilt in half before serving

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Cauliflower toast with Chorizo Eggs

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Cauliflower toast with Chorizo Eggs

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This light and interesting approach to a classic egg and toast concept is a departure from what you might expect from a breakfast or brunch dish. The texture of the cauliflower brings a light but full flavor a healthier alternative to bread.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Cauliflower “Toast” 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head cauliflower

1 large egg

1/2 c. shredded Cheddar

1 tsp. garlic powder

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Finely grate cauliflower and transfer to a large bowl. Microwave on high, 8 minutes. Drain thoroughly with paper towels or a cheesecloth until mixture is dry.

Add egg, cheddar, and garlic powder to cauliflower bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix until combined.

Form cauliflower into toast shapes on prepared baking sheet and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Chorizo and Eggs

8ea Large Eggs, cracked, and whisked in a bowl

1c Chorizo sausage, small diced

1T Butter, unsalted

1tsp garlic , chopped

 

Method;

heat pan with butter over medium heat

add garlic once pan is hot

add sausage

add eggs and mix well on medium heat until eggs are cooked to desired doneness

scoop onto cauliflower toast and serve

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Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Five-Spice Popcorn

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Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Five-Spice Popcorn

This fun recipe makes for a great party appetizer. With all of the flavors and textures this dish your guests will have a smile on their faces and happiness on the palate.

Easy. Simple. Done.

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Ingredients/Asian Braised Short Ribs

3 lbs beef short ribs
1 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (5-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise and chopped 1 tsp freshly minced ginger
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 qt water
1/2 cup scallions
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method/Asian Braised Short Ribs

Cut the short ribs into 4-oz portions

In a wide stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the short ribs, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, water, green onion bottoms, crushed red pepper and 2 Tbsp of orange juice. Make sure the stockpot is deep enough so the short ribs can be fully submerged in the liquid. Cover the pot.

Bake the short ribs in a 350o oven for about 3 hours, or until the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Remove the short ribs from the braising liquid and cover to keep warm.

Remove the fat off the top of the cooking liquid and discard.

Place the remaining braising juices in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup of the hoisin sauce; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid until only about 1-1/4 cups remain, about 20 minutes, then pour through a fine- meshed strainer, discarding the solids. Stir in the remaining 2 Tbsp of orange juice and the lemon juice.

Return the short ribs and the reduced sauce to the stockpot or Dutch oven; coat the short ribs with the sauce.

Bake uncovered for 10 minutes at 425o, until the short ribs are heated through and slightly glazed.

Set aside until ready to serve.

Ingredients/Stir-Fried Mushrooms

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup thinly sliced lotus root 1/2 cup julienned zucchini

1/2 cup julienned jicama
8 white button mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup julienned red bell pepper
4 asparagus spears, sliced in bias-cut pieces 2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water

Method/Stir-Fried Mushrooms

Combine vegetable broth, rice wine and soy sauce in a bowl.

Place a wok over high heat until it is hot. Add the sesame and cooking oil and swirl it in the wok, to coat all sides of the pan.

Add the garlic and ginger to the wok and stir to release their fragrance, about 10 seconds. Add the carrots, lotus root, jicama, zucchini and mushrooms; stir-fry for about a minute.

Add the 2 Tbsp water to the wok, cover and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and asparagus pieces and stir-fry for 1 minute.

Add the vegetable broth sauce and bring to a boil, then add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens.

Ingredients/Five-Spice Popcorn

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn 3 tsp five-spice powder sesame oil

Method/Five-Spice Popcorn

Pop the corn, using sesame oil, then toss with five-spice powder. Set aside.

Assembly

Place stir fry at bottom of the cup, place short ribs with sauce on top of stir fry and finish with popcorn, and garnish with chive flower.

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Jerk Chicken with Forbidden Rice and Pineapple Chutney

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Jerk Chicken with Forbidden Rice and Pineapple Chutney

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What a fun and healthy dish to serve to you friends and family. The balance of the spice of the jerk chicken with the pineapple chutney makes a fun and flavorful dish to enjoy all year long.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • 4 fresh scallions, white and light green parts, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 chili peppers, stemmed and chopped
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 whole lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 4 tsp Jamaican allspice
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Toss chopped scallions, 8 cloves of garlic and 2 de-seeded peppers in a bowl big enough to hold the chicken.
  2. Into the same bowl, stir in brown sugar, all of the spices, dried thyme, soy sauce, oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and toss together until fully coated in the marinade mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to cook, heat oven to 350°F and bake chicken for 12-18 minutes on a sheet pan covered with foil or until internal temp is 155°

Black Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup Black rice
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 red pepper, diced

Method

  1. Add oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir in chopped shallot and garlic, cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice then pour in the stock and water.
  4. Add salt.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and rice is tender, about 18 minutes. Fluff rice, add in diced red pepper and serve.

Pineapple Chutney

Ingredients
1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons, ginger diced small
6 jalapenos, diced
1T ground cumin
1/2 c rum
1 pineapple- diced
juice of 1.2 fresh lime
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup cilantro chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method
In saucepan over medium heat, saute onions, ginger, jalapenos, and ground cumin for 6 minutes. Then add rum.

Cook until almost all of the liquid has evaporated then add pineapple, lime juice and sugar.

Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Add fresh cilantro, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pineapple-chutney-recipe0.html?oc=linkback

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Vegan Meatballs with Basil “pesto” and Angel hair Pasta

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Vegan Meatballs with Basil “pesto” and Angel hair Pasta

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Chicken Pea Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

6 tablespoons water

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1.5 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, kosher

1/2 teaspoon parsley

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon basil

Method

Blend chickpeas in a blender until smooth

mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Using a mixer, mix together the chickpeas and flax seed eggs. Beat for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Add in breadcrumbs and mix.  you should be able to roll without it sticking to your hands.

Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Form the chickpea mixture into meatballs and place into a greased baking dish.

In a 450 degree oven, bake the chickpea meatballs for 20 minutes, turning over halfway through.

Vegan Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
In a food processor, process to combine: basil, garlic, and pine nuts.

add 1/4 cup oil. Process once again. Add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and process one last time until the desired texture is achieved.

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Corn and Mussel Chowder with Mahi Mahi and Black Rice

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Corn and Mussel Chowder with Mahi Mahi and Black Rice

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What a great dish to enjoy any given day with a nice glass of chardonnay or pinot noir. you can eat the components separately or pour the chowder over the mahi mahi. Soooo good.

Easy. Simple Done.

CORN AND MUSSEL CHOWDER

Ingredients:

3 ears of corn, kernels only

2 large leeks, white parts

1 stalk celery

2 bay leaves

2 chipotle peppers, dried or canned, if using canned, rinse

½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces waxy potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 pounds cleaned mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 ½ cups white wine

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves stripped from stem, unchopped

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chopped tomatoes

¼ cup chopped parsley

 

MAHI MAHI

Ingredients

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 pinch salt

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/8 teaspoon grated lime zest

2 (4 ounce) mahi mahi fillets

 

METHOD

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.

Whisk the extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, lime juice, and grated lime zest together in a bowl to make the marinade.

Place the mahi mahi fillets in the marinade and turn to coat; allow to marinate at least 15 minutes.

Cook on the preheated grill until the fish flakes easily with a fork and is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

 

Black Rice Stir-Fry

 

INGREDIENTS

3 T Olice oil

12 oz firm tofu, drained, cut into ½ “ pieces

kosher salt

1 Japanese eggplant, split lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

2 T minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 scallions, sliced

¼ head red cabbage, shaved

½ bunch purple kale, chopped into 1 inch piece

2 c cooked black rice, follow packing instructions

1 tsp Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

 

Method

Preheat a wok over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Add 1 tablespoon oil.

Season tofu with salt and cook until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes.

Remove and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon oil and cook eggplant, stirring, until golden and tender,

Remove and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon oil and cook ginger, garlic, and scallion whites,

Add cabbage, kale, and 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring, until kale is tender\

Mix in rice. Once heated through, add tofu and eggplant.

Stir in Sriracha and soy sauce.

Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Garnish with scallion greens.

 

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Chili Shrimp with Sriracha Risotto and Thai Basil risotto

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Chili Shrimp with Sriracha Risotto and Thai Basil risotto

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This dish is a great balance of spice and sweet. While it may be more of a culinary challenge it will be worth it for sure.

Chili Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

1⁄2lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 -3garlic cloves, minced

2teaspoons ginger, grated

1teaspoon dried red chili pepper (or chili flakes)

3scallions, minced

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2tablespoons sherry wine

2tablespoons ketchup

2tablespoons chili sauce

1teaspoon cornstarch, mixed with

2tablespoons water

DIRECTIONS

In wok or skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot. Saute Shrimp, garlic, ginger, scallions and chile. Cook a few minutes.

Add sherry, ketchup, chili sauce, and cornstarch mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp are done.

 

Sriracha Risotto

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups vegetable stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup arborio rice

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 teaspoons fresh ground ginger root

1/2 cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons srirachi

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup roughly chopped cashews or macadamia nuts

 

Method

In a small covered saucepot, heat vegetable stock over medium heat. When simmering, turn off heat and keep covered.

In large high-sided skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add rice, shredded coconut and ginger. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until rice begins to become translucent at edges of grains, stirring constantly.

Add 1/2 cup hot stock; stir constantly until mostly absorbed. Add additional stock in 1/2 cup increments, stirring after each addition and cooking until stock is mostly

absorbed before adding more. Cook 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring frequently and adding stock as needed. Stir in coconut milk, srirachi, salt and pepper.

 

Thai Basil
Ingredients:

3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 handfuls fresh Thai basil leaves, washed and torn into shreds
1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
2 cups dry white wine
8 cups vegetable stock, kept simmering
½ cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

 

Directions:

In a large pan, fry the garlic and ½ basil very, very gently in the olive oil until the garlic is softened but not browned. Add the rice and toast the grains until they are Deglaze In a large pan, fry the garlic and ½ basil very, very gently in the olive oil until the garlic is softened but not browned. Add the rice and toast the grains until they are crackling hot.

Deglaze with white wine and reduce.  Add stock 3 ladles are a time, lower the heat and continue to add stock and stir the rice, waiting each time for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.

When rice is creamy and tender, add remaining basil, cheese, and cook for another 2 minutes.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

, waiting each time for the rice to absorb the liquid before adding more.

  • When rice is creamy and tender, add remaining basil, cheese, pear and cook for another 2 minutes.  Adjust seasoning and serve.

 

 

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Quinoa & Roasted Cauliflower

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Quinoa & Roasted Cauliflower

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This light and wonderful dish can be served hot or cold. All the components lend themselves to a great side or meal.

East. Simple. Done.

Quinoa & Roasted Cauliflower – Vegan & Gluten-Free

Serves 8 as a side or 4 as dinner

Ingredients

  • 2 c dry quinoa (cooked in vegetable stock according to package directions- set aside)
  • 1 cup packed arugula
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • roasted cauliflower – see below
  • herb finishing sauce – see below

 

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 10 cups florets)
  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

Method

1. Toss the cauliflower florets in a bowl with the oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes at 425° degrees. Cauliflower will be browned in spots.

 

Herb Finishing Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1c vegetable stock
  • 1c fresh basil leaves
  • 16 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 c olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of ground pepper

Method

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Blend on high until well combined.

2. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

 

When ready to serve, combine arugula, cranberries, almonds and roasted cauliflower in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté together for 2-3 minutes, add in 1 cup Herb Finishing Sauce and saute 1-2 minutes, until warm.

Plate quinoa in center of plate and divide cauliflower mixture around. Drizzle with any remaining sauce if needed.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Blue Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta Crisps and Red Onion Confit

P9165217

Blue Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta Crisps and Red Onion Confit

P9165217Chef Notes

The ravioli can be made up to 1 day ahead and heated on-site just before service.

Variations

You can fill the ravioli with a wild mushroom or butternut squash mixture, instead of the blue cheese mixture, and then change to a complementary foam flavor, such as garlic-rosemary for the wild mushrooms or cinnamon-brown sugar for the butternut squash

Ingredients/Blue Cheese Ravioli

8 oz CreamygorgTM (soft gorgonzola cheese) 1 cup ricotta cheese
20 4×4-inch wonton skins
1 egg

2 shallots, chopped
2 oz Italian parsley, chopped 3 oz pancetta in small dice
1 qt chicken stock

Method/Blue Cheese Ravioli

Add pancetta to a heated sauté pan. When the pancetta starts to brown, add the shallots and sauté for about 6-7 minutes. Remove pancetta and shallots from heat and cool in refrigerator.

Combine blue cheese and ricotta cheese and add cooled pancetta and shallots. Fold together until thoroughly mixed, then put in a piping bag.

Lay out wonton skins, one at a time. Brush the edges with egg wash.

Pipe 1/2 tsp of the filling into the center of each wonton. Fold from one corner, to form a triangle, and press the edges together to seal. With a pasta wheel, trim the excess.

Fill a 4-qt pot with water and bring to a boil. Put the ravioli in the boiling water and cook fully, about 5–8 minutes, then shock the ravioli in ice water to stop cooking.

Toss ravioli in olive oil and set aside.

Ingredients/Pancetta Crunch

1 lb pancetta, diced in 1/4-inch cubes 1/4 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped

Method/Pancetta Crunch

Sauté pancetta until it’s crispy and fat is rendered. Put pancetta cubes on paper towels to drain, then toss lightly with the basil leaves.

Ingredients/Red Onion Confit

1 red onion, chopped 2 shallots, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 bunch rosemary leaves, chopped 1/2 cup honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oil

Method/Red Onion Confit

Sauté the garlic, red onion and shallots in oil. Add the rosemary, honey and red pepper flakes and lower heat; cook until mixture is thick, about 15 minutes.

Place mixture in a small bowl to cool.

Ingredients/Blue Cheese Foam

1/2 lb blue cheese, crumbled 2 cups heavy cream, chilled kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Blue Cheese Foam

Pour the cream into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As soon as the cream boils, remove from the heat.

Add the blue cheese and use a handheld immersion blender to puree until smooth. (You could also transfer the cream and cheese to a food processor and process until smooth.) Strain into a large bowl through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool at room temperature.

When cooled, pour the blue cheese mixture into the chilled canister of a foamer (this recipe should half fill a foamer). Charge the mixture with 1 or 2 charges. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

If you don’t have a foamer, use just 1 cup of cream and whisk the ingredients together just before serving.

Assembly

Heat the prepared ravioli in chicken stock for about 10 minutes and place one on each spoon. Top with Pancetta Crunch, spoon on some Red Onion Confit and spray on Blue Cheese Foam to finish.

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Italian Bean “Meatballs”

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Italian Bean “Meatballs”

This is a great, light, easy, Vegan and gluten free dish that can be prepared ahead of time.

Easy. Simple. Done.

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Gluten Free and Vegan

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 2 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toast the walnuts for 7-9 minutes until fragrant and golden, watching to make sur they don’t burn.
  3. Meanwhile, add the oats into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the texture to be like coarse flour.
  4. Remove and place into a large bowl.
  5. Add the grated carrot, chopped parsley, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and walnuts.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Add the drained and rinsed beans into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the mixture to be a coarse paste with some beans still intact, but don’t completely puree the mixture.
  8. Stir the processed beans into the bowl with the vegetables and oat flour.
  9. In a mug, whisk together the ground flax and water. Let it sit for only 15-20 seconds, any longer and it will get too thick.
  10. Stir into the vegetable bean mixture until fully combined.
  11. Stir in the oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) into the bowl, adjusting amounts to taste if necessary.
  12. Shape the mixture into 18-20 balls (the size of golf-balls), packing each ball tightly between your hands so it holds together well. Place each ball onto the prepared baking sheet an inch or two apart.
  13. Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip the balls and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden on both sides.
  14. After baking, place balls on a cooling rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve with spaghetti squash or pasta and your favorite tomato sauce
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Bloody Mary-Poached Shrimp with Tomato Onion Panna Cotta and Chili Balsamic Re

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Bloody Mary-Poached Shrimp with Tomato Onion Panna Cotta and Chili Balsamic Re

This item is for the more adventurous home cook. There are different procedures that require detailed attention, but once it’s done, your guests are going to be blown away. Sometimes great food takes a little longer, sometimes we need to work hard, but the results are magic!!

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Easy. Simple. Done.

Ingredients/Marinated Shrimp

20 U15 shrimp
20 wood skewers
6 cups tomato juice
2 tsp hot sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp prepared horseradish 1 tsp celery salt

Method/Marinated Shrimp

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on. Skewer the shrimp from the tail towards the head, so each shrimp is straight on the skewer.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and mix with a whisk. Place skewered shrimp into the saucepan, with the shrimp heads down in the liquid. Cook the shrimp over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes. Watch carefully; shrimp cook quickly and you don’t want the skewer end to get burned.

Ingredients/Tomato Onion Panna Cotta

1 oz sundried tomatoes
peanut or vegetable oil for oiling ramekins 2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2 tsp tamari
2 Tbsp agar-agar flakes

2 cups crème fraîche
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
1-1/2 Tbsp chopped chives

Method/Tomato Onion Panna Cotta

Place sundried tomatoes in a medium bowl and pour 1-1⁄2 cups boiling water over them. Leave until the tomatoes are completely softened, about 30 minutes. Lift the tomatoes out of the soaking water, reserving the water; rinse tomatoes in a sieve to remove any grit, then squeeze dry and mince. Line

the sieve with several layers of paper towels and strain the soaking water through it into a small saucepan. Set aside.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté briefly, then add minced sundried tomato. Cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in tamari, then transfer to a mixing bowl.

Add agar-agar flakes to the reserved sundried tomato water and mix well; let stand 10 minutes. Bring the water and flakes to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain the water and agar-agar mixture through a sieve into the sundried tomato mixture, mixing well. Add crème fraîche and Parmigiano-Reggiano and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle 2 oz of the mixture into 4oz cups and let stand until set, about 1 hour in refrigerator.

Ingredients/Chili Balsamic Reduction

2 tsp chili powder
3 cups Balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp water

Method/Chili Balsamic Reduction

Combine chili powder, Balsamic vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, about 12 minutes.

Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. While vinegar mixture is simmering, slowly add the cornstarch and water until the liquid is smooth and viscous. Remove from the heat and cool.

Assembly

Remove the panna cotta from the cups in which they set and place into service cups. Place Balsamic Reduction in pipette and place into the panna cotta in each service cup. Place two shrimp skewers into each cup, head down, and garnish with microgreens and celery.

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Smoked Salmon Salad with Scallion Caper Mousse

scallop

Smoked Salmon Salad with Scallion Caper Mousse

Smoked salmon is one of those delicate flavors that compliments many different occasions. Be it an appetizer, a brunch or even a first course for dinner. The oils in the smoked salmon lend themselves very well in balancing with acids, so choose a nice acidic white wine or zesty cocktail to balance with this fun and easy to prepare item.

scallop

Ingredients/Smoked Salmon Salad

15 oz smoked salmon
2 tsp capers
3 tsp red onion, finely chopped 3 tsp cilantro, chopped
1 oz lemon juice

Method/Smoked Salmon Salad

Chop the smoked salmon and combine with onion and cilantro. Mix in the lemon juice and capers. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Ingredients/Crepe Shell

1 cup all-purpose flour 2 eggs
3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Method/Crepe Shell

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and eggs. Gradually add in milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using about 1/4 cup for each crepe, to make a 4-inch circle. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. The batter should make about 20 crepes.

Cook each crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Remove and cool until assembly.

Ingredients/Scallion Mousse

2 scallions, chopped 5 oz cream cheese
1 oz capers
2 oz heavy cream

Method/Scallion Mousse

Combine cream cheese, heavy cream and capers in a mixer bowl. Using whip attachment, mix the ingredients at low speed, then turn it up to medium to whisk in air and create volume for the mousse. Mix until the mousse forms soft peaks. Just before turning off the mixer, add the scallions.

Assembly

Place crepe shells on the work area, one at a time. Keep the remaining shells covered with a damp cloth to keep them from getting dry.

Place 1-1/2 oz of salmon salad in the center of each crepe.

Fold the sides of each crepe towards the center and pull up into a purse shape, then wrap with a piece of scallion and tie a knot.

Pipe Scallion Caper Mousse in the corners of the plate and Smoked Salmon Mousse in the center.

Chef Notes

Making fresh crepes is best, but you can save time without losing too much quality by using purchased crepes and cutting with a 4-inch cookie cutter.

Variations

Use a combination of smoked trout and smoked salmon. Pipe a little horseradish mousse in the bottom of
the purse for a lively flavor.

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Roasted Pheasant, Roasted Apple, Pancetta Roulade

phesant

Roasted Pheasant, Roasted Apple, Pancetta Roulade

Pheasant is an underappreciated game bird that I truly believe f you tried, you would learn to love it as much as I do. The saltiness of the pancetta gies the a nice balance wit the roasted appl. Great served hot or cold.

Easy. Simple. Done.

phesant

Ingredients/Roasted Pheasant

2 pieces pheasant breast
2 tsp olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped 2 springs fresh sage, finely chopped 2 shallots, finely chopped
kosher salt
ground white pepper
8 oz pancetta

Method/Roasted Pheasant

Remove the skin from the pheasant breast, then butterfly the breast and use a meat mallet to pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Combine sage, thyme, shallots and oil and rub on both sides of the breast.

Slice the pancetta into 16 very thin pieces.

Lay 8 pieces of pancetta on each piece of pheasant breast, leaving the edges of the breast pieces uncovered. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the edges in slightly, then tightly roll each breast piece with plastic wrap. Twist ends of wrap in opposite directions to remove any excess air. Put roll into foil and wrap tightly, twisting edges shut.

Place wrapped pheasant on a sheet pan and bake at 325o for 20 minutes or until internal temp is 150o.

Once cooked, unwrap pheasant pieces from foil and plastic and hold hot until service.

Ingredients/Roasted Apple

1 Red Delicious apple 3 sage leaves, chopped 2 shallots, finely diced 2 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Roasted Apple

Peel, core and dice apple into 20 1/2-inch pieces.

Toss ingredients together and roast in 400o oven for 14 minutes or until apple is tender and golden brown.

Remove apple from the oven, chill and reserve.

Assembly

Slice each pheasant roulade into 10 even pieces.

On each skewer, place one piece of apple, followed by a piece of the roulade, then repeat.

Chef Note

The flavor profile for this item is very intense, so no sauce is needed. But if you want to add one, here’s an easy recipe:

1 cup sour cream; 1/2 cup applesauce; 1 tsp apple vinegar. Whisk all together.

Variations

For a less expensive option, use pork loin instead of pheasant and smoked apple bacon instead of pancetta.

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Pepato Bread Pudding with Crispy Spinach and Butternut Squash

pepito

Pepato Bread Pudding with Crispy Spinach and Butternut Squash

This a fun little appetizer dish that is a fun way to play with cheese. Pepato is a semi-hard sheep milk cheese with peppercorns and is perfect for a bread pudding.

pepito

Pepato Bread Pudding

Ingredients

2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 slices good quality white sandwich bread, crusts trimmed off (about 8 oz total)

5 oz crumbled goat cheese or 6 oz crumbled feta cheese

1/2 lb sundried tomatoes, finely diced 6 eggs
2 cups milk
3 Tbsp prepared pesto

1/4 cup freshly grated pepato cheese

Method/Pepato Bread Pudding

Grease the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish or other shallow 3-quart baking pan.

Butter each bread slice on one side. Stack the bread, 6 at a time, and cut across the diagonal into triangles. Place half of the bread pieces, buttered sides down, in the bottom of the prepared dish. Scatter the cheese over the bread in one layer. Scatter the tomatoes over the cheese. Top with the remaining buttered bread pieces, buttered sides up.

Whisk the eggs, milk and pesto together in a bowl until well-blended, then pour over the bread and cheese mixture in the dish. Push the top pieces of bread down lightly with the back of a fork so they soak up some liquid. Sprinkle the grated pepato over the top. Let the pan sit in the refrigerator for 3 hours before baking.

Bake the pudding at 350o for 35 minutes with foil covering the pan, then remove the foil and continue to bake until pudding is puffed and golden brown on top, 25–30 more minutes.

Cool the bread pudding and hold in the refrigerator until the next day.

Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 2-inch circles from the pudding. Set aside at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.

Ingredients/Crispy Spinach

10 baby spinach leaves 1 qt oil for frying

Method/Crispy Spinach

Heat the oil to 350o. Drop the leaves into the fryer until crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/4-inch cubes

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Toss the squash cubes with the oil, garlic, sage and salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast the squash in a 375o oven until the squash is tender in the center and the outside is brown and crisp, 25–30 minutes. Take out of the oven when done, put in a serving bowl and set aside.

Balsamic Mousse

Ingredients1 cup balsamic vinegar 1/2 cup honey
3 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water

1 cup heavy cream

Method

Combine the honey and vinegar in a pot. Cook until reduced by half.

Add the cornstarch to the water and create a slurry. Add this slurry to the honey and vinegar a little at a time, until it’s the consistency of honey.

Whip the cream in a mixer on high until soft peaks form. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the balsamic reduction into the whipped cream and whip until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Place the mousse in a piping bag.

Assembly

Warm the bread pudding rounds in a 350o oven for 3 minutes.

Pipe butternut squash into the bottom of each service cup or glass. Put a round of bread pudding on top of the squash, then pipe balsamic mousse on top of the bread pudding. Top with Crispy Spinach pieces.

 

pepito

Chef Notes

Make the bread pudding a day ahead to allow flavors to develop. This will also make it easier to cut.

Variations

For a lighter dish, add roasted chicken pieces to the bread pudding. With the chicken, use arugula instead of spinach. Sauté the arugula with shallots and thyme, then finish with a touch of red wine.

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GINGER-BRAISED DUCK AND PICKLED-PLUMS ROLLS

duck

GINGER-BRAISED DUCK AND PICKLED-PLUMS ROLLS

Duck begs for flavors like ginger and sweet plums. The pickled plum relish balances the savory sweetness of the tender duck wraps.

Easy. Simple. Done.

duck

YIELD: 12 BITES

BRAISED DUCK

1 whole Muscovy duck, approximately 3 pounds Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups hoisin sauce
3 cups chicken stock

1⁄2 cup flour
3 teaspoons peeled and grated ginger 1⁄2 cup tomato paste
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Spanish onion, peeled and chopped 1⁄2 cup oil
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas, for assembly

Season the duck with salt and pepper, then sear in a large sauté pan on all sides until golden brown.

In a saucepan, combine the hoisin, stock, flour, ginger, and tomato paste, and bring to boil.

Preheat the oven to 250°F.

Place celery, carrot, and onion in the bottom of
a roasting pan that just holds the duck. Place the seared duck on top. Pour the hoisin-stock mixture over the duck to cover with just the top peeking out of the liquid. Cover the pan with parchment paper and aluminum foil, and bake for 2–2 1⁄2 hours, or until fork tender. Remove the duck from the liquid and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove any fat from outside of duck, then shred the duck with a fork. Keep warm.

PICKLED PLUMS

3 plums, split and pitted, skin on
1 cup Alessi White Balsamic Pear Infused Vinegar

(or any quality Champagne vinegar) 1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup pickling spices

Slice plums 1/3 inch thick. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat mixture to 160°F and turn off. Allow to cool, then remove plums from pickling liquid and reserve for assembly.

ASSEMBLY:

Lightly grill tortillas on both sides. Spread
2 tablespoons pulled duck down the center of each tortilla. Place 4 slices of pickled plum on top of the duck, roll the tortilla, cut in half, and serve.

CHEF’S NOTES:

This can be served with a barbecue aioli for a little more punch.

BEST SEASON:

This item is great year-round, especially when served with a light craft beer.

VARIATIONS:

Substitute chicken prepared in the same fashion as the duck, pulling it from the bones after braising.

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Goat Cheese stuffed Shishito Peppers with Ginger Glaze

IMG_5685

Goat Cheese stuffed Shishito Peppers with Ginger Glaze

IMG_5685

Shishito is a pepper that un my opinion is underutilized. I love the sweet and spicy flavors that this pepper offers. Here is a great little dish that has a balance of heat and just enough sweet.

Easy. Simple. Done.

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons finely diced shallots
    • 1 scallion , thinly sliced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons aged Spanish sherry vinegar
    • 20ea Shishito peppers, lightly grilled
    • 3 ounces, soft goat cheese
    • Olive oil cooking spray
    • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
    • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

PREPARATION

    1. Whisk shallots, scallion and vinegar in a bowl.
    2. Season with salt and pepper. Slice open the top of each pepper to create a pocket.
    3. Spoon cheese into peppers, dividing it equally among them.
    4. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat; coat with cooking spray.
    5. Cook peppers, flipping once, until cheese begins to melt, about 30 seconds each side.
    6. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with cilantro and thyme
    7. Drizzle sauce over peppers and serve.

Ginger Glaze 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and ginger and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and mustard.
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Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Grilled Scallions and Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

lamb

Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Grilled Scallions and Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

lamb

There’s always room for one more, no?! Yes! This fun appetizer will be the hit of the party, Everyone loves a fancy lamb chop at a cocktail party, well this takes the idea to a whole other level.

Ingredients/Roasted Lamb Loin

20 oz lamb loin
1/4 bunch fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Roasted Lamb Loin

Trim any excess fat from the lamb loin. Mix the rosemary, garlic and olive oil and rub into the lamb loin. Season with salt and pepper.

Sear the lamb loin in a pan over high heat on all sides for 3 minutes minutes, then put in a 350o oven for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 125o.

Let the lamb cool and set aside.

Ingredients/Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

10 smallYukon gold potatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 bunch fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

1/2 bunch scallion greens, chopped; reserve whites for grilling

kosher salt white pepper

Method/Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Toss potatoes with garlic, rosemary, scallions, oil, salt and pepper. Put potatoes on a sheet pan and roast at 350o for 20 minutes or until tender.

Remove potatoes from oven and chill before skewering.

Ingredients/Grilled Scallions

20 scallions, white portions cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces (from scallions used with potatoes)

2 tsp olive oil kosher salt white pepper

Method/Grilled Scallions

Season white portions of scallions with salt, pepper and oil.

Lightly grill scallions over a medium flame until they are almost tender.

Cool and set aside.

Ingredients/Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup duck sauce
1/2 cup plum sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped 2 limes

Method/Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

Combine the duck and plum sauces; add the mint and squeeze in the juice from the limes; mix thoroughly.

Assembly

Slice the lamb loin into 20 pieces. On each skewer, place one piece of lamb, one piece of scallion whites and one piece of potato, then repeat the order.

Serve with the Chili Mint Dipping Sauce.

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Here’s the Blood Mary Appearance on PIX 11

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Here’s the Blood Mary Appearance on PIX 11

Heres the link to the apperance.

http://pix11.com/2016/12/30/chef-eric-levine-shares-bloody-mary-recipes/

While Jan. 1 is New Year’s Day, it also happens to be National Bloody Mary Day.

It seems very fitting since the bloody mary is known as a hangover remedy – and who among us hasn’t woken up on New Year’s Day with one of those?

Chef Eric LeVine has bloody mary recipes to help us get over that New Year’s hangover.

Pickled Pepper Bloody Mary

Infused Vodka Ingredients:

  • 6 bottles vodka
  • 1 QT Pickled Jalapeños in Liquid
  • 4 Pickled Fresno Peppers
  • 1 Fresh Fresno Pepper
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno
  • Pickled Infused Vodka Directions:

Directions:

Infuse the ingredients in the vodka for a minimum of 48 hours. Strain, bottle.

Green Juice Ingredients:

  • 2 Dozen Green Tomatoes
  • 8 Green Bell Pepper
  • 6 Cups OJ
  • 6 Cups Pineapple Juice
  • 1 Cup Lime Juice
  • Pickled Pepper Vodka

Directions:

Blend the first five ingredients until smooth. Grab a high ball glass and fill it with ice. Add 1 ½ oz of Pickled Pepper Vodka. Fill glass with Green Mix. Add a jalapeno garnish.

Garlic Dill Bloody Mary

Infused Vodka Ingredients:

  • Garlic Dill Infused Vodka Ingredients
  • 6 Bottles Vodka
  • 1 quart Pickle Juice
  • 10 Pickles
  • 1 oz Dill

Directions:

Infuse for minimum of 48 hours. Strain, bottle.

Tomato Juice Mix Ingredients:

  • 6 Cans Tomato Juice
  • 1 Can Piquillo Peppers (113 oz)
  • 1 Can Crushed Tomatoes (113oz)
  • 1 Cup Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Cup Pickle Juice
  • ½ Cup Lime Juice
  • 2 Cups Hot Sauce

Cocktail direction:

Grab a high ball glass and fill it with ice. Add 1 ½ oz of Garlic Dill Vodka. Fill with Tomato Mix. Add a pickle garnish.

The Voodoo Mary

  • 1.5 oz mescal tequila
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 8 oz Bloody Mary mix
  • Cilantro garnish

Makers Bloody

  • 1.5 oz Makers Mark
  • 0.5 oz Molasses
  • 4 oz Bloody Mary mix
  • 4 oz Cider

Cucumber Lemon Bloody Mary

  • 1 oz cucumber vodka
  • 1.2 oz Lemon vodka
  • 8 oz Bloody Mary mix
  • Cucumber and lemon garnish
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Caramelized Banana with Vanilla Bean Cookie and Coffee Cream Dip

banana

Caramelized Banana with Vanilla Bean Cookie and Coffee Cream Dip

Heres another dessert idea for your next party.

Server warm or room temperature its a great way to end a meal!

banana

Easy. Simple. Done.

Ingredients/Caramelized Banana

2 tsp unsalted butter
1 banana, halved, then each half sliced lengthwise 2 tsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp rum (preferably dark)
2 tsp water
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Method/Caramelized Banana

Melt butter in a heavy 10-inch skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, about 2 minutes, then sauté banana, cut sides down, while shaking skillet, about 1 minute.

Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle brown sugar around banana, then pour rum around banana.

Return skillet to heat and continue to sauté, shaking skillet occasionally, until sugar begins to melt, about 30 seconds.

Add water, nutmeg, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, 1–2 minutes.

Ingredients/Vanilla Bean Cookie

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened 2 Tbsp cold vegetable shortening 1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Method/Vanilla Bean Cookie

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, shortening and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.

Halve the vanilla beans lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the butter mixture and beat in egg and vanilla extract until combined well. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture and beat until just combined.

On a large sheet of wax paper, form the dough into a 10×2-inch log and roll up in wax paper. Chill dough until firm, at least 4 hours. Dough keeps up to 3 days wrapped in wax paper and foil.

Spread the remaining 1/4 cup sugar on a platter. Take the dough out of the wax paper and roll the log in the sugar, then cut the log into 1⁄4-inch slices. Dip the cut sides of the slices in the remaining sugar on the platter.

Arrange the cookies 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets and bake in batches at 375o in middle of oven 10–12 minutes or until edges are light gold.

With a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. Cookies may be made two days ahead of use.

Ingredients/Coffee Cream Dip

1 tsp instant coffee granules 1 tsp hot water
1 cup chilled whipping cream 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Method/Coffee Cream Dip

Dissolve instant coffee in 1 tsp hot water in small bowl.

Whip cream and sugar until medium-soft peaks form.

Add the coffee mixture to the cream and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Reserve in refrigerator until service

Assembly

For each skewer, use two cookies. Spoon a dollop of coffee cream on each cooking, then put a piece of Caramelized Banana on one of the cookies. Top the banana with the other cookie, then skewer.

Chef Notes

Keep the cookies at room temperature; they will soften in the refrigerator.

A skewer that’s too big will crack the cookies.

Variations

You can give this a fall twist by making cinnamon cookies, caramel dip and caramelized apples.

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Pan Roasted Veal Loin with Grilled Cremini Mushrooms and Crispy Shallots

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Pan Roasted Veal Loin with Grilled Cremini Mushrooms and Crispy Shallots

With the New Year approaching I wanted to share another small bite for you to enjoy!

P9154670

Ingredients/Grilled Veal Loin

1 lb veal loin
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper 3 tsp olive oil

Method/Grilled Veal Loin

Trim excess fat off veal loin and season loin with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to a sauté pan and sear veal for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Cook veal loin in 350o oven for 20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 125o.

Remove loin from pan and let rest before slicing.

Ingredients/Cremini Mushrooms

10 cremini mushrooms, sliced in 1⁄2-inch pieces 2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tsp olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

kosher salt white pepper

Method/Cremini Mushrooms

Toss the mushrooms with thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Grill on an open grill until the mushrooms are tender, about 3 minutes, then set aside and keep warm.

Ingredients/Crispy Shallots shallots, shaved on a mandolin or Chinese slicer

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups instant (Wondra) flour

1/2 bunch fresh thyme leaves (remove stems), finely chopped

kosher salt white pepper
1 qt oil for frying

Method/Crispy Shallots

Soak the shallots in the buttermilk for 20 minutes, then drain. Dredge shallot shavings, a small batch at a time, in the flour.

Fry the shallots in oil at 325o until they are crisp; remove from the fryer and lay on paper towels to drain. Season immediately with thyme, salt and pepper.

Ingredients/Red Wine Reduction

3 cups burgundy cooking wine 1 cup pork stock
4 oz tomato paste
2 tsp olive oil

3 shallots, roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh thyme leaves (remove stems), roughly chopped

Method/Red Wine Reduction

Lightly sauté shallots and thyme. Add tomato paste to the pan and heat, then add the red wine. Reduce until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes, then add pork stock and reduce again, about 20 minutes.

Strain the mixture when thickened and set aside.

Assembly

Slice the veal loin into 20 pieces.

Place one piece of veal in each spoon; add one piece of mushroom; spoon on a little Red Wine Reduction. Add a second piece of veal, a second mushroom piece and then more sauce. Top with fried shallots.

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Crispy Pork Loin with Saffron Apple Garlic Mousse and Sage Crisps

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Crispy Pork Loin with Saffron Apple Garlic Mousse and Sage Crisps

 P9154635-copy
Here is a fun recipe for the New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy this fun, flavorful bite and share it with your friends and family .  It makes a great bite meal served with other bites.
Easy. Simple. Done.

Ingredients/Crispy Pork Loin

2 lbs pork loin
1–1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 Tbsp ground fennel
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
3 Tbsp olive oil

Method/Crispy Pork Loin

Cut the pork loin into 2-inch chunks. Combine the panko breadcrumbs and the seasonings in a medium bowl. Put the flour in another bowl and the eggs in another. Dip the pork pieces in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb mix.

Heat half the oil in a sauté pan over high heat; sear half of the breaded pork until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, then transfer the pork to a sheet pan. Repeat with the remaining oil and pork.

Bake the pork in a 400o oven for 3–5 minutes for medium-cooked pork.

Ingredients/Saffron Apple Garlic Mousse

1 cup heavy cream 1/4 lb cream cheese
1 Granny Smith apple 3 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
white pepper
1 tsp saffron threads 2 tsp warm water

Method/Saffron Apple Garlic Mousse

Using an electric mixer, combine the whipping cream and cream cheese in a bowl and whip on high speed until hard peaks form.

In small bowl, crumble the saffron threads in the warm water to extract the saffron essence.

Peel, core and grate the apple into the cream mixture.

Toss the garlic cloves into olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 350o until the garlic is soft and brown.

Remove the garlic from the oven and smash each clove with the side of a knife until the garlic has a texture like paste. Add garlic to the bowl of whipped cream and cream cheese. Add the saffron liquid to the bowl and fold into the mixture until it’s fully incorporated. Set aside.

Ingredients/Sage Crisps

10 sage leaves kosher salt
oil

Method/Sage Crisps

In a fryer, cook the sage leaves until they are crisp and slightly transparent. Remove from fryer and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.

Assembly

Place 2 pieces of crispy pork in bottom of each service cup or glass. Scoop a dollop of saffron mousse on top of the pork, then garnish with a Sage Crisp.

Chef Notes

The saffron mousse can be prepared the day before. Depending on the fat content of the cream, you may need to add extra cream

cheese to help stabilize the mixture if you are making it ahead of time.

Variations

Chicken or shrimp can be used instead of pork. Make a five-spice mousse and garnish with a crispy scallion and cilantro mixture.

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Cous Cous Stuffed Tomato With Mint Pesto

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Cous Cous Stuffed Tomato With Mint Pesto

Chef Eric’s Cous Cous Stuffed Tomato With Mint Pesto

This light and simple dish can be prepared to be served either hot or cold for any time of year as an appetizer or a great side.

Easy. SImple. Done.

Serves 4-6 as an entrée or 12 as a side dish

Ingredients / Cous Cous Tomato

  • 1 dozen medium tomatoes
  • 1 box of Israeli couscous
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice a very thin section off the bottom of the washed tomatoes to allow them to stand up without rolling around. Then slice off the tops and scoop out the insides with a spoon or melon baller.
  3. Sprinkle the interior of the tomatoes generously with salt and then place upside down on a paper towel for 30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, pour the couscous grains into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Refer to package instructions to cook the cous cous
  6. Once cooked, mix the garbanzo beans, pine nuts, basil, spinach, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper into the couscous.
  7. In a small sauté pan, cook the shallots over medium-low heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil.
  8. As the shallots start to become translucent, add in the garlic and a pinch of salt.
  9. If the pan is dry, add more oil.
  10. After adding the garlic, sauté for about 30-60 seconds longer, or until you can start to smell the garlic and it softens.
  11. Add the cooked shallots and garlic into the couscous mixture and stir to combine.
  12. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
  13. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick spray.
  14. Spoon the mixture into the tomatoes and top with about a teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture.
  15. Place the tomatoes into the baking dish.
  16. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the breadcrumb topping.
  17. Bake uncovered in the 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomato skin starts to split and soften.
  18. Eat right away.

Ingredients / Mint Pesto

  • 3/4 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 scallions, thickly sliced
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Method

  1. Combine mint, parsley, garlic and lemon zest and process in food processor.
  2. Add in the oil in a thin stream.
  3. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
  4. Drizzle over and around the tomato’s when ready to serve.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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MUSHROOM GINGER CHICKEN CREPE CUP

crepe

MUSHROOM GINGER CHICKEN CREPE CUP

 

The flavors of chicken, ginger, and mushroom have always been a great combination in various cultures and many cuisines. This light and flavorful twist on a classic presentation will delight your guests.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL: @ YIELD: 24 BITES

CREPES

1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease mini muffins tins with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, eggs, and milk until smooth. (You can also use a blender.)

Heat a lightly greased 8-inch nonstick skillet; add a tablespoon of batter to make about a 3-inch round. Lift and tilt pan to evenly coat bottom. Cook until the top appears dry, 1–2 minutes. Place crepe in a greased muffin cup. Repeat with the remaining batter. Bake in oven for 6–8 minutes until slightly browned. Remove crepes from muffin tin and hold until ready to fill.

MUSHROOM RAGOUT

1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, and white button

2–4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot or 1⁄2 small onion, chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped, plus more

sprigs for presentation
1⁄2 cup Madeira or white wine 1⁄3 cup heavy cream

Clean the mushrooms by brushing with a kitchen towel or a brush to remove any loose dirt. Remove the shiitake stems and discard. Trim the dry ends off the cremini and white mushroom stems. Quarter all the mushrooms and set aside in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, spread them out evenly in the pan, and increase the heat to high. Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed until they brown, then shake the pan to turn them over. Add additional butter along the sides of the pan if the pan seems very dry as the mushrooms cook. Continue to cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Season the mushrooms with the salt and pepper and add the thyme leaves. Pull

the pan off the heat and add the Madeira or wine. Return pan to the heat and, with a wooden spoon, scrape up any of the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

CHICKEN

1 pound chicken tenders
11⁄2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 350°F. Toss tenders with grated ginger and olive oil and bake for 10–12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Shred and reserve for assembly.

ASSEMBLY:

Scoop 1⁄2 teaspoon mushroom ragout into each crepe cup, then top with 1 teaspoon of shredded chicken and serve on a tray garnished with thyme. These

CHEF’S NOTES:

The ragout mixture can be made a few days ahead without affecting the quality; this will only intensify the layers of flavor.

bites can be served room temperature, or warm them by heating the filled crepe cups in a 350°F oven for 2–3 minutes.

BEST SEASON:

The earthy tones of the wild mushroom ragout are perfect for a crisp fall or cold winter’s night. Serve with a nice glass of Pinot Noir.

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Pan Seared Quail With Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash

Pan-Roasted-Quail-640x478

Pan Seared Quail With Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash

Chef Eric Recipe: Pan Seared Quail With Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash

This fun game dish is an easy holiday dish. Its a dish that will please any game lover while introducing something new to the foodie in your life. And its gluten free too.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Serves 4 People

Quail

Ingredients

  • 4 pc quail, boneless
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Combine oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Rub quail all over with marinade and place in a ziptop bag for an hour.
  2. When almost ready to serve, heat nonstick pan on medium heat
  3. Lay quail into pan away from you and sear on both sides for 3-4 minutes or until quail is medium rare.
  4. Remove from pan, tent with foil and let quail rest for 5 minutes.

 

Hash

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts leaves
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms sliced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Heat pan over medium heat
  2. Add oil, once oil is hot add sliced garlic and Crimini mushrooms.
  3. Saute until soft and lightly browned about 5 minutes. When almost ready to serve, add the Brussels and cook until lightly wilted about 1 minute.

 

Salsify puree

Ingredients

  • 2lbs salsify, peeled an cut into one inch chunks
  • 1 whole leek, root end removed, cleaned & chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a large pot, Combine leeks and salsify and cover in vegetable stock and cook until tender on medium heat about 20 minutes.
  2. Drain liquid and mashed leek and salsify together with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Continue to mash until smooth or pulse in a food processor until it’s a smooth consistency.
  4. Cover to keep warm and set aside until ready to serve.

 

Cranberry reduction

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cranberries, dried
  • 1 cup stock, chicken
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Method

  1. Heat a quart sized pot on medium heat
  2. Add oil, garlic and rosemary and sauté until garlic just starts to color and is fragrant
  3. Add dried cranberries and stock and bring to a slow boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook until cranberry is tender about 15 minutes
  4. Transfer into blender and puree until smooth.
  5. Allow to cool then pass through a china cap or chinois (strainer) and set aside for plating
  6. When ready to serve, divide salsify puree on plates.
  7. Top with hash and roast quail.
  8. Drizzle sauce around plate and pass any remaining sauce on the side.

 

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Trio of Healthy Grains – Vegetarian & Gluten Free 

3grain

Trio of Healthy Grains – Vegetarian & Gluten Free 

3grain

Focusing on healthy and flavorful foods cn be hard at times. Trying new thigs sometimes can stress people out, so here are some simple recipes to help you along the way.

Easy. Simple. Done

1. Cous Cous

Ingredients

  • 1 c couscous
  • 1 c boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼  c diced red bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes
  • ½ c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 c fresh basil leaves
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼  c grated Parmesan cheese

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Stir cous cous into boiling water and return water to a boil.

3. Cover and remove pot from heat.

4. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

5. While the cous cous is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

6. Stir in garlic, green onions, mushrooms and peppers; sauté briefly.

7. Stir in tomatoes, basil, cooked couscous, salt and pepper.

8. Mix together and transfer to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

9. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on top.

10. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 20 minutes.

11. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese while still warm.

 

2. Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 12 c water
  • 1 ½  c quinoa, rinsed
  • 5 pickling cucumbers, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into ¼ -inch cubes
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ¼ -inch cubes
  • 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 bunches mint leaves, chopped
  • ½  c extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼  c red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 ½  tsp salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan.

2. Add the quinoa, stir once, and return to a boil.

3. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 12 minutes.

4. Strain and rinse well with cold water, shaking the sieve well to remove all moisture.

5. When dry, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl.

6. Add the cucumbers, onion, tomato, parsley, mint, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and toss well.

 

3. Bulgur Wheat

Ingredients

  • 1 c vegetable stock
  • ½  c dry bulgur wheat
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ¼  c dried cranberries

Method

1. Bring stock to a boil in a pot, and mix in bulgur and butter.

2. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes.

3. Fluff cooked bulgur with a fork, and gently mix in the dried cranberries.

 

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½  tsp dried thyme
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Method

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Use a sharp paring knife to core the tomatoes.

3. Cut tomatoes in half; transfer to one large (or two smaller) rimmed baking sheet; add onion, carrots, garlic, and thyme.

4. Toss tomato mixture with oil; season generously with salt and pepper.

5. Spread in a single layer (turn tomatoes cut side down).

6. Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. If vegetables begin to brown too quickly, push them toward the center of the sheet.

7. Using tongs or your fingers peel off tomato skins; discard.

8. Transfer mixture (including juices) to a blender; pulse several times, until chunky.

9. Let cool completely; transfer to an airtight container.

 

Black Bean Puree

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained & liquid reserved
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, medium dice
  • 1 small red onion, medium dice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small container of pesto

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oli and sauté onion & pepper until soft.

2. Add in drained black beans and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Transfer black bean mixture into a blender or food processor and blend adding reserved bean liquid until desired consistency.  It should be fairly smooth, but still able to maintain its shape.

4. When ready to serve, paint plate with tomato sauce, top with ¼ cup of cous cous, quinoa and bulgur wheat.

5. Place several dollops of black bean puree on each plate, then add a few teaspoon sized drops of pesto.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Idaho Potato Panzanella Stack

potato

Idaho Potato Panzanella Stack

potato

This recipe is a fun one that I created for Idaho Potato Commission and featured in their 2017 calendar. I hope you will enjoy making it and eating it as I did enjoy creating it.

Fire it up!

Ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: BASIL OIL
• ½ bunch basil, about 2 cups
• ¼ cup olive oil
• Salt and pepper, to taste

INGREDIENTS: BALSAMIC REDUCTION
• ½ cup balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup honey

INGREDIENTS: BACON BRUSCHETTA
• 8 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
• ½ cup bacon, cooked and chopped
• ½ cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
• ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons garlic, finely minced
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
• ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• Salt and pepper, to taste

INGREDIENTS: STACK
• 2 large Idaho® Russet Potatoes
• Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste
• Olive oil as needed for frying (optional)
• Basil Oil (see recipe)
• Balsamic Reduction (see recipe)
• 2 plump medium tomatoes, sliced
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 8 thin slices fresh mozzarella cheese, seasoned with salt and pepper
• 1 head baby romaine hearts, cut into 8 slices and lightly grilled
• Bacon Bruschetta (see recipe)

Directions:

DIRECTIONS: BASIL OIL

1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and purée until smooth, about 20-30 seconds.

DIRECTIONS: BALSAMIC REDUCTION

1. Place the vinegar and honey in a saucepot over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until reduced by half. Let cool.

DIRECTIONS: BACON BRUSCHETTA

1. Combine all the ingredients except salt and pepper in a bowl, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside, unrefrigerated, for 3 hours.

DIRECTIONS: STACK

1. Wash and slice each potato into 6 long planks (12 pieces total); season with kosher salt and white pepper. Fry planks in olive oil or bake until tender; let cool.

2. Drizzle a plate with some Basil Oil and Balsamic Reduction.

3. Gently toss tomato slices in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

4. Per portion: Lay a slice of potato onto the plate, followed by a tomato slice, a mozzarella slice and a slice of grilled romaine. As you layer, drizzle each component with Basil Oil and Balsamic Reduction.

5. Repeat the layering process and top with one piece of potato, then garnish with 1 tablespoon of the Bacon Bruschetta.

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Smoked Salmon Lollipops With Bagel Dust

salmon-bagel

Smoked Salmon Lollipops With Bagel Dust

salmon-bagel

For the holiday season or any time of year, this great small bite is a hit at any party. Fire it up!!!

Makes 10 pieces – can be doubled

Lollipops

Ingredients

  • 10 oz smoked salmon
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp scallions sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

 

Bagel Dust

Ingredients

  • 1 plain bagel
  • Salt & pepper to taste

 

  • 10 6″ lollipop sticks or wooden picks (lots of variations available at www.PickonUs.com)

 

Assembly

  1. Combine 6 oz of smoked salmon, cream cheese, scallions, capers, and lemon juice in a stand mixer with a paddle and mix until ingredients are combined.  Refrigerate until firm.
  2. Remove mixture from refrigerator and roll into 10 balls.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put back into the refrigerator to firm up, approximately 4 hours.
  3. Cut the remaining 4 oz of salmon into 10 julienne strips and wrap around each of the cream cheese-salmon balls.
  4. Cut the bagel into thin, paper like pieces.  Place the slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 325° until dried, about 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Once the bagel slices are cool, pulse them in a food processor until they look like sand or dust, a few small pebble sized pieces are ok. Transfer to a bowl and season to taste with salt & pepper.
  6. Push lollipop sticks into smoked salmon balls.  Roll in bagel crumbs, using enough pressure to make sure that the bagel “dust” sticks to the salmon balls and serve.

 

Variations

Southwest Style Flavor – Omit the salmon and capers. Add several tablespoons of salsa along with 6 oz of cooked chicken to the cream cheese mixture then dust with fajita seasoning.

For Cheese Lovers – Omit the salmon and capers. Mix in 6 oz blue cheese and 2 tbsp. snipped chives into the cream cheese base, and roll in chopped crisp bacon.

 

Do-Ahead Tip

These can be made up to two days in advance.  Be sure to cover well with plastic wrap and roll in the “dust” just prior to serving so it stays crunchy.

 

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Mushroom Tortelloni

Mushroom-Tortelloni-848x478

Mushroom Tortelloni

As you know i’m a big fan of pasta.

Here is a simple recipe to follow that has great flavors while not being overwhelming.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Fire it up!!!

Chef Eric’s Mushroom Tortelloni – Vegetarian

Makes approx. 36 pieces – serves 4

Tortelloni are very similar to tortellini – just a bit bigger in size!

Ingredients

For the pasta dough:

  • 1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 ¾ cups), plus more for dusting
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt Semolina or dried polenta, for dusting the baking sheet

For the Filling:

  • 2 c sheep’s milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 c diced taleggio cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½  c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼  c chopped fresh parsley Kosher salt
    3 egg whites – lightly whisked (for sealing tortelloni)

For the Sauce:

  • 2c chicken stock
  • 1c mushroom stock – sub in vegetable stock if mushroom stock is not available
  • 1lb enoki mushrooms, cut off woody ends
  • 1lb Maitake mushrooms, julienned
  • 1 lb sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed then julienned

 

Method: Dough

1. Mound the flour on a large cutting board and make a wide well in the middle.

2. Add the eggs and olive oil and season with salt.

3. Beat the eggs with a fork, and then use the fork to break the wall of the well and incorporate the flour into the eggs.

4. Gather the dough into a ball. Knead the dough.

5. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself and push again. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at least 1 hour at room temperature.

7. Mix the filling. Mix the ricotta, taleggio, eggs, Parmigiano and parsley in a bowl and season with salt.

8. Transfer the filling to a large pastry bag and refrigerate for one hour.

9. Cut the dough in half (reserving half for another use or it can be frozen).

10. Cut the remaining piece into quarters and shape into rounds.

11. Working with 1 dough round at a time, run dough through widest setting of a pasta machine. Fold in half; run through machine. Repeat 7 times. Roll through machine without folding, decreasing width setting after each roll, until 1/16″ thick. Transfer to a floured surface.

12. Using a 3″ cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Pipe 1 rounded teaspoonful of filling into center of each circle. Brush edges lightly with egg white; fold over and press to seal, forming a half-moon shape. Fold and press tips together, moistening with a bit more egg white to seal. Lighlty sprinkle semolina or dried polenta onto a rimmed baking sheet.

Tip:  Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

 

Method: Sauce

1. In a large pot, bring both stocks to a simmer.

2. Add in the tortelloni and cook for 6 minutes.  Once tortelloni are cooked, add in both mushrooms and snap peas and simmer for 2 minutes and serve.

 

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Grape, Hazelnut & Caramel Crunch (GF, Vegetarian)

crunch

Grape, Hazelnut & Caramel Crunch (GF, Vegetarian)

Chef Eric’s Grape, Hazelnut & Caramel Crunch (GF, Vegetarian)

Gluten free and vegetarian – makes approximately 6 cups and is delicious served with oatmeal, yogurt, sorbet, or gelato, and it’s awesome just on its own!

Ingredients

  • 5 ounce blanched hazelnuts
  • 2c pumpkin seeds – shelled
  • 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds – shelled
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp pinenuts
  • ½ c  maple syrup
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1c red grapes, sliced
  • 1c green grapes, sliced

Method
1. Heat oven to 300°F.

2. Roughly chop hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts, pine nuts in a food processor and transfer to a bowl. Mix with sliced grapes.

3. Bring maple syrup, sugar and olive oil just to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from heat.

4. Pour over the granola/grape mixture and stir well.

5. Spread onto a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown.

6. Leave to cool in a large bowl before serving. Will keep in a cool, dry place for up to one week in an airtight container.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Vegetable Roll – Vegetarian

Colorful-Vegetable-Roll-848x478

Vegetable Roll – Vegetarian

Chef Eric’s Vegetable Roll – Vegetarian

Serves 4

This will take a little bit of time to get all of the ingredients julienned (cut into match stick like pieces) and approximately the same size but it will be well worth it!

Ingredients

  • ½ c carrot, peeled, julienned
  • ½ c daikon radish, peeled, julienned
  • ½ c snow peas, trimmed and strings removed, julienned
  • ½ c Pickled red onions* recipe below or you may purchase these, dried well
  • ½ c  bok choy, julienned
  • ½ c Napa cabbage, shredded

*Pickled Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion sliced thin
  • 1 c orange juice
  • 3 oz red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz sugar

Combine all pickled onion ingredients in a sauce pan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat and remove from heat.  Let cool to room temperature (about an hour).  Drain well and pat dry prior to using.

Wasabi Mayo

Ingredients

  • ½ c Mayo
  • 3tsp Wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Method

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly

28 pc assorted colored and flavored soy wrappers (available at some Asian markets and online retailers).

Method

1. Lay 4 soy wrappers on counter top and evenly divide carrots into each.  Roll as tight as you can leaving about ½ inch exposed.  Put a dab of wasabi mayo at end and use it to seal the roll.

2. Lay 4 more soy wrappers on the counter and fill with daikon radish and roll as above.  Continue with 4 more wrappers for each ingredient.

3. You should now have 4 rolls of each of the vegetables (or 24 in total).

4. Place the remaining 4 wrappers on the counter. Take one of each of the vegetable rolls and place them on a wrapper and roll tightly leaving ½ inch exposed.  Spread 1 tbsp of wasabi mayo along the edge of the wrap and seal.  Continue with remaining wrappers until you’ve used all of the vegetable rolls.

5. Slice each roll into 8 pieces and serve

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Pork Loin W/Apple Marmalade

pork

Pork Loin W/Apple Marmalade

Light, full of flavor and easy to make.

pork

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c sherry vinegar
1 c water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small green apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 pitted prunes, thinly sliced
1 c veal stock or chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 pork tenderloins, about 3/4 lb each
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Method

1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, sherry vinegar, water and salt and pepper to taste and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the onions are very soft, about 45 minutes.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and prunes and sauté until slightly soft and caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the pan and continue to sauté until the flavors have blended, 2-3 minutes longer. And the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in the fresh parsley and cover to keep warm.

3. Rub salt and pepper to taste on all sides of the tenderloins. Sprinkle with thyme and put into a zip top bag. Pour the 1/4 cup olive oil over the top and allow to marinate for up to 8 hours.

4. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450° or a gas grill to medium high

Oven: Place the tenderloins in a pan and put it into the oven and roast the pork for 10 minutes. Turn the pork over and roast until firm and pale pink in the center when cut with a knife, about 10 minutes longer.

Gas grill: Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 5 more minutes. Continue to cook and turn for up to 10 minutes or until pork is firm and pale pink in the center.

When the pork is done, transfer it to a cutting board, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Then, using a sharp knife cut the pork tenderloins into slices 1/2-inch thick on an angle.

Divide the corn hash among four plates, top with 3-4 slices of pork, then spoon the warmed marmalade mixture over the pork.

You can make the Apple Marmalade ahead of time, just refrigerate and warm slightly before serving.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Pistachio Mousse With Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake & Poached Cherries

Pistachio-mousse-poached-cherries-and-mint-chocolate-dust1

Pistachio Mousse With Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake & Poached Cherries

Pistachio-mousse-poached-cherries-and-mint-chocolate-dust1

What a fun and flavorful dessert that can be done a day ahead. All these flavors blend so well together and they layer so well.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Fire itu p!!!

Serves 4

Pistachio Mousse

Ingredients

1 8 oz can of white fondue chocolate – you can find this at Whole Foods or other gourmet stores

4 whole eggs

1 c coconut milk – divided use

1oz granulated sugar

½ c shelled pistachio

2Tbsp pistachio nuts, peeled and chopped for garnish

Method

Warm the chocolate in a double boiler with the water at a gentle boil.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the yolks together with the sugar until it is nicely frothy and then slowly add the melted chocolate, whisking all the time. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to create a thick foam and then gently fold it into the chocolate mixture. Then whip 1/2 cup of the coconut milk into soft peaks and fold it into the mixture. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Take the remaining ½ c coconut milk and combine it with the ½ cup pistachios in a blender or food processor and blend/process until mostly smooth. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.

Pistachio Poppy Seed Cake

Ingredients
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon lemon extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1 cups flour
A pinch of salt
1/4 c lemon lime soda
zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 c pistachios (peeled and crushed)

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Butter and flour a 4 x 6 pan.

In a large mixing bowl cream together butter, and sugar. Beat until it is a light pastel yellow (about 2-3 minutes).

Add in vanilla and lemon extract. Add in 1 egg at a time incorporating each egg before adding the next.

In a separate bowl combine flour and salt.

Alternate mixing your soda pop with dry ingredients into the creamed sugar mixture ending with flour. Once all of your soda and flour mixture is combined fold into the batter your pistachios, poppy seeds and lemon zest. Pour this mixture into your prepared pan and spread the top to smooth it out. Tap the pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.

Bake 40 minutes and test your cake with a toothpick, skewer or knife.  When the stick comes out clean and free of moisture or crumbs your cake is finished.  Allow to rest 30 minutes or so.

Poached Cherries

Ingredients

1 cup dry red wine

1/4 c sugar

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cinnamon stick

¼ pound fresh cherries (with stems)

¼  tsp arrowroot

Method

Place wine and sugar in a pan and stir over low heat for 1-2 minutes to dissolve sugar.

Add vanilla bean and seeds (or vanilla extract) and cinnamon.

Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half.

Add the cherries and cook for 1 minute.

In a small bowl, combine arrowroot with 1 tablespoon cold water and a little of the poaching liquid.

Add the mixture to the poaching liquid, simmer for a further minute or until thickened, then cool.

To serve, cut cake into 24 one inch squares and add 2-3 squares in the bottom of each bowl/glass.  I use small glasses.  Place a dollop of pistachio mousse into each glass and top with a dollop of pistachio cream.  Add 2-3 more cake squares to the glass and top with another dollop of pistachio mousse and any remaining pistachio cream.  Smooth tops and refrigerate until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, divide poached cherries on top of each serving and garnish with a few chopped pistachios.

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Torn Chicken with Spicy Tabasco Tomato Confit and Celery Chips

chix

Torn Chicken with Spicy Tabasco Tomato Confit and Celery Chips

chix

With the holidays here, and all sorts of parties going on, enjoy this simple but fun appetizer with your friends and family.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Fire it up!!!

Ingredients/Torn Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 cups tomato juice
1 cup chicken stock
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1/2 medium red onion, chopped 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Method/Torn Chicken

Clean any excess fat from chicken breasts.

Pour the tomato juice and chicken stock into a pot and add half the chopped celery and onions. Place the chicken breasts into the pot, then cover with the remaining celery and onion, plus the pepper flakes. Cook over a medium flame for 20 minutes or until the chicken can be shredded with a fork.

Remove the chicken from the pot and shred while still hot, then set aside to cool.

Ingredients/Spicy Tabasco Tomato Confit

12 pear tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup tomato juice
2 tsp honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp olive oil

Method/Spicy Tabasco Tomato Confit

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions until clear and translucent, about 6 minutes.

Remove seeds from plum tomatoes and dice into 1/4- inch pieces. Add onions and cilantro to tomatoes, then add tomato juice, honey and pepper flakes. Simmer over low flame for 15–20 minutes until mixture is reduced, then remove from flame and cool. The confit should be thick and pliable.

Ingredients/Celery Crisps

2 celery stalks kosher salt

Method/Celery Crisps

Slice the celery into 1/8-inch slices and sprinkle with salt.

Dry in a dehydrator for 7-10 hours until crisp.

Assembly

Put enough torn chicken in each spoon to make one bite. Top the chicken with a 1/2 tsp of Tomato Confit and then sprinkle with 2 pieces of dried celery just before service.

Chef Notes

If you don’t have a dehydrator, put the celery slices on a sheet pan and keep in a 125o oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven off and keep them in the closed oven for 8 hours, until they are crisp.

Variations

Braised beef brisket or slow-roasted pork loin can
be substituted for the chicken. To change the flavor profile completely—and to upscale the item, use butter-poached shrimp, scallop or lobster.

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Duck Ravioli with Roasted Vegetables

Duck-Ravioli

Duck Ravioli with Roasted Vegetables

So raviolis have become a passion of mine, i even have a ravioli company, http://www.ChefEricsRavioli.com if you ever need to order amazing raviolis.

Thank being said, if you enjoy making ravioli as much as I do try this recipe out, its a lights out ravioli dish.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Fire it up!!!

Serves 4

Duck
Ingredients
2 duck breasts
1 large carrot peeled and rough chopped
2 medium shallots chopped
2 teaspoons dried sage
1small lemon (I used a meyer lemon)
2 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
Heat oven to 375°, clean and pat dry the duck breasts, score the skin through the fat without cutting into the meat, sprinkle each breast on both sides with salt, pepper, and sage. In small roasting pan make a bed of carrots, shallots and garlic and lay the duck breasts on top of it skin side up, quarter the lemon squeeze some of the juice on the duck and place the quarters around the duck. Cover with foil and roast for 45-50 minutes, if the duck breasts are large it may take an hour or bit longer to roast. I was not looking for crisp duck skin rather tender moist duck meat, and caramelization of the vegetables. Remove from oven and set aside to cool so it can be shredded.

Pasta
Ingredients
3 extra large eggs (if you have large eggs use 4)
2 teaspoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
4-6 fresh sage leaves chopped (depending on the size large leaves use 4 smaller 6)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon water

Method
In bowl of your food processor add the flour, eggs, olive oil, water and salt. Pulse until it forms a cohesive ball. Dump onto floured work surface and knead until it’s smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. If you are not using a food processor dump the flour onto your work surface, make a well in the middle and add the eggs, oil, water and salt, beat the eggs and start incorporating the flour in a circular motion until you have a cohesive ball, knead until smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes

Ravioli filling
Ingredients
½ cup ricotta
1egg beaten
1/2cup toasted walnuts chopped finely
2tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
1/4teaspoon lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste

1/4cup white wine
Reserved duck meat and roasted vegetables
1tablespoon Unsalted butter

In small bowl beat the egg, add the walnuts, parsley, grated cheese and lemon zest and stir to combine, add the ricotta and mix together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. NOTE: It’s not absolutely necessary but you can strain the ricotta in cheese cloth to remove some of the liquid, If using homemade ricotta you have probably already done that but if you use store bought ricotta you could strain it, but it’s not essential to the recipe.

Cut the pasta dough into quarters, cover the dough you are not using with tea towel to keep moist. Use your pasta machine as directed. I roll it starting on first (widest) setting and end with the next to the last notch (#5) on my machine. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter cut rounds of dough. Place a small amount of ricotta mixture in center, with fingertip wet the edge of the circle and press another round on top. Press to seal and place on sheet pan with floured tea towel keeping it covered while you are working on the other ravioli. You should end up with 16 ravioli. After you are done refrigerate covered if you are not going to boil them right away.

Place large pot of water to boil on high heat. While your water is heating shred the duck discarding the skin and lemons, pour out most of the fat (I used a fat separator) and keep the brown bits and some of the pan juices and add the white wine and reduce by about 1/4, then add the butter, roasted carrots, shallots and garlic and break up with a fork don’t mash. Add the shredded duck and keep warm on low heat. When water comes to a boil add some salt, add the ravioli and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until ravioli float to the top. Remove the ravioli with strainer.

Place ravioli on serving platter top with the shredded duck and vegetables.

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Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash (Vegan)

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Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash (Vegan)

Perfect time of year for this rustic and delicious dish.

Easy. Simple. Done.  Fire it up!!!!

Ingredients

Butternut Squash

2 butternut squash, split in half lengthwise and seeds removed

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp white pepper

 

Filling

2 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tbsp garlic, chopped

1 quart Brussels sprouts, cut off the stem and split in half

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup cremini mushrooms, quartered

 

Method: Squash

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine 4 tbsp olive oil with salt & pepper and rub into cut side of butternut squash halves

Set squash cut side down on baking pan and poke holes in skin with fork

Cook for 20-25 minutes or until flesh of squash is tender to the touch but not mush

Turn over carefully -its hot – and with a spoon lightly scrap center to form a pocket for filling

 

Method: Filling

While squash is baking, heat pan on medium heat with oil

Add garlic and sauté until light brown

Add cranberries, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms

Sauté until sprouts are tender

 

Serving

Place one half of each cooked squash on a plate and divide filling into pocket. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

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Orange Crepe Stack

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Orange Crepe Stack

Fun in the kitchen is what this dish is all about. The oranges can be substituted with different fruits such as dragon fruit or blood orange, so you can take advantage of the seasons.

Fire it up!

Orange-Curd-Stack-634x478

Serves 4

Crepe Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup less 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Method

  1. Whisk all the ingredients vigorously until the crepe batter is completely smooth; allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before making into crepes.
  2. Melt a little butter in a crepe pan or large skillet over low-medium heat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered with batter, about a 3-4 inch circle.
  4. Cook the crepe for 1 minute, flip and cook until the crepe is slightly crisp. Continue making crepes until all of the batter has been used.

 

Orange Curd Ingredients

  • Zest of One Orange
  • ½ cup White Sugar
  • ½ cup Orange Juice (freshly squeezed after zesting the orange)
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 7 tablespoons salted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces.

 

Method

  1. Zest orange – then juice
  2. Using your fingers, rub the orange zest into the sugar. This will tint the sugar orange and release the oil from the zest into the sugar.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add the orange zest and white sugar.
  4. Add the orange juice, eggs and butter.
  5. Constantly whisk over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Curd should thickly coat the back of spoon when done.
  7. Cover and cool in the fridge.

 

Orange yogurt Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • Mix yogurt, honey and orange juice together. Set aside for plating

 

Garnish

  • 2 large orange, supremed into segments or one small can of mandarin orange segments packed in juice and drained
  • 4 fresh mint leaves, thinly sliced
  • When ready to serve, evenly divide the orange yogurt around the edges of four bowls.
  • Place a crepe in the bottom of each bowl, add a dollop of orange curd on the crepe and a few orange segments.
  • Top with another crepe, a dollop of orange curd and a few orange slices.
  • Top with another crepe, orange curd and any remaining orange slices.
  • Sprinkle with fresh mint.

 

*You might notice that the crepes I’ve used in the picture are drizzled with melted white chocolate. If you want to do this, just melt 3 tbsps of white chocolate and drizzle over the cooled crepes.

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Grilled, Roasted, and Pickled 

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Grilled, Roasted, and Pickled 

Skirt-Steak-with-Cipollini-Onions-848x478

Gluten Free/Serves 4

Start this recipe one day ahead so you’ll have time to marinate and pickle* This is a fun dish to share with special guests who enjoy a little creativity in their meal.  Fire it up!!!

Grilled Skirt Steak

Ingredients

  • 4ea 6-8oz Skirt steak, trimmed of extra fat
  • 4oz Chimichurri sauce

 

Method

  1. Marinate skirt steak in chimichurri – in a zip top bag for 24hrs*
  2. When nearly ready to serve, heat grill on medium temp
  3. Remove steak from bag and grill on both sides until desired temperature, no more than 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare

 

Chimichurri sauce

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh parsley and/or cilantro, firmly packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves (optional)
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Kosher salt and red pepper flakes to taste

 

Method

  1. Pulse the garlic and onion in the food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add the parsley and/or cilantro, and oregano if using, and pulse briefly, until finely chopped.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl. Add the olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar, and stir. (Adding the liquids outside of the blender gives the chimichurri the correct texture. You don’t want the herbs to be completely puréed, just finely chopped).
  4. Season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use

 

Roasted Cauliflower Puree

 

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4tsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • White pepper
  • 3oz butter, unsalted
  • 1c chicken stock

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Cut cauliflower into chunks
  3. Toss in oil and season with salt and pepper then spread out on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and may be browned in spots.
  4. Remove from oven, place cauliflower in blender or food processer
  5. Turn on medium, slowly add stock until a smooth but thick consistency forms. You may not use all of the chicken stock
  6. Add in butter and process until combined.
  7. Keep warm until ready to serve

 

Roasted Cipollini Onions

 

Ingredients

  • 8ea Cipollini Onions
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Peel skin from onions but do not trim the ends
  3. Toss onions in oil, salt and pepper and put on a rimmed baking sheet
  4. Roast in pre heated oven at 325° for 15-20 (or longer depending on the size of the cipollini) minutes until browned in spots
  5. Keep warm until ready to serve

 

Grilled Romaine

 

Ingredients

  1. 1head large romaine
  2. Vegetable oil spray
  3. Kosher salt
  4. White pepper

Method

  1. Heat grill on medium heat
  2. Split romaine in half the long way leaving stem end intact
  3. Spray romaine halves lightly with vegetable oil pray and season with salt & pepper
  4. Place romaine with cut side down on the grill
  5. Allow romaine to grill until leaves are tender but not wilted or burned, 1-2 minutes

 

Hard Boiled Eggs

 

Ingredients

  • 4ea large fresh eggs
  • 1qt water

Method

  1. Place eggs in pot of water
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  3. When boiling, cover and remove from heat. Let eggs sit in the water for 12 minutes
  4. Remove and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process
  5. Peel and quarter when ready to serve

 

Pickled Radishes*

 

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 chili peppers, seeds and ribs removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Method

  1. Heat water, vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns over medium high heat and stir until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat and add in chili’s, garlic and whole radishes.
  3. Let set 6-8 hours then put in fridge overnight
  4. Discard pickling liquid and shave thin for serving

 

When ready to serve, cut each romaine half in half the long way. Put a dollop of cauliflower puree on one side and top with grilled steak. Place a romaine quarter, cipollini onions, radishes and eggs on each plate and serve.

 

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Crostini Trio – Vegetarian

Crostini-Trio-1-848x478

Crostini Trio – Vegetarian

 

This great combination of easy recipes can be prepared a day ahead and finished before you are serving to your guests at the last minute.

Easy. Simple. Done.

1. Edamame Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 c cooked edamame
  • ¼ c tahini
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, chives, basil – any of all of these would be good)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

Method

1. Combine edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs in food processor.

2. Process until smooth.

3. Drizzle olive oil through feed tube, continuing to process until oil is fully incorporated.

4. Season with salt to taste.

 

2. Olives & Feta

Ingredients

  • 1 c kalamata olives, pitted & lightly chopped or sliced
  • 1 c feta cheese, crumbles
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

Method

Combine all ingredients & mix well

 

3. Artichoke, Parmesan and Tomato

Ingredients

  • 1 cup artichokes packed in water and drained well
  • 1 large tomato, diced – about 1 cup
  • 3 tsp parmesan, grated

Method

Combine all ingredients and mix well

 

Focaccia* crisps

Ingredients

  • 2 ea 4×4 pieces focaccia bread, sliced into ¼” thick pieces
  • 3tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Method

1. Brush focaccia with oil and season with salt and pepper

2. Toast until golden brown, cool slightly

 

When ready to serve, spread a tablespoon or so of each mixture onto a crisp and repeat until all crisps have been used.

 

*If you can’t find focaccia bread at your local market, use a baguette, ciabatta bread or even pita chips!

 

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels

Coconut-Curry-Mussels-1

Coconut Curry Steamed Mussels

This light and flavorful dish will be a show stopper at any dinner party for the holidays or just for you and some special people in your home to enjoy.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Ingredients

  • 8 sprigs cilantro, separate leaves and stems and roughly chop both
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 small shallots, sliced thin
  • ½ tsp whole coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp zest plus 1 tbsp. juice from 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
  • 15oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2lbs fresh PEI mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 small Thai or Serrano chili, thinly sliced

Method

  1. Combine cilantro stems, half of garlic, half of shallot, coriander seed, chili flakes, lime zest and a small pinch of kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Grind into a smooth paste
  2. Scoop 2 tablespoons of thick cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and add to a large saucepan.
  3. Add oil and heat over medium heat
  4. Add remaining garlic and shallots, pounded paste, curry paste.
  5. Cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Add remaining contents of coconut milk can, sugar, and fish sauce.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes.
  8. Season to taste
  9. Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly until mussels are open. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves, fresh chili, and lime juice.
  10. Discard any mussels that don’t open.
  11. Divide mixture between four bowls including the broth.
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Wild Mushroom Crisp

Mushroom-Crisp-with-Roasted-Vegetables-848x478

Wild Mushroom Crisp

Here is a fun and vegetarian Crisp that can be served as an appetizer or a snack, even a light mid day meal.

Easy. Simple. Done.

Crisp

1 sheet puff pastry

  1. Heat oven to 350°
  2. Roll puff pastry into a 9″ x 9″ square and place on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Poke holes with a fork all over the puff pastry. Crimp the edges decoratively and place in oven.
  3. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until a light blond color and remove from oven.

 

Mushroom duxelle

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lb mushrooms Cremini, finely chopped
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add shallot and garlic; cook, stirring, until softened,
  3. Add mushrooms and salt; cook, stirring, until mushrooms have softened and released their liquid.
  4. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until liquid has evaporated.
  5. Stir in parsley, salt, and the pepper. Let cool completely.

 

Topping

Ingredients

  • 1 small Zucchini, cut into 1” wedges
  • 2 ea salsify, peeled, sliced into thin ¼” sticks
  • ½ c Cremini mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths if very large
  • Optional Garnish
  • Snipped chives

Method

  1. Toss zucchini, salsify and mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast in a 350° oven for 8 -10 minutes or until vegetables are crisp tender.
  2. Top cooked puff pastry with a thin layer of mushroom duxelles and top with roasted vegetables. Place in oven and bake for 8 -10 minutes until hot.
  3. Cut into quarters or smaller wedges, top with snipped chives if using and serve.
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Crab, Shrimp, Corn & Bacon Dip

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Crab, Shrimp, Corn & Bacon Dip

Crab-Shrimp-Corn-Bacon-Dip-848x478

So whats better than a warm bowl of dip? A bowl of Crab, Shrimp and Bacon Dip thats what! Enjoy this gluten free dip that can be served hot or cold. This also makes a great holiday season dish that you can bring to that party and be the talk of the night….Happy Holidays! Fire it up!!

Makes about 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 8 oz light cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp Old bay Spice
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/2 cup cooked lump crabmeat – rinsed & picked over to remove any shells
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn – reserve 1 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup cooked, chopped bacon
  • 1/3 cup cooked chopped shrimp
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Combine all ingredients but crab meat and shrimp into blender
  3. Mix on medium speed until blended.
  4. Fold in the crab, shrimp and reserved corn. Transfer to a shallow 2-cup baking dish.
  5. Top with Parmesan
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until top is lightly brown.

Serve with your favorite gluten free chips or crudité.

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Pulled Turkey With Mushroom Ragout

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Pulled Turkey With Mushroom Ragout

Pulled-Turkey-with-Mushroom-Ragu-848x478

Leftover Turkey?No problem, here’s an idea.

Makes 20 spoons: enough for dinner for four.

Mushroom Ragu

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz dried mushrooms, preferably porcinis
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and quartered or sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 lb wild mushrooms, trimmed and brushed clean, or oyster mushrooms, trimmed and torn into pieces if very large
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ c dry white wine
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

Method

  1. Place the dried mushrooms into 2 cups boiling water and soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the mushrooms and save the liquid.
  3. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet or a wide saucepan and add the shallots. Cook, stirring often, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until fragrant, then add the fresh mushrooms, rosemary and thyme, and turn up the heat slightly. Cook until the mushrooms begin to sweat, then add a generous pinch of salt. Stir for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat as the mushrooms continue to soften and sweat. Add the flour and continue to cook the mushrooms, stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms and the wine and turn the heat to high.
  5. Stir in the dried mushroom soaking liquid, bring to a simmer, add pepper and salt to taste, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mushrooms are thoroughly tender and fragrant and the surrounding broth is thick, about 10 to 15 minutes. Top with finely chopped parsley.

Pulled Turkey

Ingredients

  • 2 cups leftover cooked turkey or chicken, shredded
  • 1 -2 cups gravy with 1 tsp (or more) Sriracha added

Method

  1. Warm leftover turkey in gravy mixed with Sriracha to taste – keep warm.
  2. When ready to serve, place a spoonful of mushroom ragu on each spoon, top with some of the pulled turkey. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, crème fraiche or (if you have them leftover) a teaspoon of warmed up mashed potatoes and top with microgreens or a bit of chopped parsley.

 

If serving for dinner, you may want to add some fresh cooked rice and a simple green salad.

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Basmati Rice Cake with Grilled King Trumpet Mushrooms and Vegetable Ratatouille

Basmati-Cake

Basmati Rice Cake with Grilled King Trumpet Mushrooms and Vegetable Ratatouille

This great dish is one of those uncommon vegetarian dishes. Great flavors meets unique and uncommon ingredients. I love mushrooms and I hope you will enjoy the trumpet mushrooms as much as i did.   Fire it up!!!

Basmati-Cake

Basmati Cake

Ingredients

Cakes:

3 cups water

1 1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

2 garlic cloves, minced

3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

 

Method

Combine water and rice in pan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool 10 minutes. Add rice to lentils.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, fennel seeds, and garlic to pan; saute 2 minutes or until tender. Cool 10 minutes. Add to rice. Add mozzarella cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until well combined. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Spoon half of rice mixture by 1/3-cupfuls into pan, spreading to form 6 (3-inch) circles; cook 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Carefully turn cakes over; cook 5 minutes on other side. Remove cakes from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining rice mixture.

Ratatouille

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium diced unpeeled eggplant

1 small diced zucchini

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large diced tomato

1/2 cup chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basi

Method

warm oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Add the onion, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Cook 8 minutes, stirring, until softened and cooked down.

Stir in tomato, red bell peppers, and vinegar; cook 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Set aside

 

King Trumpet Mushrooms

Ingredients

2ea King Trumpets or Portobello

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tsp Olive oil

Method

Slice mushrooms into steaks

Toss into oil and season with salt and pepper

Either roast in the oven on a non stick tray for 20 minutes or grill for 10-12 minutes until tender

 

 


 

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Baked Clam Paella

Baked-Clam-2Paella

Baked Clam Paella

This perfect little dish has become a great appetizer for our customer to share at my restaurants. It takes all the traditions of Paella and drops it into a bite! (but don’t bite the shell please)

Fire it up!!

Baked-Clam-2Paella

Ingredient

2dz little neck clams, shucked (giving you 48 pc) chop and reserve clams
2 t olive oil

1 T Paprika

2 tsp dried oregano

salt and black pepper to taste

4oz ground chicken

1 T olive oil, divided

1 cloves garlic, crushed

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 c uncooked short-grain white rice

1 pinch saffron threads

1 bay leaf

½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

2c chicken stock

2 lemons, zested

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 Spanish onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

½ # chorizo sausage, casings removed and crumbled

½# shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Method

In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Stir in marinated chicken and onion; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bell pepper and sausage; cook 5 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, turning the shrimp, until both sides are pink, finish with chopped clams.

 

Scoop a Tablespoon of the mixture into each clamshell and bake in oven for 10 minutes

 

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Crispy Eggplant Discs with Garlic Marinated Zucchini and Ricotta Mousse

eggplant-spoon

Crispy Eggplant Discs with Garlic Marinated Zucchini and Ricotta Mousse

Simple and Easy to make. This crowd pleaser has been a great cocktail hour passed bite that has texture, great flavor and without making your guests feel satisfied while but wanting more.

eggplant-spoon

Crispy Eggplant Discs with Garlic Marinated zucchini and Ricotta Mousse

Ingredients/Crispy Eggplant

1 Japanese eggplant

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 cup Wondra flour

1 cup egg wash (3 eggs and 1/4 cup water, whisked together)

kosher salt white pepper

Method/Crispy Eggplant

Slice the eggplant, unpeeled, 1/4-inch circles; cut each slice in half to create half-moon shapes.

Dredge the eggplant slices in flour, then egg wash, then the breadcrumbs.

Deep-fry the eggplant slices until crispy, about 3 minutes, then remove from the fryer and season.

Hold warm until service for up to 30 minutes.

Ingredients/Garlic zucchini

1ea Zucchini

3 garlic cloves, chopped

8 tsp balsamic vinegar

6 tsp olive oil

1/4 bunch rosemary leaves, chopped

Method/Garlic zucchini

Shave the zucchini into thin pieces with a peeler. Add the garlic and rosemary, then toss with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and set aside.

Ingredients/Ricotta Mousse

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Ricotta Mousse

Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment on high speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Place the mousse in a piping bag and set aside.

Assembly

Pipe the Ricotta Mousse into service spoons.
Stand 2 eggplant chips in the mousse in each spoon. Add zucchini in the middle of the eggplant.


 

 

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Herb Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Caper Sauce

2herb-chix

Herb Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Caper Sauce

This dish is a light alternative to what can be a normally a heavy, hearty season of cooking.

The flexibility with this dish is vast. All ingredients can be prepared ahead of time during the early part of the week and heated before eating.

Enjoy and Fire it up!!!

2herb-chix

Herb Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Caper Sauce

Herb Chicken

Ingredients

8ea Chicken, jumbo tenders

1c rice

1c-pasteurized eggs

4tsp olive oil

3T Italian parsley, chopped

Kosher salt

White pepper

 

Method

Dredge chicken in flour

Combine egg and chopped parsley

Dip chicken in egg

Heat pan with olive oil and sauté

Cook chicken both sides for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through

Place chicken on top of roasted vegetables

 

Caper Sauce

Ingredients

3T Capers

½ c Tomatoes, diced

½ c Red onion, shaved julienne

3 tsp Olive oil

½ c chicken stock

Kosher salt

White pepper

 

Method

Once chicken is removed from sauté pan add onions, capers and tomatoes, sauté until onions are slightly translucent

Slowly add stock and allow sauce to reduce

Season to taste and pour over chicken

 

Vegetables

Ingredients

1c Brussels sprouts, cut into ¼ pcs

1pc zucchini, medium, split ling and sliced thin

1c pearl onions, frozen

1ea carrot, large, peeled, split, sliced into thin half moons

½ c Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Method

Combine all vegetables in bowl and mix with oil, salt and peppers

Place on pan sprayed baking pan and roast in pre heated oven for 12-15 minutes of until vegetables are golden in color

 

 

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Holiday gift cards and Cookbook…..

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Holiday gift cards and Cookbook…..

So it’s that time of the year kids!! Happy Holidays! @paragontapandtable and @morristapandgrill we have gift cards for you to share in your love for our food, beverage and amazing service #craftexperienceredefined plus we have my cookbooks for you to give to that special cook in your life. It’s a win win. Also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble if you can’t make it in. #fireitup #fullcircle#chefericsignature #chefswithtattoos #happyholidays15107211_1355370114527822_4423697158811989626_n

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Gluten Free S’mores….heres a simple gluten free dessert for you!

Smores4

Gluten Free S’mores….heres a simple gluten free dessert for you!

Smores4

Being the dad of a child who has celiac I know how tough it could be for her to enjoy desseert with the family during the holidays. Here is a gluteen free option that you can share with your family, gluten free or not.  Happy Holidays!  Fire it up!!!

Ingredients

5 gluten-free graham cracker sheets, broken

3.38 ounces gluten-free flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 large egg

6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

8oz bars semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups marshmallows

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend over edge of pan.

Place graham crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.

Add flour and sugar to crumbs; pulse until combined.

Add butter; pulse 15 times or until blended.

Add egg; process until moist. Press crumb mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Cook cream in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat.

Add chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Spread chocolate mixture over cooled crust.

Cut marshmallows into rings (3 ea marshmallows) and lay on top of chocolate coated crust.

Cover and chill 2 hours and 30 minutes or until firm. Holding edges of foil, lift mixture from pan, and carefully peel off foil.

Place on a cutting board. Cut into bars.

Stack and serve

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Brussels Sprout Bone In

bome in brussels sprouts copy

Brussels Sprout Bone In

Rather than a traditional way of eating brussels sprouts, here is a fun interactive and creative way to serve. When it comes to food it needs to be fun, and this is another way of doing it.

I have been doing it this way for years in my restaurants, and we get such a great reaction i figured i would share the recipe with you.

Fire it up!!!!

bome in brussels sprouts copy

1 cup pomegranate juice

½ c Garlic, Chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 tablespoons Oil

2 tablespoons minced red onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Brussels sprouts stalk cut into 5-6” sections

 

Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees .

In a small saucepan, saute garlic light brown then add he pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice, stirring often, until reduced by about three-quarters (about 8 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the oil onion and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

Cut the full stalk into 5-6” stalks

Place the stalk on a foil-lined baking sheet; brush the vinaigrette onto the sprouts.

Roast for 45 minutes or until the sprouts are tender, turning every 15 minutes. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, brush often with the glaze.

Transfer to a platter; sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds.

Serve with kitchen shears for removing the sprouts

 

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Edamame Hummus with Lemon and Thyme Cracker..the perfect appetizer for the holidays.

2-edda-edamame-hummus-on-lemon-thyme-crisp

Edamame Hummus with Lemon and Thyme Cracker..the perfect appetizer for the holidays.

This makes for a great vegetarian option for any holiday party. The recipes can be made ahead of time so you can spend time with your family and friends during the holidays.  Fire it up!!

Simpe, Easy , Done!

2-edda-edamame-hummus-on-lemon-thyme-crisp

Edamame Hummus

ingredients

1 c. cooked edamame

1/4 c. tahini

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 garlic clove, peeled

2 T Thyme, pulled leaves

2 t. olive oil

salt to taste

Method

Combine edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and Thyme in food processor.

Process until smooth.

Drizzle olive oil through feed tube, continuing to process until oil is fully incorporated.

Season with salt to taste and serve.

 

Thyme Crackers

Ingredients

1 stick butter

3 oz grated parmesan

1T Lemon Juice, and zest

1 ¼  c all purpose flour

¼  tsp kosher salt

1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves

½  tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons water

Method

Place butter in a bowl of an electric mixer (paddle attachment) and mix until creamy.

Add Lemon zest, lemon juice,Parmesan, flour, salt, thyme and pepper and combine. Add water as needed to form a ball of dough.

Dump the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap. Lightly flour and roll into a 13-inch long log. Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log crosswise, with a sharp knife, into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices.

Place slices on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes.

 

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Apple Mint Caramel Shaker….this makes a great holiday cocktail

apple-caramel-cock

Apple Mint Caramel Shaker….this makes a great holiday cocktail

apple-caramel-cockDessert in a glass! You can skip the apple caramel pie and enjoy this decadent cocktail instead.

YIELD: 2 DRINKS
1 cup apple-caramel pie filling, plus 2 table-spoons

of juice reserved for rimming the glasses 1⁄2 cup apple brandy
1⁄4 cup pitted dates
1⁄3 cup whole milk

Salt to taste

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, for rimming the glasses

1/4 bunch fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Combine in a blender the pie filling, brandy, dates, milk, and salt. Puree until well incorporated. Dip the rim of each glass into the reserved juice and coat with finely chopped walnuts. Fill each glass with the blended mixture, garnish with mint, and serve.

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A taste of RED

a ratse of red

A taste of RED

Playing around with ideas in a single color  was the direction i was heading into with this plate. Sometimes its the different approach to food that leads to creative fun ideas, as is the case with this dish.

a ratse of red

Pickled red onion salad

ingredients

2 red onions, sliced

1 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

Method

Blanch 2 sliced red onions in a small saucepan of boiling water to cover for 1 minute and drain in a colander. Then return them to the pan and add a cup of cider vinegar, a teaspoon of salt, and just enough cold water to barely cover the onions. Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer the onions 1 minute. Transfer the onions and brine to a glass jar and chill. The onions will turn the color of a pink piñata and will get crisp as they cool.

 

Tomato Bruschetta

ingredients

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California

2 whole cloves

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

½ Italian frying pepper, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1 tsp curry powder (preferably Madras)

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 lb tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges

1 tsp packed dark brown sugar

Method

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic, bay leaves, and cloves, stirring, until garlic is golden, 35 to 40 seconds.

Remove from heat, then transfer garlic, bay leaves, and cloves with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.

Reserve all but 2 tablespoons oil in a heatproof bowl, then add celery, onion, frying pepper, curry powder, salt, pepper, and reserved bay leaves and cloves to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and 1 teaspoon brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are just beginning to break down, about 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and stir in half of reserved garlic slices.

 

Cherry tomatoes

Ingredient

2 #cherry tomatoes
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the tomatoes on a sheet pan, drizzle over the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes collapse, about 10 minutes

Chill before serving
Pickled Radish

INGREDIENTS

½ c red wine vinegar

¼ c granulated sugar

¼ c water

2 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp yellow or brown mustard seeds

¼ tsp coriander seeds

¼ tsp whole black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

1 bunch red radishes (about 10 to 13 radishes)

 

Method

Combine all of the ingredients except the radishes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the brine from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the radishes.

Trim the leafy tops off (discard or save for another use) and wash the radishes. Thinly slice and place in a pint jar.

When the brine is ready, pour it into the jar, making sure to cover the radishes completely. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Seal the jar with a tightfitting lid and shake or rotate it to evenly distribute the brine and spices. Refrigerate and let pickle at least 1 day before using. The pickles can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 

Savory Roasted Red Pepper

 

ingredients

6 roasted red peppers

3 tsp honey

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp Olive oil

¼ tsp dried chili flakes

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

1 T grated ginger

 

Method

Put everything, all except 2 peppers, in a blender. Blend until well incorporated but not completely smooth. Meanwhile finely chop the remaining 2 peppers and set aside. This will give the jam texture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce

 

Ingredients

¼ c butter

1½ c carrot, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

28 oz. can diced tomatoes

15 oz. can tomato sauce

6 oz. can tomato paste

14ea fresh basil leaves

salt & pepper to taste

 

Method

In a stock pot, melt butter on low and then add diced carrots and chopped onions. Let simmer until tender and until the onions are translucent

Add all four cans of tomato products and mix well; add salt and pepper to taste.

Let mixture simmer for at least 10 minute.

About 5-10 minutes prior to serving, add fresh basil leaves.

Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce into a nice smooth consistency, Chili and serve

 

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Seafood Paella ……Easy. Simple. Done.

Seafood-Paella-848x478

Seafood Paella ……Easy. Simple. Done.

Enjoy this classic Spanish dish on a cool fall day. All  the flavors pull together to make this hart warming one pot dish an instant flamily favorite.

Seafood-Paella-848x478

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pimentón dulce (or sweet paprika)
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 cleaned small squid, bodies sliced into 1/4-inch-wide rings, tentacles left whole
  • 2 c medium-grain Spanish paella rice or risotto rice, such as Arborio or Carnaroli
  • 3 c fish or chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 1 c dry white wine
  • 12 ea jumbo shrimp in their shells
  • 16 ea mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 16 small manila clams, scrubbed

Method

  1. Saute the onion in the olive oil in a 16-inch paella pan on medium heat until soft, stirring often.
  2. Stir in the garlic, and before it begins to color, add the tomatoes.
  3. Add the sugar, salt to taste, pimentón (or paprika), and saffron, stir well, and cook until the tomatoes are reduced to a jammy sauce.
  4. Bring to a very slow boil and add the squid and cook, stirring, for a minute or so.
  5. Add the rice and stir well until all the grains are coated. (You can prepare the dish to this point up to an hour in advance.)
  6. Bring the stock and wine to a boil in a saucepan.
  7. Pour over the rice, bring to a boil, and add salt to taste (even if the broth tastes a bit salty, it will not be salty when it is absorbed by the rice).
  8. Stir well and spread the rice out evenly in the pan (do not stir again).
  9. Cook the rice over low heat for 18 to 20 minutes, moving the pan around and rotating it so that the rice cooks evenly.
  10. Lay the shrimp on top after 10 minutes and turn them when they have become pink on the first side.
  11. Add a little more hot stock toward the end if the rice seems too dry and you hear crackly frying noises before it is done.
  12. When the rice is done, turn off the heat and cover the pan with a large piece of foil.
  13. Steam the mussels in ¼ cup of water in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. As soon as they open, they are cooked. Steam clams the same way.

When ready to plate, spoon some rice into the center of each plate or bowl. Evenly divide the mussels, clams, shrimp and squid into each vessel along with any juice.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Stuffed Acron Squash ..As seen on ABC New York

064elevinecookbook-copy

Stuffed Acron Squash ..As seen on ABC New York

064elevinecookbook-copy

 

Just because this vegetarian dish is healthy, don’t make the mistake of thinking that it lacks a punch of flavor. It’s an impressive presentation and the fact that the acorn squash forms its own bowl is only part of the fun!

 

Ingredients

1ea Acron Squash

½ c Brown sugar

2 tsp Olive oil

Kosher Sal and White Pepper

 

½ c Brussels Sprouts, cut into quarter pieces

½ c Oyster Mushrooms, slice thin

½ c Cranberries, Dried

½ c Garlic Bulbs

½ c Chestnuts, cooked, peeled and lightly chopped

½ c Olive Oil

1c Vegetable stock

Salt and Pepper

 

Method

Cut top of acorn squash, and slice bottom of squash so it is balanced and will not tip over. scoop out seeds.

Combine brown sugar, oil, salt and pepper.

Rub inside and outside of squash with oil mixture

Het oven to 350f and cook squash on sheet pan for 20-30 minutes or until acorn squash is tender

In the mean time prepare all of the other vegetables.

 

Once squash is ready, heat sauté pan with olive oil.

Add Brussels sprouts, garlic and mushrooms and sauté until golden brown and tender. Add Dried cranberries and chestnuts and sauté until cranberries and chestnuts are warm. Finish with vegetable stock.

 

Place acorn squash in the center of the plate. Fill with vegetable mix and sprinkle the remaining mx around

Experience Level:

 

Chefs Notes:

All prep can be done up to two days before serving however same day is always the most preferable. This dish can act as a side to accompany a meal or a buffet.

 

Variations:

Use different types of squash such as butternut squash

 

Season best use for dish

This a great fall and winter dish

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Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts

Peanut Butter and Chocolate? Oh yeah!  This bite is going to make you smile and your guests heads explode from all this flavor!

Enjoy!

Fire it up!!!!

peanutbutter-and-chocolat2e

 

Ingredients/Chocolate Cheesecake

3 lbs cream cheese

12 oz dark chocolate

24 oz sugar
2 oz cornstarch
12 oz sour cream
6 eggs

Method/Chocolate Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 275o.

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low until creamy. Add remaining items one at a time in the order listed, making sure to mix well and scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Melt chocolate in a bowl over hot water bath until smooth. Once chocolate is melted, slowly add to cream cheese mix.

After all items are well mixed, a flavor element can be added to the cheesecake (for example, 500 g of mango puree, or any other type of puree, or pieces of items such as coconut).

Line a half-sheet pan with waxed paper and pour the mixture into the pan. Bake in a 275o oven until the mixture is set, about 30 minutes (it shouldn’t be browned). Cool, then put the pan into the freezer. Once it is frozen hard, after about 3 hours, remove from the freezer and cut into 1-inch squares (or any other shape).

Ingredients/Peanut Butter Cheesecake

2 lbs cream cheese 1 lb peanut butter 24 oz sugar
2 oz cornstarch

12 oz sour cream 6 eggs

Method/Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low until creamy. Add remaining items one at a time in the order listed, making sure to mix well and scrape the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Line a half-sheet pan with waxed paper and pour the mixture into the pan. Bake in a 275o oven until the mixture is set, about 45 minutes (it shouldn’t be browned). Cool, then put the pan into the freezer. Once it is frozen hard, after about 3 hours, remove from the freezer and scoop into 1oz balls (or any other shape).

Ingredients/Toasted Hazelnuts

1 cup hazelnuts

Method/Toasted Hazelnuts

Toast nuts on a sheet pan in a 325o oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool, then finely chop nuts and reserve.

Assembly

Alternate two squares of each cheesecake on a skewer (a total of four pieces). Roll the skewered cheesecake in chopped hazelnuts.

Chef Notes

You can make the cheesecake squares up to two weeks in advance and freeze. When ready to use, thaw for about 20 minutes.

Variations

It’s easy to change the cheesecake flavors and give this dish a completely new personality. For example: Lemon Mint Cheesecake and Raspberry Cheesecake squares can be dipped in egg white, then sprinkled with lemon zest and chopped mint.

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Broccolini Garlic Soup….vegan and soooooo good

broccoli-garlic

Broccolini Garlic Soup….vegan and soooooo good

Its that time of year for soup, delicious soup that fills the belly and warms the heart. Serve this on its own or as a side with a nice grilled cheese sandwich.

broccoli-garlic

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

4 green onions, coarsely chopped

1 ½ lb Broccolini, trimmed and coarsely chopped

14oz vegetable broth

salt and white pepper to taste
Method

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Cook and stir garlic and green onions in saucepan until garlic is just golden, about 3 minutes.

Cook and stir broccolini with garlic and green onions until slightly softened, about 2 more minutes.

Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer until asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes.

Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly.

Pour soup into blender, filling no more than halfway full. Cover with a lid.

Carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree in batches until smooth.

Transfer soup back to saucepan and reheat.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Apple Streusel Cup Cake….yes please

3apple-cup-cake

Apple Streusel Cup Cake….yes please

This delicious cup cake can be served warm as a breakfast bite with coffee or maybe even a brandy at the end of the night. Either way it’s going to be amazing.

3apple-cup-cake

Ingredients

Cooking spray

6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

¾ c granulated sugar

¼ c cream cheese, softened

¼ c butter, softened

2 tsp amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

½ c reduced-fat sour cream

¼ c 2% reduced-fat milk

¾ c finely chopped Gala apple

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

 

Streusel:

2 tBSP all-purpose flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

¼ Tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp butter, chilled

2 tbsp sliced almonds

 

Glaze:

1 c powdered sugar

4 tsp 2% reduced-fat milk

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place muffin cup liners in 12 muffin cups; coat with cooking spray.

Weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine granulated sugar, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended. Add amaretto, vanilla, and egg to sugar mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Combine sour cream and ¼ cup milk in a small bowl; stir with a whisk until well blended. Combine apple and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl; toss well.

Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Fold in apple mixture. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

 

To prepare the streusel, combine 2 tablespoons flour, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal; stir in almonds. Sprinkle streusel evenly over cupcakes. Bake at 350° for 27 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack, and remove the cupcakes from pan.

 

To prepare glaze

combine powdered sugar and 4 teaspoons milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over cupcakes.

 

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Salad Ideas

Salad Ideas

Salad-Trio

Salad 1: Apples & Frisee – Vegan & Gluten Free

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2ea Granny Smith apples cut in half, cored, and then slice each half into 4 slices
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ c Sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1hd Frisee greens, lightly torn

Method

1. Set grill on medium heat

2. Toss apple slices in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

3. Lightly grill both sides of apples and cool

4. Once cool toss in Frisee and drizzle with any remaining olive oil

 

Salad 2: White Beans & Olives – Vegan & Gluten Free

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1c white beans, cooked (can use canned, rinse & drain)
  • 1c kalamata olives, pitted
  • ½ c tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine all ingredients and mix well to incorporate

 

Salad 3: Asparagus & Sun Dried Tomatoes – Vegan & Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 1bn asparagus, pencil thin, ends trimmed
  • 1c sundried tomato packed in oil, drained & julienned
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 3 TBSP olive oil*
  • salt and pepper

Method

1. Shave asparagus on a bias

2. Combine remaining ingredients and toss to mix

*You may want to sub in 1 tbsp. of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes to add more flavor.

3apple-cup-cake Salad-Trio

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Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant)

Beigna

Baingan ka Bharta (Indian Eggplant)

This dish is a classical Indian dish that we have shared at both of my restaurants over the years with a little twist.
It’s a perfect dish on a fall/winter day the warms thea heart and soul.
Enjoy!  Fire it up!!!
Beigna
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch knob ginger, minced
  • 1ea Serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • Cilantro, chopped
Method
Prepare Eggplant
  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Make four slits in each eggplant and then apply 1 tablespoon of oil over each eggplant. Place them on baking sheet and then roast in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping halfway.
  3. Turn the heat up to a broil for 5 minutes, then remove the eggplants from the oven.
  4. Allow the eggplant to cool, then remove the skin and chop the flesh. Set aside for now.
Prepare Sauce
  1. While the eggplant is baking, add 2 tablespoons of oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Then add cumin seeds.
  2. Once the cumin seeds begin to splutter, add onions and saute for 10 minutes or until the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, Serrano pepper and spices. Stir-fry for a minute, add tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir-fry for another 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the cooked eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
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CARAMELIZED APPLE, BRANDY CUSTARD, AND CRANBERRY MOUSSE

CARAMELIZED APPLE, BRANDY CUSTARD, AND CRANBERRY MOUSSE

appl

This would make an elegant dessert for Thanksgiving dinner, either on its own or to accompany your pumpkin pie. The tart cranberries help cut the sweetness of the caramelized apple.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL: YIELD: 6 SERVINGS

CARAMELIZED APPLES

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 spicy-sweet, crisp Macintosh apples, peeled and cored and cut into 1⁄2 -inch cubes

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon lemon zest

1⁄3 cup apple cider

1⁄2 teaspoon cornstarch, as needed

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium
heat. Add the apples to the pan and sprinkle with
1 tablespoon sugar. Sauté the apples, stirring frequently, for 6–8 minutes, just until they start
to soften. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Toss the mixture gently and cook over medium heat for an additional 2 minutes, until the sugar begins to caramelize and the apples are crisp-tender. Transfer the apples from the skillet to a serving bowl with a slotted spoon.

Turn the heat to high and add the apple cider to
the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer the cider and pan juices 1–3 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. If you desire a thicker sauce, dissolve the cornstarch in 1 teaspoon water, stir it into the sauce, and allow it to thicken for a moment.

CHEF’S NOTES:

You can mix the apples with cranberries to create a more intense cranberry flavor. Take it a step further and use dried cranberries as opposed to fresh.

BRANDY CUSTARD

1 1⁄4 cups sugar, divided

2 tablespoons water

2 eggs
2 tablespoons brandy 1

⁄2 teaspoon vanilla

1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice Dash of salt

2 cups lukewarm milk

Heat 3⁄4 cup sugar in a heavy 1-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and golden brown. Gradually stir in the water. Divide syrup evenly among six 6-ounce custard cups. Let stand until hard, about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Thoroughly mix in remaining ingredients except milk, then gradually stir in milk and mix well. Pour the mixture over the syrup in each custard cup. Place cups in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan on the middle oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan, around the custard cups, to within 1⁄2 inch of cup tops. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Remove cups from water. Refrigerate until chilled.

CRANBERRY–WHITE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

1 1⁄2 cups fresh cranberries
6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1⁄4 cup water
Zest of 1 medium orange

1 tablespoon orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or triple sec

1⁄2 cup finely chopped white chocolate 1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and becomes jamlike, about 8–10 minutes total. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer into a medium bowl, pressing hard on the solids. Add the orange zest and liqueur, and stir. Cool to room temperature.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped white chocolate by heating it in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Stir well with a fork between each interval and cook only until the chocolate is smooth when stirred.

Whip the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold about a third of the whipped cream into the cranberry mixture, then fold in the melted chocolate. Fold in the rest of the whipped cream. Spoon or pipe into six serving glasses or bowls. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. If you need to refrigerate longer than 2 hours, cover with plastic wrap without touching the surface.

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Shake and Bake! Something twisted for dessert

Shake and Bake! Something twisted for dessert

shake and bake copy

SHAKE AND BAKE

Kids of all ages love milk shakes! Kahlúa and vanilla seem to have been made to complement one another. And of course you need a chocolate-chip brownie to complete the experience.

YIELD: APPROXIMATELY 2 DRINKS

8 ounces whole milk
2 ounces Kahlúa, or other coffee liqueur 3 ounces vanilla ice cream

Place all ingredients in a blender and turn on high until smooth and creamy. Terrific with chocolate- chip brownies.

BAILEYS SHAKE

Baileys in a milk shake? Why not? I think if you can put it in your coffee, you can put it in a milk shake. Serve these at your next St. Patrick’s Day party.

YIELD: 2 DRINKS

8 ounces milk
2 ounces Baileys Irish Cream 3 ounces vanilla ice cream

Place all ingredients in a blender and turn on high until smooth and creamy. Wonderful with white- chocolate brownie

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Dark Chocolate Bites

Dark Chocolate Bites

3dark-chocolate-bitesA simple and easy recipe to create a dark chocolate lover happy.

Dark Chocolate Bites

Ingredients

1 c all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2/3 c granulated sugar

¼ c butter, softened

½ c egg substitute

1 tsp vanilla

½ c low-fat buttermilk

1 ¼ oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

 

Method

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined.

Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate.

Spray a 9×9 Bake pan and pour mixture into pan. Be sure to tap pan o counter to get all air out and level batter for baking.

Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs

Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack.

Once bites are cooled you can dip in more melt dark chocolate and coat with sprinkles if you wish.

 

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Butternut Squash Risotto

butternut squash risotto pazo

Butternut Squash Risotto

This is the perfect time of year for this comfort food dish. The earth tones of this combined with the saltiness of the cheese gives this dish the perfect balance,

Butternut squash Risotto

½ c coarsely chopped pecans

1 t butter, melted

1 t brown sugar

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 c (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup water

1 ounce pancetta, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice

1/2 cup chardonnay

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon thyme or 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup (1 ounce) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

Method

Preheat oven to 400°.

Arrange nuts in a single layer on a sheet

pan. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring twice. Place nuts in a bowl. Drizzle butter over warm nuts; sprinkle with sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss well to coat.

Combine squash and 1 tablespoon oil, tossing to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until squash is just tender. Remove from pan; stir in garlic. Set aside.

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta to saucepan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Add onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in squash, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Top with cheese and nuts.

 

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Family Reach Cooking Live New York 2016

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Family Reach Cooking Live New York 2016

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I am very excited to once again be part of this amazing event with these amazing chefs.

JOIN US for this unique and interactive experience! You’ll have an up-close look at the world’s top culinary talent and indulge in this years best cuisine, wines and company.

Hosted by Family Reach National Advisory Board President, Chef Ming Tsai, Cooking Live! brings together the nation’s top celebrity chefs for an evening of wining and dining with New York’s finest. Guests watch up close as chefs give live! cooking demos before serving a five-course meal. Each dish is inspired by our special guests of the evening: The families battling cancer that Family Reach has supported.

This year we are excited to welcome Chefs Masaharu Morimoto, Todd English and Shawn Hergatt to cook alongside Ming!

Family Reach Cooking Live Event Series from Family Reach Foundation on Vimeo.

PRESENTING SPONSOR – $50,000 (1 Available)

  • Presenting Sponsor of nationally recognized culinary event, Cooking Live! New York presented by “Your Company”
  • One VIP front-row table at the event joined by a special guest (8 seats)
  • A once in a lifetime experience for one of your guests to join Chef Ming Tsai & other celebrity chefs in the round to plate a course
  • Featured recognition in all event promotion, signage, print material, digital presentation and media coverage
  • Framed & autographed Cooking Live! Chef Caricature
  • Celebrity chef autographed gift items for all of your guests
  • VIP access to the Ritz-Carlton After Party
  • A special tour of a Family Reach Partner Hospital

COCKTAIL RECEPTION SPONSOR – $40,000 (1 Available)

  • Cocktail Reception Sponsor of nationally recognized culinary event, Cooking Live! New York – VIP COCKTAIL RECEPTION presented by “Your Company”
  • One table at the event joined by a special guest (8 seats)
  • Create a delectable Specialty Cocktail co-designed with Chef Ming Tsai
  • A unique experience for one of your guests to Celebrity Bartend with Chef Ming Tsai
  • Featured recognition in all event promotion, signage, print material, digital presentation and media coverage
  • Celebrity chef autographed gift items for all of your guests
  • VIP access to the Ritz-Carlton After Party

VIP TABLE SPONSOR – $35,000 (8 Available)

  • One VIP front-row table at the event joined by a special guest (8 seats)
  • A once in a lifetime experience for one of your guests to join Chef Ming Tsai & other celebrity chefs in the round to plate a course
  • Special gift provided at each place setting for each of your guests
  • Featured recognition in all event print material, signage and digital presentation
  • A special tour of a Family Reach Partner Hospital

TABLE SPONSOR – $25,000 (12 Available)

  • One table at the event (8 seats)
  • Recognition in all event print material, signage and digital presentation

FAMILY SPONSOR – $10,000 (5 Available)

  • Underwrite a family to attend Cooking Live! New York to share their inspiring story
  • Recognition in all event print material, signage and digital presentation

 

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Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

This little dish can be made ahead of time, 4-6 hours before sharing. the flavors will develop and be come more intense.

Ingredients/Mozzarella Perlini

6 oz mozzarella perlini (small balls of mozzarella)

1 cup sundried tomatoes
2 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 cup olive oil kosher salt white pepper

Method/Mozzarella Perlini

Sauté garlic and rosemary in 1/4 cup olive oil for about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper

Julienne the sundried tomatoes and place them in a blender. Add 3/4 cup olive oil and puree until the sundried tomatoes are fully broken down and a tomato oil forms.

Drain the perlini and toss with the sundried tomato oil and garlic mixture combined; refrigerate overnight.

Ingredients/Red Onion Salad

1 red onion
2 tsp red wine vinegar 1/2 cup celery leaves
1 cup snow pea shoots 4 tsp walnut oil

Method/Red Onion Salad

Shave the red onion paper thin and combine with the celery leaves and pea shoots. Just before service, toss with the red wine vinegar and walnut oil.

Ingredients/Olive Vinaigrette

1 cup kalamata olives, pitted 1 cup walnut oil
1 sprig fresh thyme

Method/Olive Vinaigrette

Remove the thyme leaves from the stem and put into a blender. Add the olives and oil and puree.

Let flavors blend overnight in refrigerator. Just before service, strain into a squeeze bottle.

Ingredients/Basil Crumb

1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves 1/4 cup olive oil
kosher salt

white pepper

Method/Basil Crumb

Process the basil and breadcrumbs in a food processor until blended. Slowly add the oil while processing. Season with salt and pepper.

Reserve for service in an airtight container

Assembly

Place a Tbsp of mozzarella into each service cup or glass. Spoon some onion salad on top of the mozzarella and drizzle Olive Vinaigrette on the salad. Finish with a sprinkling of basil crumbs.

Chef Notes

Be sparing with the olive vinaigrette; it has a very strong flavor.

Variations

You can use marinated artichokes or tomatoes in the salad, instead of the marinated onions, with a sundried tomato vinaigrette instead of the olive vinaigrette.

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Basil Panna Cotta with Parmesan Mousse and Marinated Tomatoes

Basil Panna Cotta Parmesan Mousse Marinated Tomatoes

Basil Panna Cotta with Parmesan Mousse and Marinated Tomatoes

Happy (almost) Spring! It’s so close you can smell it in the air. Let’s get ready, shall we? This week’s recipe is rich, nutty, cheesy, tart and fresh all at once. Cherry tomatoes are available and tasty all year long and the marinade helps to bring out their summery sweetness. I love to serve this bite as a starter before grilled meats and pasta dishes. I hope you make it and I hope you enjoy! Fire It Up!

Basil Panna Cotta with Parmesan Mousse and Marinated Tomatoes(Makes about 10 servings)

Ingredients/Basil Panna Cotta

2 oz basil leaves, chopped
2 packets unflavored gelatin
1 qt heavy cream
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Basil Panna Cotta
Dissolve the unflavored gelatin in the cold cream. Putthe cream in a heavy stainless steel saucepan and addthe basil. Bring to a slow simmer, stirring frequentlyfor 20 minutes.Pour into a silicone mold with 1-oz round cups.Refrigerate for about 3 hours.

Ingredients/Parmesan Mousse
2 cups heavy cream
4 cloves garlic, crushed with the back of a flat knife
3 egg yolks
1 packet of gelatin, dissolved in 2 Tbsp cold water
1 cup Parmesan, grated
kosher salt
white pepper
Kosher salt and white ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped basil
Method/Parmesan Mousse
Put the garlic cloves in 1 cup cream and simmer overmedium-low heat in a small saucepan for 10 minutes. Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/3cup of the warm cream. Add the egg mixture to therest of the cream in the saucepan, whisking constantly.Continue to heat the cream over medium heat untilthickened, about 8-10 minutes.Stir the softened gelatin into the cream and eggmixture and continue stirring until the gelatin isdissolved. Add the Parmesan, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese is fully incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and set in a cool, not cold, water bath. Whip the remaining cup of cream to stiff peaks. When the custard is cool, but before it has started to set up, fold in the whipped cream and add the chopped basil. Season to taste and pour into a hotel pan. Chill the custard for at least 3 hours; overnight is best.

Ingredients/Marinated Tomatoes
3 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp garlic salt
1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
3/4 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 scallions, chopped
20 cherry tomatoes

Method/Marinated Tomatoes
Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a mixingbowl and whisk well.Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and put in a resealableplastic bag. Pour the marinade over the tomatoes andseal the bag. Marinate at room temperature for up to2 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

Assembly
Remove panna cotta from the mold and place intospoons. Spoon mousse onto the panna cotta and thenput 2 tomato halves onto the mousse. Garnish withbasil microgreens.

Chef Notes
All ingredients can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.Be careful to properly measure the quantity of gelatin.If you use too much, the panna cotta
can be too firm and almost rubber-like.

Variations:
You can create a very different combination ofvegetables by making a rosemary panna cotta anda roasted garlic panna cotta and then topping withroasted eggplant and a balsamic mousse.

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Veal Shepherds Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce

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Veal Shepherds Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce

Sometimes you just crave comfort food! This week’s recipe is perfect when you are feeling this way. Spring is just around the corner so let’s enjoy a Veal Shepherd’s Pie with Cremini Mushroom Mashed and Caramelized Onion Sauce before it gets here. Fire it up!

(Makes about 20 servings)

Ingredients/Veal Shepherds Pie
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups diced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 lbs ground veal
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley leaves
3/4 lb turnips, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 lb carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sugar
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated farmhouse cheddar (optional)

Method/Veal Shepherds Pie
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add theonion and saut, stirring frequently, until onion is golden, 10
12 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1 minutemore. Add the meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and
cook until it loses its red color, about 5 minutes.Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and the tomato paste and cookfor 1 minute more.Add the crushed tomatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and spoonoff any excess fat. Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper totaste. Set aside.Put the turnips and carrots in a single layer in a skillet just largeenough to hold them.Add enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides of thevegetables; add 2 tsp unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp sugar. Bring toa boil over high heat, then adjust the heat to maintain a simmer.Cover the vegetables with a round of parchment paper just largeenough to fit the inside of the pan, or with a lid slightly ajar.Simmer the vegetables until tender, 810 minutes.Remove the cover and raise the heat to high. Toss the vegetablesfrequently in the pan, as the liquid evaporates to a shiny smoothglaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add to meatmixture. Set aside.

Ingredients/Cremini Mushroom Mashed
1/2 lb button or cremini mushrooms,trimmed and quartered
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled andcut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

Method/Cremini Mushroom Mashed
Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium-high heat andsaut the mushrooms until golden, about 5 minutes. Season
with salt and pepper, then set aside.In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes, 1 tsp salt and coldwater to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until fork tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan. Shake the pan over medium heat for about a minute to dry the potatoes, then transfer the potatoes to a food mill, ricer or bowl. Put the milk and butter in the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until the milk is hot and the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat. Mash the potatoes through the food mill or ricer, or by hand, into the pan. Stir to combine with the milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg, if desired. Add in sauted mushrooms. Set aside.

Ingredients/Caramelized Onion Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock

Method/Caramelized Onion Sauce
Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the oil ishot, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Saut
for 1012 minutes, or until caramelized.Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat tomedium-low and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes. Removefrom the heat and, using a hand-held blender, puree untilsmooth. Strain through a sieve and cool completely. Taste;season if necessary.

Assembly
Scoop the meat and vegetable mixture into service cups orglasses. Add onion sauce, and then pipe the mashedpotatoes on top.

Chef Notes
Keep the piping bag filled with hot mashed potatoes wrappedin a towel, to keep from burning your hands.

Variations
Upscale the hors doeuvre by using ground seafoodshrimp,scallops or lobsterand then topping with wasabi mashed potatoes.

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Sevendust Wings!

Sevendustwings

Sevendust Wings!

I’m so excited for my brothers from Sevendust! In honor of their first Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance for their single “Thank You” from the Kill the Flawalbum,I am sharing my recipe for the spice mix that I named for them. We use this combination of seven spices to toss our wings, fresh from the fryer and they are our top selling-selling wings at both of my restaurants Morris Tap & Grill and Paragon Tap & Table. You could certainly coat your wings with the “Sevendust” and bake them if you would rather not fry them, and just think of all of the other ways you can use this rub! On fries, chips, popcorn, on ribs, steaks or vegetables, in dips, sauces or spreads… you name it! Congratulations and good luck to Sevendust tonight! We’ll be watching! Fire It Up!

Sevendust Rub

(Makes cup)

1 T Kosher Salt

1 T Granulated Sugar

1 T Brown Sugar

1 T Chile Powder (Preferably New Mexican)

1T Ground Cumin

1 T Ground Black Pepper

2 T + 1 tsp Hungarian Paprika

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Basil Crusted Scallops with Citrus Aioli and Citrus Dust

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Basil Crusted Scallops with Citrus Aioli and Citrus Dust

I always think of scallops when I am planning a special meal for the one that I love. There is something about the sweet and tender bite of a scallop that I find, well, really romantic. So this week I am sharing my recipe for Basil Crusted Scallops with Citrus Aioli and Citrus Dust. If you are not planning to go out for dinner this year, make these for the love of your life on Valentine’s Day.

Basil Crusted Scallops withCitrus Aioli and Citrus Dust (Makes 10 Scallops)

Ingredients/Basil Crusted Scallops
10 10/20 scallops in dry pack
1 bunch fresh basil
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 garlic cloves
kosher salt
white pepper
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp amaranth leaf pieces

Method/Basil Crusted Scallops
Remove the connecting muscle from the side of eachscallop.Lightly chop the basil in a food processor. Add thegarlic, then slowly add panko bread crumbs to createbasil crumbs. Salt and pepper to taste.Toss the scallops in the crumb mixture and lightlypress crumbs onto each scallop so its well coated.Place the scallops on a sheet pan lined with parchmentpaper and bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until scallopsare cooked through and tender. Hold no longer than5 minutes before service.

Ingredients/Citrus Aioli
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1/4 cup hot water
2 garlic cloves
2 egg yolks
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
kosher salt
1/2 orange, juiced
3 cups extra-virgin olive oil
water as needed to thin

Method/Citrus Aioli
Steep the saffron in hot water for 3 minutes; removeusing a small strainer.Put saffron, garlic, egg yolks, almonds, salt and orange juice into a blender and blend. Drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Set aside.

Ingredients/Citrus Dust
1 lemon
1 lime
1 orange
kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Method/Citrus Dust
Remove the rinds from the citrus and dry them in adehydrator. If you dont have a dehydrator, put therinds on a sheet pan and keep in a 125 oven for 20minutes, then turn the oven off and allow the rinds todry in the closed oven for 8 hours, until they are dryand brittle.Put the dried citrus rinds, salt and pepper in a foodprocessor and pulse until it turns to powder. Pass thepowder through a fine China cap or sieve to get a finetexture. Set aside.

Assembly
Put a scallop in the bottom of each cup. Pipe a smalldollop of Citrus Aioli on top, dust with Citrus Dust,then top with an amaranth leaf.

Chef Notes
You can use mayonnaise as the base for the aioli to save time. Use acup of mayonnaise, add saffron prepared the way the recipe showsand finish with a touch of citrus such as orange, lemon and lime.Instead of making the Citrus Dust from scratch, you can purchasea flavored dust from a number of online companies.
Instead of amaranth leaves,you can use beet micro greens for their red color.

Variations
The crust on this works well with many kinds of fish.Try orange roughy or halibut.

Happy Valentine’s Day and Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Gorgonzola, Bacon and Chive Lollipops

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Gorgonzola, Bacon and Chive Lollipops

Need a great cheesy bacony bite for your Superbowl buffet? This is something you can make ahead of time and will be a great starter before your chili, sliders, wings or pulled pork sandwiches! I hope you enjoy my Gorgonzola, Bacon and Chive Lollipops and be sure to snap some pics of your Superbowl Buffets and then post them on Instagram with the hashtag #chefericsphotocontest and I’ll repost my favorites. Fire It Up!

Ingredients/Lollipops

1 lb gorgonzola, crumbled
6 strips smoked bacon
1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
20 lollipop sticks

Method/Lollipops
Cook bacon until golden brown, finely chop and setaside. Pour grease into a cup and reserve for BaconDust.
In a medium bowl, mix the gorgonzola and baconpieces and mix thoroughly.Add half the chopped chives to the bleu cheese
mixture and mix thoroughly, reserve the other half ofthe chive for garnish.Refrigerate the mixture, covered for at least 2 hours,then roll into 20 balls. Refrigerate the cheese balls sothey will be firm.

Ingredients/Bacon Dust
4 oz bacon drippings
1/2 cup maltodextrin
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Bacon Dust
Put the bacon drippings in a food processor and beginto process. Slowly add the maltodextrin to create dust.Pass the dust through a fine China cap or tamis toremove lumps. Set aside.

Ingredients/Chive Mist
1 bunch chives
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 misting bottles

Method/Chive Mist
Puree the chives and stock in a blender until smooth.Strain through a fine China cap to get out any lumps
that would clog a mister.

Assembly
Roll the gorgonzola balls in the remaining choppedchives. Put lollipop sticks into the cheese balls.Put the Bacon Dust in a shallow pan. Lightly tap eachcheese ball in the Bacon Dust until the bottom iscoated.Put more Bacon Dust on each service plate and placeeach lollipop on the dust.Place the mist bottle on the tray as the lollipops arepassed and have each guest mist a lollipop beforeeating it.

Chef Notes
Dont refrigerate the Bacon Dust;moisture will soften and liquefy it. You can order maltodextrin and misting bottles from Chef Rubber.

Variations
Other soft cheeses, like Port Salut or goat cheese,make a milder, subtly different hors doeuvre.

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Vanilla Bean Custard with Coffee Caramel, Banana Mousse and Banana Crisps

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Vanilla Bean Custard with Coffee Caramel, Banana Mousse and Banana Crisps

Happy Monday Kids! Here in the Mid-Atlantic States we are still busy digging out and getting our lives back to normal after the crazy amount snow that was dumped on us this weekend. And I’ve got a recipe for you this week to help you use up all of the eggs and milk you bought in preparation for the blizzard! For some reason, bananas were also a hot item that disappeared from the shelves almost as quickly as the usual staples. So here you go! I hope you make my Vanilla Bean Custard with Coffee Caramel, Banana Mousse and Banana Crisps and if you do, snap a photo and post it on instagram with the hashtag #chefericsphotocontest and I’ll repost my favorites. Fire It Up!

Vanilla Bean Custard with Coffee Caramel, Banana Mousse and Banana Crisps

Ingredients/Vanilla Bean Custard

2-1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla bean paste (2 tsp vanilla extract can be used instead)

Method/Vanilla Bean Custard

Whisk the milk, sugar, flour and egg yolks together in a heavy 3-qt saucepan.

Cook over medium-heat, whisking constantly, 1012 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla bean paste. Cover and chill 3 hours.

Ingredients/Coffee Caramel

2-1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

3 Tbsphot water

2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar

lb butter

Method/Coffee Caramel

Stir espresso powder and hot water together until powder is dissolved.

Cook 1/2 cup sugar with a pinch of salt in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until the sugar is melted into a deep golden caramel, about 15 minutes.

Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the espresso (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously). Slowly add pieces of butter and whisk together until caramel is room temperature.

Ingredients/Banana Mousse

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

3 egg whites, beaten stiff

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Method/Banana Mousse

Cook sugar and water together over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the bananas and cinnamon and cook 3 minutes over medium-high heat.

Transfer the banana mixture to a food processor and puree.

Chill for at least 45 minutes.

After the banana puree is chilled, put it in a mixing bowl and fold in the beaten egg whites until they are well incorporated.

Fold the banana-egg white mixture into the whipped cream in a large bowl until well incorporated.

Ingredients/Banana Crisps

1 banana, peeled

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

oil for deep frying

salt

Method/Banana Crisps

Put the banana in salted ice water (about 1 quart of water with 1/2 tsp salt). Remove from water to slice and put back into water [LP3] and add turmeric to the bowl. Keep the bananas in the water for 10 minutes, then drain completely and put on a kitchen cloth to remove the moisture.

Heat the oil until it starts fuming, Make a paste of 1/2 tsp water and 1/4 tsp salt and add it to the oil. This will make the slices fry crispier. Deep-fry the banana slices until theyre crisp, about 5 minutes. Fry only a few slices at a time; dont crowd the fryer.

Drain the chips on an absorbent paper.

Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Assembly

Spoon a little custard into each spoon. Pipe Banana Mousse on top, drizzle on a little caramel, then pipe on more mousse. Stick banana chips into the mousse.

Chef Notes

You can find high-quality banana chips at specialty food stores, if you want to save time making the recipe.

Variations

For a holiday winter feel change the custard flavor to eggnog, the mousse to cinnamon and the banana chips to an almond crisp.

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Two Chefs, Two Nights, One Cause

Two Chefs, Two Nights, One Cause

Very excited to have made this even happen along with my friend Ariena Duarte.
Its going to be two epic nights!
Make your reservation asap. Limited seating for both.
Please note, this event is held at two separate locations, Morris Tap & Grill in Randolph and Ariane Kitchen and Bar in Verona.JoinChef Eric B LeVineand ChefAriane Duarteon one or two nights as they pair up together to make a delectable five course menu to benefit theFamily Reach Foundation.

Special Celebrity Guests:Chef Amanda Freitag, Night One, atAriane Kitchen & Bar, andChef David Burke, Night Two, atMorris Tap and Grill

$125 includes, five courses, accompanied by a first course cocktail and select wines with remaining courses.
(see menus below) Tax and Tip included.
($125 each location)

Make your reservation by calling establishment of your choice.
Morris Tap & Grill – 973-891-1776
Ariane Kitchen and Bar – 973-744-0533

“Since 1996, Family Reach has been helping families with a child or parent afflicted with cancer deal with the overwhelming financial and emotional burdens of the disease. As families try to cope with years of cancer treatment, out-of-pocket medical expenses and everyday living costs, they often reach critical breaking points. Not only do they risk losing their homes, stability, and hope, but also their ability to ensure their loved ones receive the vital care they need to survive. Through an effective process developed through years of close collaboration with hospital social workers, Family Reach provides urgent assistance to families in a timely, compassionate fashion. Family Reach is a lifeline for families fighting cancer nationwide”

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Coconut Milk Curry Mussels

Coconut Milk Curry Mussels

Serves 4 as a first course or 2 for dinner Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 8 sprigs cilantro, separate leaves and stems and roughly chop both
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 small shallots, sliced thin
  • tsp whole coriander seeds
  • tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tsp zest plus 1 tbsp. juice from 1 lime
  • Kosher salt
  • 15oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Thai green curry paste
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2lbs fresh PEI mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1 small Thai or Serrano chili, thinly sliced

 

Method

  1. Combine cilantro stems, half of garlic, half of shallot, coriander seed, chili flakes, lime zest and a small pinch of kosher salt in a mortar and pestle. Grind into a smooth paste
  2. Scoop 2 tablespoons of thick cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and add to a large saucepan.
  3. Add oil and heat over medium heat
  4. Add remaining garlic and shallots, pounded paste, curry paste.
  5. Cook for 4 minutes.
  6. Add remaining contents of coconut milk can, sugar, and fish sauce.
  7. Bring to a simmer and cook about 3 minutes.
  8. Season to taste
  9. Add mussels, stir, cover, and cook, shaking pan constantly until mussels are open. Stir in chopped cilantro leaves, fresh chili, and lime juice.
  10. Discard any mussels that dont open.
  11. Divide mixture between four bowls including the broth.

 

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric LeVine

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Parmesan and Basil Marshmallows with Marinated Sundried Tomatoes and Basil Dust

Parmesan and Basil Marshmallows Sundried Tomatoes and Basil Dust

Parmesan and Basil Marshmallows with Marinated Sundried Tomatoes and Basil Dust

Happy New Year! This weeks recipe is a nice break from the rich, heavy holiday dishes we’ve all been indulging in for the past two months. I think we can all use it! Although this bite is light, it is not lacking in flavor. It’s savory and reminiscent of a summer day. It’s also a lot of fun to make your own marshmallows and to turn basil into dust. The magic happens with Agar Agar and Maltodextrin and you can get both of these ingredients from Chef Rubber. Here’s to an epic 2016! Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

Ingredients/Parmesan and BasilMarshmallows
1-2/3 cups milk
5 gm agar-agar
5 1/2 oz Parmesan
3 1/2 oz fresh basil, chopped
2 egg whites
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Parmesan and Basil Marshmallows
Combine milk and agar-agar in a saucepan and stir tocombine.Add 3.5 oz Parmesan and turn on low heat undersaucepan; bring liquid to a simmer, whiskingcontinuously. Simmer for 5 minutes, then strainthrough a fine sieve into a cold bowl; cool until theliquid starts to thicken (57 minutes).Whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt in an electricmixer until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white mixtureinto the milk mixture. Season to taste.Pour the mixture into a 4×8 tray lined with plasticwrap; refrigerate until set (23 hours).Using a hot knife, cut the mixture into 1 inchsquares. Roll the squares in the remaining Parmesanand store in refrigerator until needed.

Ingredients/Marinated Sundried Tomatoes
20 sundried tomatoes, quartered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Marinated Sundried Tomatoes
Combine all ingredients and marinate for 24 hours inrefrigerator, then drain and set aside.

Ingredients/Basil Dust
1/4 bunch fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup basil oil (1/2 bunch fresh basil pureed with1/2 cup oil, then strained)
1 cup maltodextrin
kosher salt
white pepper

Method/Basil Dust
Combine basil and oil and puree in blender. Let sitovernight.Strain oil and put in food processor. Add maltodextrinand pulse until a dust is formed.Pass the dust through a fine China cap to removelumps. Set aside.

Assembly
Alternate two marshmallows and two pieces ofsundried tomato on each skewer.Sprinkle Basil Dust on the serving tray and place theskewers on top of the dust.

Chef Notes
The marshmallows can be made up to 3 days before use,as long as they are kept in an airtight container.

Variations
Instead of basil marshmallows, make garlicrosemary marshmallows.

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Pepato Bread Pudding with Crispy Spinach and Butternut Squash

Pepato Bread Pudding Crispy Spinach Butternut Squash

Pepato Bread Pudding with Crispy Spinach and Butternut Squash

Happy Sunday! Here’s an amazing hearty and seasonal hors d’oeuvres for the vegetarians (and omnivores) in your life. I love this because the cheesy bread pudding has a peppery bite that is tamed by the creamy sweet butternut squash puree. The whole thing is brought together by the balsamic mousse which simultaneously adds acid and buttery cream. I hope you enjoy this comforting bread pudding bite as much as I do!

Ingredients/Pepato Bread Pudding
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 slices good quality white sandwich bread,crusts trimmed off (about 8 oz total)
5 oz crumbled goat cheese or 6 oz crumbled fetacheese
1/2 lb sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
6 eggs
2 cups milk
3 Tbsp prepared pesto
1/4 cup freshly grated pepato cheese

Method/Pepato Bread Pudding
Grease the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish or othershallow 3-quart baking pan.Butter each bread slice on one side. Stack the bread, 6at a time, and cut across the diagonal into triangles.Place half of the bread pieces, buttered sides down, inthe bottom of the prepared dish. Scatter the cheeseover the bread in one layer. Scatter the tomatoes overthe cheese. Top with the remaining buttered breadpieces, buttered sides up.Whisk the eggs, milk and pesto together in a bowluntil well-blended, then pour over the bread andcheese mixture in the dish. Push the top pieces ofbread down lightly with the back of a fork so they soakup some liquid. Sprinkle the grated pepato over thetop. Let the pan sit in the refrigerator for 3 hoursbefore baking.Bake the pudding at 350 for 35 minutes with foilcovering the pan, then remove the foil and continueto bake until pudding is puffed and golden brown ontop, 2530 more minutes. Cool the bread pudding and hold in the refrigeratoruntil the next day.Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut 2-inchcircles from the pudding. Set aside at roomtemperature for up to 30 minutes.

Ingredients/Crispy Spinach
10 baby spinach leaves
1 qt oil for frying
Method/Crispy Spinach
Heat the oil to 350. Drop the leaves into the fryer untilcrisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Set aside.

Ingredients/Roasted Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and dicedinto 1/4-inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method/Roasted Butternut Squash
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Toss the squash cubes with the oil, garlic, sage and saltand pepper. Spread in a single layer on the bakingsheet.Roast the squash in a 375 oven until the squash istender in the center and the outside is brown andcrisp, 2530 minutes. Take out of the oven when done,put in a serving bowl and set aside.

Ingredients/Balsamic Mousse
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup honey
3 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
1 cup heavy cream

Method/Balsamic Mousse
Combine the honey and vinegar in a pot. Cook untilreduced by half.Add the cornstarch to the water and create a slurry.Add this slurry to the honey and vinegar a little at atime, until its the consistency of honey.Whip the cream in a mixer on high until soft peaksform. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of the balsamic reductioninto the whipped cream and whip until the mixtureforms stiff peaks.Place the mousse in a piping bag.

Assembly
Warm the bread pudding rounds in a 350 oven for 3minutes.Pipe butternut squash into the bottom of each servicecup or glass. Put a round of bread pudding on top ofthe squash, then pipe balsamic mousse on top of thebread pudding. Top with Crispy Spinach pieces.

Chef Notes
Make the bread pudding a day ahead to allow flavors todevelop. This will also make it easier to cut.

Variations
For a lighter dish, add roasted chicken pieces to thebread pudding. With the chicken, use arugula insteadof spinach. Saut the arugula with shallots and thyme,then finish with a touch of red wine.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Where to Eat Now in NJ… Paragon Tap & Table is in the Top 10!

Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin Wild Mushroom Ravioli Founders Oatmeal Stout

Where to Eat Now in NJ… Paragon Tap & Table is in the Top 10!

Congratulations to our team at Paragon Tap & Table! We’ve made NJ.Com’s featured list of the 10 hottest restaurants to visit in NJ this month! I am so proud of everyone’s hard work and we are honored to be recognized. Read the article here and please come in and experience our craft beer selection and our unique pub fare for yourselves. We love our customers! Fire It Up!

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Veal Sweetbreads with Cremini Mushroom Custard and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Veal Sweetbreads with Cremini Mushroom Custard and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Veal Sweetbreads with Cremini Mushroom Custard and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

It’s that time of year again. Are you ready for your holiday party? Sure, you’re going to make your favorite hors d’oeuvres and your traditional favorites, but how about having one, out-of-the-ordinary, flavor bomb on the menu? Sweetbreads are amazing. They are not commonly used, but I believe that this recipe will change your guests’ impression of this tasty treat. Of course, if you just can’t go there, you can substitute veal loin, pork loin, or even chicken for the sweetbreads. Either way the rich mushroom custard, playing off the crispy onions and tangy sweet tomatoes, makes this bite the one your guests will remember. Keep in mind that the mushroom custard needs to be thick enough to stay on the skewers. I hope you try it and enjoy it. Fire it up!!

Chef Eric

Veal Sweetbreads with Cremini MushroomCustard and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (Makes about 20 servings)

Ingredients/Veal Sweetbreads

1 veal sweetbread
2 cups instant (Wondra) flour
2 cups milk
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp olive oil

Method/Veal Sweetbreads
Remove inner membrane and vein of sweetbread. Cutsweetbread into 20 even pieces and soak them in milkfor 1 hour.Remove sweetbreads from milk and let drain, then rollin flour seasoned with salt and pepper.Heat saut pan and add olive oil. Saut flouredsweetbread pieces until golden brown and still tenderinside, about 7-8 minutes, then season with salt andpepper. Reserve, keeping warm, until ready to skewer.

Ingredients/Cremini Mushroom Custard
1 cup heavy cream
5 egg yolks
kosher salt
ground white pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
6 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch fresh thyme, chopped

Method/Cremini Mushroom Custard
Saut shallots and thyme in olive oil; add slicedmushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Whenvegetables are sauted, put into a blender and pureeuntil smooth.Slowly add heavy cream to the mushroom mixture,then incorporate egg yolks, one at a time.Pour custard in 1 oz ramekins and put ramekins into a water bath, then bake in 325 oven for 20 minutes, until custard is firm. Cool and set aside.

Ingredients/Crispy Onions
1 ea Spanish onion
2 cups wondra flour
1 cup butter
2 qt fry oil

Method
Shave onions and place into milk for 30 minutes.Remove from milk and dredge in flour.Quickly fry and reserve on paper towel to drain oil
before use.

Ingredients/Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
10 cherry tomatoes, peeled
3 garlic cloves
3 tsp olive oil
kosher salt
ground white pepper

Method/Tomatoes
Saut tomatoes in olive oil until tender; season withsalt and pepper.Cool and set aside.

Assembly
Remove custards from ramekins.Place food on skewers in this order: onepiece of sweetbread, one cherry tomato, crispy onions, one piece of custard.Warm slightly before service; this dish should beserved at room temperature.

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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Corn Polenta and Cremini Mushroom Chips

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Corn Polenta and Cremini Mushroom Chips

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Corn Polenta and Cremini Mushroom Chips

Happy Friday! One of the most requested dishes at both my restaurants and at my off premise catering events is my beef short ribs. This is the perfect time of year for short ribs. As it starts to get cold and blustery, people crave rich, comforting slow-cooked meat that literally falls off the bone. It’s perfectly paired here with creamy polenta and an umami crunch made from Cremini mushrooms. I hope you enjoyed myRed Wine Braised Short Ribs with Corn Polenta and Cremini Mushroom Chips. Have a great weekend everybody! And fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Sweet and Sour Pork Dumplings with Ginger Apple Glaze and Sage Dust

Sweet and Sour Pork Dumplings with Finger Apple Glaze and Sage Dust

Sweet and Sour Pork Dumplings with Ginger Apple Glaze and Sage Dust

What can I say about this week’s recipe forSweet and Sour Pork Dumplings with Ginger Apple Glaze and Sage Dust? It combines two of my favorite things: making dumplings and playing with unique flavor combinations. The Asian flavors of sesame, ginger, scallion and pork marry perfectly with apples and cinnamon. And the combination of apple and sage lends a familiar essence of fall in America. Each bite lingers between East and West. I hope you try making your own dumplings! And have fun experimenting with your own twist on the flavors you choose. Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Idaho Potato Cannoli with Red Onion Marmalade and Porcini Dust

Idaho Potato Cannoli with Red Onion Marmalade and Porcini Dust

Idaho Potato Cannoli with Red Onion Marmalade and Porcini Dust

So, I think you all know, I have had pasta on the brain! I’m so fired up about the launch of my artisan ravioli, that it is all have thought about in the past few weeks. But I have to say that I equally love potatoes! And today ‘s recipe for Idaho Potato Cannoli with Red Onion Marmalade and Porcini Dust is such a cool way to present everyone’s favorite tuber and also a great way to serve a vegetarian and gluten free hors d’oeuvres. People love potatoes, right?! This is a fun bite which highlights the two best ways that people enjoy potatoes- crispy and mashed. Thinly sliced potatoes arefilled with creamy mashed potatoes and rolled into the cannoli shape. Porcini Mushroom Dust adds an earthy richness and compliments both the potato and the sweet-tartness of the red onion marmalade. I hope you enjoy making this as much as you are going to love eating it!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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The Countdown Continues…Three Days Til the Revolution!

pastatothepeople

The Countdown Continues…Three Days Til the Revolution!

Three Days! In three days you will be able to rise up and demand a better ravioli! My line of artisan ravioli is soon to be available for purchase online! I am thrilled to announce the launch of my Ravioli Revolution. The website is ready, the ravioli is in production and I am proud to be exhibiting samples at NYCWFF this Sunday! Isn’t it time we start paying attention to what we put into our bodies? Isn’t it time that the food we have available to us in the freezer section is not only simple. easy. done. but is also made of real ingredients? I think so! So here it is…I give you Chef Eric’ Ravioli Revolution. Pasta to the People!!

Check out my new website www.chefericsravioli.com and Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Apple Mousse with Brandy Doughnuts and Cinnamon Caramel

donuts

Apple Mousse with Brandy Doughnuts and Cinnamon Caramel

Happy Wednesday Kids! Last week I shared a recipe using apple mousse in a savory game dish with pheasant and crispy pork belly. This week I want to show you a sweet spin on apple mousse paired with sweet spiced caramel and rich, crispy, brandy-scented doughnuts. Who doesn’t love doughnuts? And they are so much fun to make! My Apple Mousse with Brandy Doughnuts and Cinnamon Caramel spoons are a delicious bite to finish a hearty Autumn meal. I hope you enjoy apple season to the fullest and Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Pasta to the People!

Launching

Pasta to the People!

Happy Friday! The countdown continues- we’re rolling out my line of hand crafted ravioli on Sunday, October 18th!

Production is underway!

And the Media has taken notice!

Nothing will stop the Revolution from coming! Like us on Facebook! And if you are in the NYC area, come and Taste the Revolution at 12:00pm on Sunday, October 18th at the NYCWFF Grand Tasting.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Poached Pheasant with Apple Mousse and Crispy Pork Belly

Poached Pheasant Apple Mousse Pork Belly

Poached Pheasant with Apple Mousse and Crispy Pork Belly

It’s apple picking season! If you are lucky enough to live in an area with an apple orchard nearby, you should absolutely take some time this weekend to pile the kids in the car and drive out to the country for some family fun. Many orchards are open to the public on the weekends and offer tractor-pulled wagon rides to the picking trees. Enjoy a cup of freshly pressed cider, buy some apple butter and pick a bushel of apples to snack on, bake with, juice and preserve. You will not be disappointed!

I love to pair apples with game birds and pork. Their sweet/tart flavor is the perfect foil for the richness of pheasant and crispy pork belly. I hope you enjoy my Poached Pheasant with Apple Mousse and Crispy Pork Belly, even if you don’t pick the apples for the recipe yourself. Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Blue Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta Crisps and Red Onion Confit

Blue Cheese Ravioli Pancetta Crisps Red Onion Confit

Blue Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta Crisps and Red Onion Confit

Happy Wednesday Kids! I have ravioli on my mind today. Well, I have ravioli on my mind everyday- that’s what happens when you are about to launch a Ravioli Revolution. Stay tuned! It’s going to be epic! But today, I’m excited to share with you a ravioli dish that is intended to be a small bite. This recipe is so packed with flavor that it works best as an hors d’oeuvres rather than a full course. I hope you enjoy my Blue Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta Crisps and Red Onion Confit. I like to serve it in a spoon!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts

Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts

Chocolate and peanut butter amarriage that will last an eternity. These ingredients stand well on their own, but when combined, it’s magic. They just work together! And no matter how you try to dress them up with other elements, it is the way they complement each other that makes a chocolate and peanut dish work, time and time again. Click here forthe history, according to the National Peanut Board,of the famous combination. This week I am sharing my recipe forChocolate Cheesecake and Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts. I hope you make and enjoy my take on this match made in Heaven.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Szechwan Marinated Pork with Grilled Apple and Sage Doughnuts

Szechwan Marinated Pork Grilled Apple Sage Doughnut

Szechwan Marinated Pork with Grilled Apple and Sage Doughnuts

For the past few weeks my teams at Morris Tap and Grill and Paragon Tap and Table have been busy planning our new fall menus. In the restaurant and catering world we always have to be thinking a season ahead to be ready for What’s Next! We’ve been developing and testing recipes, researching new brews for our taps, and immersing ourselves in fall flavors so that we can be ready, because fall is right around the corner. And we’re ready for it! This week’s recipe from Stick It, Spoon It, Put It in a Glass is a nod to the end of summer and the coming of fall. I hope you enjoy mySzechwan Marinated Pork with Grilled Apple and Sage Doughnuts.

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Scallop Ceviche with Citrus Compote and Basil Foam

Scallop Ceviche Citrus Compote Basil Foam

Scallop Ceviche with Citrus Compote and Basil Foam

Labor Day weekend is upon us! To me, and to so many of us, this means Firing Up the grill and gathering with friends and family to say goodbye to summer. Come Tuesday, we all need to be ready to get back into the busy groove of the fall and winter seasons. So lets enjoy this holiday weekend! Whether you are grilling burgers and dogs or dry-aged prime steaks, baby back ribs or fish, my Scallop Ceviche with Citrus Compote and Basil Foam is a great place to start your feast. Remember this weekend, and everyday that follows, to cherish the people you love and to feed them well!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

Scallop Ceviche with Citrus Compote and Basil Foam
(Makes about 10 servings)

Ingredients/Scallop Ceviche
8 Tbsp tomato juice
8 Tbsp fresh orange juice
8 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
2 red onions, peeled and diced
8 Tbsp ketchup
2 jalapeno chilies, split, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp hot red pepper sauce
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
10 10/20 scallops

Method/Scallop Ceviche
In a bowl, combine all ingredients except the scallops. Remove the connecting tissue from the side of each scallop and split scallops in half lengthwise, then place them in the bowl of marinade and marinate for 12 hours in the refrigerator.

Ingredients/Citrus Compote
1 orange
1 lemon
1 lime
1 red onion, peeled and finely diced
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Method/Citrus Compote
Peel and section the lemon, lime and orange. Cut the sections into 1/4-inch pieces and combine with other ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Ingredients/Basil Foam
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 bunch fresh basil
Kosher salt and pepper

Method/Basil Foam
Combine all ingredients in a 1-qt container and puree with a hand blender. Slowly lift the blender to the surface and agitate until a foam forms.

Assembly
Place a half scallop on each spoon. Layer with 1/4 tsp citrus compote and then place another scallop on the compote. Layer another 1/4 tsp citrus compote, then top with Basil Foam and a micro basil leaf.

Chef Notes
Using 1 gm of lecithin or agar-agar to make the foam will keep it stable and bubbly for a longer period of time. You can use cream as a base instead, but for off-premise events, lecithin works best. If you are using cream reduce the amount when using both agar-agar and or lecithin. Both products can be purchase through Chef rubber.com

Variations
Salmon, hamachi, or snapper can be used instead of scallops. Use horn melon or pomegranate with a touch of mint to create a different flavor profile.

 

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I’m Firing It Up With Pick On Us! Easy. Simple. Done.

pou_logo_1411635899__07827

I’m Firing It Up With Pick On Us! Easy. Simple. Done.

I’ve worked with Pick On Us products for years and I am so excited to announce that my partnership with Pick On Us continues! We are offering amazing culinary development services to refresh and enhance your hospitality business.These services are for restaurants, catering companies, hotels and food service companies that are looking for cutting edge and industry leading ideas for their customers. Do you need to spruce up your menu or presentation style? Check out the unique line of products on the Pick On Us websiteand be sure to visit my pageto learn more about my consulting services. Its an Easy. Simple. Done. concept that have I developed over the years and now together with Pick On Us, I am bringing it to you.

Fire it up!!!

Chef Eric

http://www.pickonus.com/chef-eric-levine-services

 

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Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta Salata

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta Salata

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta Salata

Happy Wednesday Kids! It’s the last week of August. It’s the end of the summer growing season and the kids are going back to school. Yet there is still time to make it to the beach, or lake, or mountain vista for one more day. And there is definitely still time to celebrate amazing summer vegetables. Let’s soak up the waning days of summer this weekend and enjoy myGrilled Eggplant with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes and Ricotta Salata. The vegetables can be prepped a day ahead of time if you prefer and they are delicately seasoned with herbs and olive oil to allow their true flavors shine.

I hope you make this healthy bite this weekend and share it with someone you love. Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir Fried Mushrooms and Five Spice Popcorn

Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Five-Spice Popcorn

Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir Fried Mushrooms and Five Spice Popcorn

I don’t eat a lot of beef, but I love Short Ribs! To me, short ribs are an anytime of the year food. I enjoy it through all of the seasons matched with different vegetables and starches, sauces and garnishes.

In keeping with my on-going quest to create food with layers of flavors and textures, this dish from my cookbook Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass is a item that can be changed for each season and accented with a number of different spices and marinades. If you know me and follow my work, you know I love Asian flavors. My Asian Braised Short Ribs with Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Five-Spice Popcorn is a delicious way to celebrate this luxurious cut of beef.

The soft texture of the short rib, the crunch of the stir fry and the pop of the popcorn make this dish a fun experience and another act in the theater of the palate.

Fire it up!

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Watermelon Radish with Soy Scallion-Marinated Tomatoes and Marinated Enoki Mushrooms

Watermelon Radish Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes Enoki Mushrooms

Watermelon Radish with Soy Scallion-Marinated Tomatoes and Marinated Enoki Mushrooms

Don’t you just love the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning in August?The selection ofheirloom vegetables and exotic mushroomscominginto market from farms all over the countryis amazing! This week I am sharing a recipe that really benefits from using the best, most seasonal vegetables. I used sweet little heirloom cherry tomatoes, vibrant watermelon radishes and light, summery enoki mushrooms. Each vegetable is marinated in and flavored with it own pronounced ingredients- Sesame, ginger, Thai chili, garlic, soy sauce, mint, cilantro, and mirin-so that when they allcometogether, each bite is balanced and each component compliments the others.Keep this recipe in mind when you hit your farmer’s market this weekend and experiment with thespecialvarieties your local farmers offer.Click here to print my recipe for Watermelon Radish with Soy Scallion- Marinated Tomatoes and Marinated Enoki Mushrooms. I hope you enjoy it!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Grilled Scallions and Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Grilled Scallions and Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

Oven Roasted Lamb Loin with Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes, Grilled Scallions and Chili Mint Dipping Sauce

Ilove lamb. And this bite is made with the loin which is low in fat butpacked with flavor due toa rub ofgarlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and a given a quick sear to create a nice crust and to lock in the juices. After a short roast in the oven, the lamb can be served at room temperature skewered with roasted potatoes and crunchy grilled scallions andcomplementedby a zippy herbaceous sauce. This bite is destinedto become one of your favorites! I hope you make it and enjoy it. Fire It Up! Chef Eric

(Print the recipe)
Ingredients/Roasted Lamb Loin
20 oz lamb loin
1/4 bunch fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt
White pepper

Method/Roasted Lamb Loin
Trim any excess fat from the lamb loin. Mix the rosemary, garlic and olive oil and rub into the lamb loin. Season with salt and pepper. Sear the lamb loin in a pan over high heat on all sides for 3 minutes, then put in a 350 oven for 15 minutes or until the internal temperature is 125. Let the lamb cool and set aside.

Ingredients/Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
10 small Yukon gold potatoes
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 bunch fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/2 bunch scallion greens, chopped; reserve whites for grilling
Kosher salt
White pepper

Method/Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes .Toss potatoes with garlic, rosemary, scallions, oil, salt and pepper. Put potatoes on a sheet pan and roast at 350 for 20 minutes or until tender. Remove potatoes from oven and chill before skewering.

Ingredients/Grilled Scallions
20 scallions, white portions cut in 1-1/2-inch pieces (from scallions used with potatoes)
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt
White pepper

Method/Grilled Scallions
Season white portions of scallions with salt, pepper and oil. Lightly grill scallions over a medium flame until they are almost tender. Cool and set aside.

Ingredients/Chili Mint Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup duck sauce
1/2 cup plum sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped
2 limes

Method/Chili Mint Dipping Sauce
Combine the duck and plum sauces; add the mint and squeeze in the juice from the limes; mix thoroughly.

Assembly
Slice the lamb loin into 20 pieces. On each skewer, place one piece of lamb, one piece of scallion whites and one piece of potato, then repeat the order. Serve with the Chili Mint Dipping Sauce.

Chef Notes
This item is versatile; you can serve it hot or cold, depending on the time of day and the event.

Variations
Create an interesting fall menu item by using sweet potatoes and brisket or short ribs.

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Beet Meringues with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dust

Beet Meringues with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dust

Beet Meringues with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dust

It’s recipe Wednesday! You know I love to takeaclassicdish and alter its chemical propertiesto createa completely different textural experience. This week’s recipe, Beet Meringues with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Dust, appears much more complicated then it actually is. It does, however, require that you make sure that the bowl of your standing mixer is completely free of grease,and that you purchase some maltodextrin to ensure success. Maltodextrin is made from tapioca and is the ingredient that turns your balsamic reduction into a flavor packed dust. If you can’t find it in a specialty food, kitchenor bake shop, you can order it from ChefRubber.com. You are sure to impress your friends with this colorful little sweet and savory bite! I mean, who doesn’t love a roasted beet and goat cheese salad? Well, I hope all of you beet loversmake and enjoythis recipe. Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

Mozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrette

It’s Recipe Wednesday! Today I want to celebrate the flavors of summer. The other day I had a delicious Jersey vine ripened tomato for lunch with basil from my back yard and it was so quintessentially summer, I started thinking about sharing a recipe that captures those fresh flavors. MyMozzarella Perlini with Red Onion Salad and Olive Vinaigrettegets a burst of tomato flavor from a sun-dried tomato oil, a fresh crunch from the red onion salad and a richness from the olive vinaigrette. It will make a great starter to a summer small plates meal. ”Stick It, Spoon It, Put it in a Glass is out of print and sold out, but my new bookSmall Bites, Big Flavoris available on Amazon and features recipes you will want to try, such as Marinated Cold-Smoked Salmon Sushi Cup, Duck wrapped in Pickled Plums with Plum-Ginger Dipping Sauce, Spring Roll-Style Ginger-Marinated Pulled Chicken with Mushroom and Grapefruit Brle with Ginger “Fluff” and Horned Melon-Sake Sauce- a sweet bite reminiscent of a s’more, everyone’s favorite summertime treat.

I hope you print and enjoy this week’s recipe and I hope you savor the flavors of summer! And as always…Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

 

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Buffalo Poached Chicken with Blue Cheese Mousse

Buffalo Poached Chicken with Blue Cheese Mousse

Buffalo Poached Chicken with Blue Cheese Mousse

Happy Wednesday! This week I’m sharing a flavor packed recipe that can be made ahead and served chilled in a glass or clear plastic cup. I used a cup from EMI Yoshi, Inc. in the photo from my book, Stick It, Spoon It, Put it in a Glass, but you should have fun with your presentation and use any small glass you have that will work for a single serving size. Small canning jars would work and are relatively inexpensive. The vessel you choose should be clear so that you can see the colorful layers. Click here for a printable recipe for my Buffalo Poached Chicken with Blue Cheese Mousse. I hope you enjoy!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Shrimp Paper with Poblano Chili Curry Mist and Tomato Dust

Shrimp Paper with Poblano Chili Curry Mist and Tomato Dust

Shrimp Paper with Poblano Chili Curry Mist and Tomato Dust

Happy Wednesday! This week I’m sharing a really fun recipe from my book, Stick It, Spoon It, Put It in a Glass. There are a few steps to this one. The methods are not difficult for anyone who is comfortable in the kitchen, but you will need to plan ahead and start early as the tomato dust takes 12-15 hours for the tomatoes to dehydrate. If you prepare each component in advance, this is really easy to put together. Your guests will not only be impressed by this presentation, they will love the interactive spritzing and the bold, refreshing flavors! Click here for a printable recipe for my Shrimp Paper with Poblano Chili Curry Mist and Tomato Dust. I hope you make it and I hope you enjoy it!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Strawberry and Mint Julep Mousse with Lemon Biscotti

Strawberry Mousse with Lemon Ginger Biscotti

Strawberry and Mint Julep Mousse with Lemon Biscotti

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week’s recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser atyour 4thof July picnic this weekend. It’s fruity, cold, creamy, slightly boozyand packed with fresh summer flavor. I hope you enjoy my Strawberry and Mint Julep Moussewith Lemon Biscotti! Haveafun and safe holiday weekend kids and Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Seared Scallops with Citrus Confit and Fried Snow Pea Sprouts

Scallops, Citrus Confit, Fried Snow Pea Sprouts

Seared Scallops with Citrus Confit and Fried Snow Pea Sprouts

Happy Wednesday Kids! This week I’d like to share a recipe frommy book, Stick It, Spoon It, Put it in a Glass, that celebrates summer. I hope you enjoy my Seared Scallops with Citrus Confit and Fried Snow Pea Sprouts. These would be great with a fruity Sauvignon Blanc and served as an appetizer or to top a salad! Make them for friends or someone you love this weekend and Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Alright it’s Hot. Let’s Not (just this once) Fire It Up…the Oven That Is!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Alright it’s Hot. Let’s Not (just this once) Fire It Up…the Oven That Is!

We, in the the Mid-Atlantic and South East, are experiencing our first “heatwave” of the season. It seems as though we should have had another week or two of perfect 72 degree weather this early into June, but no. Just like that, we feel as though we’re in the midst of the dog days of summer. This week I am sharing a recipe which, not only requires very little cooking, but also satisfies that summer craving we all have for really great tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Even though it feels like August, it’s June, and tomatoes are not yet at their peak. No worries! We are going to use the concentrated flavor of tomato juice to create a flavor packed gele which will replace the ripe jewels we’ll get later in the season. My Marinated Ciliengine Mozzarella with Pickled Onions and Kalamata Olives is the perfect chilled hors d’oeuvres to serve on the patio or around the pool this weekend and I hope you enjoy!

Fire It Up!
Chef Eric

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Grilled Lamb with Pickled Scallions and Poached Yukon Potato Cubes

Grilled Lamb with Pickled Scallions

Grilled Lamb with Pickled Scallions and Poached Yukon Potato Cubes

The warmer weather is finally here and it callsus out of the kitchen and into our back yards to Fire Up our grills. How about a grilled lamb loin, scented with garlic and fresh rosemary from your herb garden? This bite gets a citrusy kick of acid from pickled scallions and is balanced by creamy savory potatoes. Click here for the recipe. I hope you enjoy and Fire It Up!
Chef Eric

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Sticks, Spoons and Glasses to Enhance Your Brunch

Smoked Salmon Lollipops with Bagel Dust

Sticks, Spoons and Glasses to Enhance Your Brunch

Do you have a graduation or post-wedding brunch coming up this weekend? This week I am sharing some amazing hors d’oeuvres and a sweet bite that are sure to punch up your brunch menu! At a casual home brunch I like to offera buffet with dishes I canassemble the day or night before and chill and pop into the oven in the morning,such as French Toast Bread Pudding, Quiche and Southwest Breakfast Casserole. Then I choose a fewbites that require a little more piece work andshould be composed just before serving. Getting most of your prep done prior to your partyand leaving just a few steps for the morning of your event is important- you want to enjoy your guests!

Bagels and Lox are a brunch classic, right? I’m sharing two really fun ways to present smoked salmon:as a Smoked Salmon Lollipop with Bagel Dust,andas a crepepursefilled with a light and flavorfulSmoked Salmon Salad withScallion Caper Mousse. Choose one ordo them both, if you have the time!

Shrimp is always welcome at any party and any brunch should include Bloody Marys!Your guests are going to love these Bloody Mary-Poached Shrimp with Tomato and Onion Panna Cotta and Chili Balsamic Reduction.

And for a sweet finish to accompany your celebration cake and fresh fruit, my Coffee Mousse withBanana Paper and Coffee Crumb. Banana Paper! With a silicone mat you cantransform abananaand create a completely different texture, concentrated with banana flavor. This dessert is creamy, crunchy, bittersweet and boozy all in one dish!Enjoy and Fire It Up!

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Tuna Tartar Spoon with Guacamole and Soy Crisps

Tuna Tartar Spoon with Guacamole and Soy Crisps

Tuna Tartar Spoon with Guacamole and Soy Crisps

Happy Wednesday! My Book Stick It, Spoon It, Put It In A Glass is out of print and sold out so I decided to share the recipes here for you all to enjoy.Thank you to all of you who bought it and alsomy most recent bookSmall Bites, Big Flavor!This week’s recipe islight, yet packed with flavor- a perfect bite to kick off a cocktail party around the pool this weekend!Click here for a printable pdf of the recipe and if you make it, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments. Please enjoy and Fire It Up!

(Makes about 10 hors d’oeuvres)

Ingredients/Tuna Tartar:
1 lb. tuna loin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/4 tsp Asian red chili pepper flakes

Method/Tuna Tartar:
Dice the tuna into 1/8-inch pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Combine sesame oil, vinegar and pepper flakes. Gently mix the oil and vinegar mixture into the tuna pieces, put in a hotel pan, cover with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator until ready for use.

Ingredients/Guacamole:
2 ripe avocados
1/2 red onion, minced (about 1/2 cup)
12 Serrano chilies, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 Tbsp. cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
1/2 tsp coarse salt
Dash of freshly grated black pepper
1/2 ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Method/Guacamole: Cut avocados in half, remove seeds and scoop meat into a mixing bowl. Mash avocado with a fork. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Start with half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness. (Wash your hands thoroughly after handling chili peppers and keep your hands away from your eyes for several hours.) Cover the mashed avocado mixture with plastic wrap. The wrap should be directly on the surface of the guacamole to keep air from reaching it. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.

Ingredients/Soy Crisps:
1 cup flour
1/2 oz. soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seeds

Method/Soy Crisps: Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spread mixture into 1-inch circles on a silicone mat. Bake for 4 minutes at 350, then cool to room temperature. Scoop tuna tartar into ceramic spoons and top each with guacamole. Place one soy crisp, standing up, into the guacamole in each spoon.

Chefs Note:
If you make the soy crisps ahead of time, keep in an air-tight container so they dont become stale. Work quickly with the avocado so it doesnt oxidize and change color while youre preparing the guacamole. The guacamole recipe is flexible; start with the basic recipe and adjust ingredients to your taste.

Variations:
For a more unusual option, cut a skate wing into small dice and marinate in a lime-tomato vinaigrette. Skate has a soft, scallop-like texture and goes well with guacamole. Sear just before assembly. You can also use a cilantro chicken salad instead of the tuna tartare.

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#evolutionmtg

Mirepoix Dessert

#evolutionmtg

Today is the day Kids! The guys and gals (a.k.a. #teamkickass!) of the Morris Tap & Grill kitchen have been brining, pickling, curing and smoking our own meats, seafood, fruits and veggies for a complete overhaul of our menu and handcrafted cocktails! And #evolutionmtg is rolling out today!

We’ve never been average and have always put our own special twist on our pub fare, but this month we are setting the bar at a new level. With an emphasis on fresh, house made dishes, crafted cocktails and a commitment to sourcing local and artisan products, the evolution of MTG is underway. Our GM, Michael DeSimone, leads our team of mixologists and they have brilliantly incorporated ingredients like grilled orange peel and basil into our new cocktail line. We cannot wait to hear our customer reviews!

The front of house staff is ready to lead you through the new additions to the menu. Start your journey with one of our refreshing cocktails to whet your appetite, share some Broccolini, Asparagus & Carrot Tempura, Lazy Susan Lettuce Wraps and House Smoked Pulled Chicken with Black Bean Salad, Avocado Mousse and Pico de Gallo with the table before choosing a entre just for you. Perhaps our Lobster Ravioli with Chipotle Shrimp Sauce or our Braised Pork Belly on Spicy Tomatillo Salad is for you.

Whatever you do, be sure to finish your voyage with something from our new dessert line. Mirepoix Dessert? You’ve got to taste it to believe it! Check this twist out- We’ve taken a typically savory base and made it into a sweet delight. Carrot Cake Stack, Celery Lychee Sorbet, Onion Fig Marmalade, Fried Carrot & Graham Cracker Caramel Bar. We hope you come in soon to experience it for yourself!

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Check Out My Healthy Seasonal Recipes on Pazoo.Com

Italian Bean Meatballs

Check Out My Healthy Seasonal Recipes on Pazoo.Com

As we in the Mid-Atlantic Statescontinue to anxiously await warmer weather, I’ve been sharing tips and recipes for eating with the seasonwith Pazoo readers. Head on over to www.pazoo.comfor healthy recipes like Italian Bean “Meatballs” with Spaghetti Squashand Orange Crepe Stacks with Orange Curd. And come back often, I share a new recipe every week!

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Seafood Paella

Calamari has become a staple at many restaurants. Youll find it fried with marinara, drizzled with a sweet chili sauce, or cold in a seafood salad. I remember my Hippie mom adding it to spaghetti sauce and back then it was just called squid not by its fancy Mediterranean name! My brother and I were fascinated by how it looked with its opaque body and all of the curly tentacles. I know that the neighbors werent eating squid but my mom was all about healthy, hearty dishes and if she could save a little money by using unusual ingredients, she did! Like many ingredients that were once thought of as cheap (remember when they buried lobsters as fertilizer or fed it to prisoners back in the 1800s?) squid has morphed into calamari and its price along with its availability is much greater.

Fresh calamari may be hard to find. If your local fishmonger doesnt carry it, see if he has some frozen. Calamari is one of those ingredients that needs to be cooked quickly (like frying in a hot saut pan) or it can be done slowly when allowed to simmer with other ingredients, just make sure if youre simmering it, it has some moisture. A friend of mine loves to grill squid. She says that you need to slice open the bodies and cross hatch them with a knife to help keep them flat while they grill. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some fresh cracked pepper is all you need to enjoy this as an appetizer or serve it over some cooked orzo with a bit of chopped tomato for a quick, tasty dinner.

This week Im sharing a recipe for Seafood Paella that can be done partly in advance. Its a great dish when youre having friends or family over since it doesnt require too much attention. This recipe differs from other paella recipes that youve probably seen. The most common paella is called Valencia Paella and is said to have originated on the east coast of Spain. It has chicken, mussels, a spicy sausage- like chorizo, and is enhanced with garlic, onions, capers & saffron.

Feel free to switch out the seafood Ive used in this recipe. If you dont like mussels or clams, add in scallops to go with the shrimp. The best part of making paella is using the ingredients you like. It might not qualify as Paella Valencia, but Im sure youll find that its delicious!

Fire it up,

Chef Eric

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Oscar’s Party

Grilled and Chilled Asparagus-Skewered Shrimp With Almond Vinaigrette

Oscar’s Party

Birdman, Boyhood, American Sniper, Selma, Whiplash, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything… Bradley Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Meryl Streep, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawk… the level of talent represented in this year’s Academy Awards Nominations is amazing! It’s difficult to pick a favorite or to predict the winners, but it’s fun to watch the show. I’d like to share a couple of appetizer recipes from my book that are a snap to put together and will be a dazzling addition to your Oscar’s party menu.

So,you have limited time to prepare a whole menu foryour Oscar’s Party? But you also want toput out a somewhat elegant and impressive spread? You certainly want to enjoy your party and notspend the entire partycooking, right? Here’s the plan- buy the best quality prepared foods that you can serve at room temperature: antipasti,vegetable/legume salads, charcuterie and cheese, sushi, sliced beef or pork tenderloin, poached salmonor pt with sauces, mustards, relishes and rolls, and thenfill in with some homemade, handcrafted hors d’eouvres.Wowyour friendswithGrilled and Chilled Asparagus-Skewered Shrimp with Almond Vinaigrette and Spring Roll-Style Ginger-Marinated Pulled Chicken with Mushrooms. The shrimp skewers should be made in advance and chilled. Welcome your friends to the party witha platterof theShrimpAsparagus Skewers and a flute of champagne. The spring rolls should not be rolled in advance, but all of the prep should be done prior to the party. Set out bowls and plates of the fillings and saucesand create a “rollyour own spring roll” station. You can make the crepes la minute if you have an openkitchen and your friends are gathered around or make them just before your guests arrive, keeping them wrapped and warm. Invite everyone to come over 30-60 minutes before the awards start so everyone can have a drink, catch up and eat something before the show starts. Lay out all of the purchased prepared foods before guests arrive, so your are not scrambling , you are enjoying your party, the food is readily available and you are watching the show!

Often your guests will bring a bottle of wine or liquor to contribute to the party. Make sure to put out their contribution, but also make sure you have an ample amount of beer, wine, liquor and ice, appropriate mixers, bar fruit and garnishes at the ready.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Dark Chocolate Bites

Dark Chocolate Bites

Dark Chocolate Bites

Valentines Day its known as the most romantic day of the year! But did you know that its also a day when many people like to get together with their family and friends? When I look at the reservations for Morris Tap & Grill and Paragon Tap & Table, most are for parties of 4 or more. Does that mean that people dont want to have that romantic night out with just their significant other? Or, is it because its a Saturday this year and it feels like a holiday? Whatever the reason, Im glad people are celebrating their love for one another. Last year on Valentines Day we had a proposal at the Kitchen Table at Morris Tap & Grill. It was a wonderful surprise and the team at Morris Tap & Grill helped to make sure that the answer was yes! I wonder if that will happen again this year?

Valentines Day has always been a special day for me. Lorraine and I got married on Valentines Day 23 years ago and its been a fantastic journey! Sure, weve had our ups and downs (but thankfully – as Sinatra would say – too few to mention) and weve been blessed with two fantastic kids. As a chef, Valentines Day is not a day that you spend with your family since its one of the busiest days of the year. On our first anniversary I sent my wife a dozen roses. It didnt make up for the fact that I wasnt home that night but she knew what she was getting into when she married me. We learned that we could celebrate our anniversary on a different day, or even in the morning with breakfast in bed. On our second anniversary, I sent two dozen roses and was she surprised. Year three was three dozen roses and I kept adding a dozen for every year we were married until we hit 10 years with 10 dozen roses and at that point we decided it had gotten out of control! I think the local florist was sad that I was ending this tradition but we were ready for something new. Im a romantic, and like a bit of surprise so I organized a night out, just the two of us and left the kids home with a sitter. She didnt know where we were going and her eyes just sparkled when she tried to guess! I still like to surprise her with a restaurant and surprise her I did when I took her to 11 Madison Park in NYC for our 20th anniversary. This is one of the most fabulous dining experiences weve ever had and Im so happy that we were able to share it for our anniversary, even though it was nearly 6 months after the fact!

Lorraine also happens to love dark chocolate so I try to make her something that I know shell enjoy. She knows how crazy it is at the restaurants and always tells me not to do it but I love to create something special for her! This week Im sharing a recipe for Dark Chocolate Bites. Its pretty easy to make and I can guarantee that anyone you share these with will be very happy! Click here fora printable PDF of the recipe.

Do you do anything special for Valentines Day that youd like to share?

Fire it up!

Cher Eric

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Pan-seared Quail with Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash, Salsify Puree and Cranberry Reduction – Gluten Free

Pan seared Quail with Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash with Salsify Puree and Cranberry Reduction - Gluten Free

Pan-seared Quail with Brussels Sprout & Mushroom Hash, Salsify Puree and Cranberry Reduction – Gluten Free

Lastweek at Morris Tap & Grill it was all about wild game. Has everyone tried some form of wild game? Most grocery stores now carry bison steaks and ground bison but did you know that some are also carrying meats that are a bit more unusual? At my local grocer, they have a pretty nice selection of products fromD’Artagnan rabbit, squab, wild boar and venison, though not everything is available at the same time. If you want something special or in larger quantities, ask your butcher to order it for you so you wont be disappointed. If youre lucky, you may also have a game farm nearby. There are a few in New Jersey and one of my Massachusetts friends has one close to her home as well.

Seeing these selections got me thinking about having a game dinner and pairingeach coursewith some unusual wines. After talking with my supplier, we settled on quail, rabbit, elk, ostrich and wild boar. I know, it sounds like a lot for one dinner but keep in mind that the portions are meant to be a tasting, not a dinner.

The recipe Im sharing this week is the first course from the game dinner. Its a pan seared quail with Brussels sprout and mushroom hash with salsify puree and cranberry reduction. Sounds like a mouthful but if you take it step by step youll find it easy to accomplish and I guarantee youll wow your family & friends! Best part? You can make most of this meal in advance except for searing the quail and finishing the hash.

Im guessing youre wondering about salsify and will you like it? Salsify is a root vegetable and is shaped like a carrot or a thin parsnip. The outer skin is a light brown with a creamy white flesh once peeled. You may see it sold as goatsbeard, vegetable oyster or oyster plant. Some people say it tastes like an oyster or an artichoke when its cooked. Its a great addition to soups and stews or can be substituted for mashed potatoes. If you buy it with any green grass like shoots attached, cut them off and use them in salad or anywhere youd like to add a bit of freshness and a splash of color.

Click here for a printable pdf the recipe of this amazing quail dish. And this is the rest of the menu:

Second Course: Grilled Rabbit Sausage, Apple & Goat Cheese Tart

Third Course: Roasted Elk, Squash & Potato Galette

Fourth Course: This one is near and dear to my heart since its a tribute to when I was on Chopped (and won!) Seared Ostrich Loin with Curried Squash Blossoms, Pear Slaw and Herb Pesto.

Fifth Course: Pan Roasted Wild Boar with Crispy Wild Boar Belly, Corn Pudding andCorn Reduction Sauce

Of course I cant send people home without a bit of sweetness to end the meal so we created a Port Wine Sorbet. One of my guests described it as the perfect way to end a spectacular meal. Thats high praise and Im very happy that she and her husband enjoyed the evening.

Fire it up!

Chef Eric

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Grilled Roasted and Pickled

Skirt Steak with Grilled romaine, pickled and crispy radish, roasted cippolini onions and onion demi

Grilled Roasted and Pickled

So, what do Chefs do on a snow day? I imagine that most rest and relax with their family and friends after shoveling the driveway but many of them me included use this as an opportunity to create new recipes. Last week was the Juno Blizzard that closed both of our restaurants for two days. While my staff had the time off, I still needed to go in to make sure that there were no problems, check the answering machine and order food for Wednesday. Its not often that I get to work uninterrupted, where its quiet- well, except for the Sevendust music blasting!

As I looked in the walk-in to see what I had on hand, I found myself thinking about what would be good for a really cold, wintery day. Soups, stews and braises are great for snowy days and they make your house smell so good, but its not where my mind was going. I wanted to create something! I saw a container of chimichurri and decided to marinate some skirt steak we had on hand. Not just any skirt steak, but Wagyu skirt steak. If youre not familiar with Wagyu, its the Rolls Royce of beef. According to Wikipedia,Wagyu literally means Japanese cow and refers to several breeds of cattle- the most desired of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat. I know, oleaginous unsaturated fat it doesnt sound good but it makes this steak taste great and gives it that “melt in your mouth” texture! Most of the Wagyu cattle were raised in Japan until some very clever cattlemen decided to raise an American Wagyu, with much success. If your local butcher doesnt have any, ask if they can get if for you its worth the cost!

Now, steak by itself doesnt thrill me, even if it is Wagyu! Marinating it in chimichurri overnight was really going to kick up the flavor. I need my recipes to have different textures anddifferent temperatures, so I kept looking. Hmmma bunch of radishes might be good if I pickled them, and some roasted and pureed cauliflower would provide a creamy element. I knew I was on my way to creating something great. Leafy greens are very important to all of our diets so I thought about incorporating some romaine hearts, maybe grilled right after I grill the steak. Next up, I see some cipollini onions. These are small, sweet onions, that are great roasted and Ive decided theyll be the last element of my dish. So with the music blaring, I began to put the components together and forgot all about the snow storm.Id love to hear what you create on a snow day with the ingredients you have on hand! Click here for a printable pdf of the recipe.

Fire it up,

Chef Eric

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A New Twist on Hummus

Hummus and Tapanade Cup

A New Twist on Hummus

If youve been reading my columns on Pazoo.com, you already know that I like hummus and adding different flavors and spices to shake it up. Serving it with pita chips is the norm, but I woke up thinking about making a handheld cone that would serve as the vessel for the hummus. So, what could I use that would taste good, and still be crisp? Iceberg lettuce could be an option and homemade crepes might be tasty but they wouldnt stay crisp. I finally settled on using flour or corn tortillas that Id shape into a cone and then crisp up in the oven.

I like the consistency of hummus so creamy and smooth on your palate. However, I also like some texture so I thought about other flavors that might play well with hummus. I had a variety of pitted olives on hand and decided to make some olive tapenade to use for a topping. It tasted great with the hummus but I thought that it needed a bit of sweetness. Most of you know that I dont care for the tomatoes that are available in the winter months though there are a couple of exceptions. Grape tomatoes and plum tomatoes still have good flavor and they get even better after a quick roast in the oven. So maybe a few roasted tomatoes to add some sweetness and using red & yellow tomatoes would bring some additional color.

Did you know that cherry sized tomatoes have been cultivated for centuries? According to Wikipedia Cherry tomatoes are believed to go as far back as Aztec Mexico in at least the 15th century. Records of Santorini cherry tomatoes being heavily cultivated in Greece can be found as far back as 1875, from seeds brought there by a monk in the early 1800s. Locals believe that the seeds were imported from somewhere in Egypt. You can find these tomatoes in a variety of colors with red being the most common. If you see any of the other colors orange, yellow, green and even black try them! Theyll add some visual interest to your creations.

Many of you have requested recipes that can be made in advance. The recipe Im sharing this week is a perfect example of a make ahead appetizer. Make the tortilla crisps up to 5 days in advance and store them in an airtight container. You can prepare the hummus and olive tapenade up to 7 days in advance storing them in separate containers in the fridge. You may need to stir the hummus to incorporate any olive oil that may have separated. Roast the tomatoes no sooner than the morning of when you plan to serve them.

Keep your eyes on Pazoo.com in the coming weeks and youll see a video of me making this recipe! And click here for a printable PDF.

Fire it up,

Cher Eric

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Bringing Black Trumpet Mushrooms To The Table

Artichoke, Edamame, Trumpet Mushroom Salad

Bringing Black Trumpet Mushrooms To The Table

This week Ive been creating recipes with Black Trumpet mushrooms. They are also known as Horns of Plenty or King Trumpet Mushroom and are one of my favorite mushrooms. They can easily be found dried, but you may need to look a bit harder for fresh, or buy them online. Ive seen them available in the Northeast and the Northwest during the latter part of the year. My local market doesnt stock them but my produce guy for Morris Tap & Grill can get them for me if I give him enough lead time. You may not find these fresh or dried in your grocery store so make time to stop by an Asian market and browse their selection of mushrooms. Keep in mind that the labels might not be written in English so look for xng bo g? or c qn g? in Chinese, or saesongi peoseot in Korean. They should be easy to spot based on their shape and color.

Black trumpets are so tasty, even if they are a bit weird looking. They have a smoky flavor and an almost fruity aroma. They are savory, meaty and give off one of the most wonderful scents when you cook with them that youll want to include them more often. The biggest problem I have with these black trumpets is they stain anything I cook with them. For the dish Im sharing with Pazoo, Im cooking each of the ingredients separately so they all retain their natural color. Keep in mind that cooking black trumpet mushrooms in soup might not work if youre looking for a lighter color stock or broth.

Im always looking for new ways to feed my Hippie Mom and my sister as they are both vegan and try to be gluten free. (They say the GF lifestyle really makes them feel better!) Requests for vegan & gluten free dishes in the restaurants seem to have increased too, so I continually try to come up with something new, interesting and flavorful especially for the Sunday brunch at Paragon Tap & Table. As you can imagine, brunch is normally filled with eggs, French toast, pancakes, bacon & sausage and not too many options for those that are vegan and or gluten free.

Today Im sharing a recipe that is GF and vegan that incorporates black trumpet mushrooms, artichoke hearts and edamame. This recipe takes a bit of time and effort to prepare the artichokes, but I know if you try this recipe youll enjoy it. Click here for aPDF of the recipe.

Id love to hear about your favorite mushrooms and how you prepare them!

Fire it up!

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Right Off the Food Truck

Aloo Tikki- Vegan and Gluten Free

Right Off the Food Truck

Ive been having the best time at Morris Tap & Grill creating recipes for street food and Im so excited to share it with you!

When I think about street food, I imagine all of the flavors of Asia, India and South America. You might think of foods trucks as street food but think back to the original vendors in New York not a food truck in sight, just carts with a heat source. Can you imagine wheeling them around to the best corner each day? I remember bugging my dad to buy some roasted chestnuts after catching the scent on a trip into New York City. I was amazed that the guy was roasting them on an open fire and the ones that were a bit burned tasted the best! Now, on almost any street in New York City youll find the usual hot dogs, pretzels & chestnuts, but youll also find gyros, kebabs & fried plantains. If youre feeling adventurous, try something new for lunch or dinner!

This week on Pazoo.com Im sharing a recipe for Aloo Tikki. Sound intriguing? It is and its considered a street food in India. Aloo Tikki is relatively simple to make with mashed potatoes, peas and Chaat Masala, a fragrant Indian seasoning. According to Wikipedia Chaat Masala most often consists of amchoor, cumin, coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, asafoetida and chili powder. There are many variations available, especially if you have a spice market nearby. If you dont have a spice market, check out Amazon.com, Etsy.com or any site that specializes in spices. Chaat means lick in Hindi and Masala means spice. You should be licking your lips after trying any dish made with Chaat Masala.

Chaat Masala can be sprinkled on foods after cooking to add some zip or try adding it to lemonade. Youll be surprised by how good it tastes. Some of my friends also like to sprinkle it on fresh mango yum my mouth is watering as Im thinking about this!

Aloo Tikki is similar to a potato pancake but better and lighter. Its so flavorful with fresh cilantro and Chaat Masala, you may never want to make regular potato pancakes again! If you dont have fresh cilantro, you can sub in dhania (also known as coriander).

Aloo Tikki is normally cooked on a tava. Its a flat griddle made of stainless steel, cast iron or aluminum. If you dont have one, a non-stick pan or cast iron frying pan will suffice.

As you can tell, Im really fired up thinking about these street foods and will do my best to bring the streets to you in the form of recipes that wont be hard to create and dont need too many odd ingredients.For a PDF of the recipe, Click Here.

Id love to hear about what your favorite street foods are and if I can, help you create a recipe so you can enjoy them at home.

Fire it up,

Chef Eric

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Ginger Scallion Glazed Pork Sticks

Ginger Glazed Pork Sticks

Ginger Scallion Glazed Pork Sticks

Happy New Year!

2014 was a very busy year filled with happiness and a few challenges. 2015 looks like its going to be more of the same and I say bring it on!

If youve been following me on Pazoo, you already know that I love everything pork. Ham, bacon, pork belly, ribsI could go on forever about the different cuts even the most unusual – and ways to cook them.

This week Im sharing one of my favorite pork recipes with you. We call them Asian Glazed Pork Sticks at Morris Tap & Grill and this is their story.

Several years ago I asked the butcher to provide me with some pork ribs and he didnt have enough on hand. Not wanting to lose a sale, he showed me small pork shanks, about 3 oz. in size cut from the fibula. Ive heard that this cut is also called pig wings, pork drummies, squealers or beaver tails depending on which part of the country youre in. They looked to be the size of a drumstick and I started to think about ways to prepare them. The butcher said that you could fry them like chicken wings and serve them with a bleu cheese dressing along with carrots and celery. That seemed too normal to me and I knew I would do something else and began thinking about some of my favorite flavor profiles as he put my order together. My first thought was to use a rosemary garlic rub, then it was garlic and tomato and then I came up with ginger, garlic & soy glaze. I started out frying the pork shanks but realized that roasting might be better and a bit healthier. Cooking them at a lower temperature with just some salt, pepper and garlic powder intensified the pork flavor, and bathing them in a flavorful glaze before serving really turned this into something special. Its become the most popular small plate on our menu!

This is a perfect dish to make when the weather is cold since youll have your oven on for several hours helping to keep the kitchen nice and warm. Did I mention the benefit of how good your house will smell if you make these? Asian Glazed Pork Sticks would make a great party appetizer or pair them with some fragrant jasmine rice and lightly sauted bok choy for a great dinner!Click here for a pdf of the recipe.

Id love to hear if you use anything unusual in your favorite dishes! Maybe pig tails?

Fire it up!

Cher Eric

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Chef Erics Merry-Happy Year-End Food Traditions!

Smoked Salmon Lollipops!

Chef Erics Merry-Happy Year-End Food Traditions!

Hopefully your home is decorated, youve finished your shopping and the gifts are wrapped. Have you decided what foods youll be making for Hanukkah or Christmas dinner? Every family I know has their own traditions (green bean casserole, anyone?) and foods they just have to have to make it feel special. When I was a kid it was Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and someone always brought over a fruit cake though Im not sure we ever ate it!

Now, on to New Years Eve and how people celebrate. Many people go out to their favorite restaurant, bar or club and celebrate. I know our reservation book at Morris Tap & Grill and Paragon Tap & Table are almost full so make sure you call your favorite place for a reservation right now if you dont want to be disappointed. If you have kids, you may be staying home and celebrating with friends and family. Staying home keeps you out of what can be a boisterous crowd and eating or drinking too much and there is no requirement to stay up until midnight! Youll also save some money since you wont have to hire a sitter on what is said to be the most expensive night to have someone else watch your kids.

If I wasnt working, Id be at home with my family and a few close friends. Id keep the food light, perhaps all small plates served in intervals passing some Prosecco or sparkling cider. We like to try out new flavor profiles so that has me thinking about creating a theme. Ive never been to Scandinavia but love fish so thats where my mind is going. Salmon, herring, pickled vegetables and maybe some savory preserves (onion & garlic jam is great with goat cheese) to serve on a charcuterie plate. Id probably make some Swedish meatballs, too but would use ground turkey instead of beef to make it a bit healthier.

Click here for therecipe for a Smoked Salmon Lollipop. It can be made ahead of time and best of all you can involve your kids. If youre not a smoked salmon fan, Ive also listed a few things you can use to substitute for the salmon, or come up with your own fun combinations!

One of my friends eats pickled herring on New Years Day. She says its supposed to bring you good luck in the year ahead. Hmmm, I wonder what other people do? Here are a few traditions from my staff and all are said to bring good luck and prosperity in the New Year.

Southerners: Collard greens and black eyed peas

Sicilian Lentils in soup or as a side dish

Spanish 12 grapes just before midnight

Portuguese & Italians Roast Pork

Polish & German Pickled Herring

Id love to hear what traditional foods you and your family eat to ring in the New Year!

Fire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Hope For the Holidays

familyreach_logo_RGB

Hope For the Holidays

Every day, I am thankful for the blessings I have in my life. Please join me in giving the gift of Hope for the Holidays by supporting families of children with cancer. Your help will ensure families in your community and across the country have a chance to celebrate this season. Here are some of their stories…

Junior, 12 years old (Newark Beth Israel, NJ):Junior was recently diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma of the femur.Thisdisease generally has a poor prognosis. Junior is currently wheelchair bound. His parents are immigrant from El Salvador and do not speak English. Juniors mom cannot work due to her need to care for Junior, resulting in a loss of income. Junior is an adorable, loving child who is always interested in making new friends and making people laugh. By donating, families like Juniors can breathe a little easier during a time of year that should be filled with joy and celebration.

Seamus, 8 years old (Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, NJ): Diagnosed with autism and leukemia, Seamus has faced challenging and exhausting treatments and frequent hospitalizations. Recently, Seamus dad lost his job, causing the familys income to significantly decrease. Following a recent surgery to remove his gallbladder, continued hospital stays have caused co-payment to pile up. His mom commutes from New Jersey to work in New York, and it has been difficult for her to schedule sitters for Seamus and his younger brother with short notice when she is required to travel for work. All of this has put a significant strain on the familys finances and made it near impossible to celebrate the holiday season peacefully and as a family. Your support willprovide resources for Seamus and families like his to take a step back from the stress of cancer this holiday season.

Sean, 5 years old (Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, NJ): Sean was diagnosed in October of 2013 with ALL, leukemia. Sean spent most of the year in and out of the hospital with severe medical complications. He’s had severe seizures, neuropathy, several procedures and an overall very difficult year. Seans mother had to take an unpaid leave of absence from her job to be with him and tend to his numerous medical needs. Mom recently went back to work and within days, Sean relapsed. She now has to take another unpaid leave of absence to care for him while he prepares for a bone marrow transplant. Sean has fivepeople in his household,andsupport through Hope for the Holidays could bring the family great relief during this time of year.

Thank you all, Happy Holidays and Fire it up!

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Family Reach Friday!

Family Reach Friday

Family Reach Friday!

$5 Friday!
By now you know Ive had cancer 5 times. Im a tough guy and will show up to a fight ready to win but this beast is relentless. I know what it does to families and thats why I need your help.
Can you spare a buck for every time I gave cancer a beat down?
A small change can make a big difference. Skip that cup of Starbucks; have one less beer tonight; stay in instead of seeing that movie and make that money count. Donate $5 (more if you can afford it) to help kids with cancer through Family Reach Foundation. They pay the expenses that health insurance doesnt pay the car bills, rent, travel expenses back and forth to Childrens hospital hundreds of miles away and so much more.
Lets do this friends! $5 thats all it takes.
Thank you and Fire It Up!
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Throw Back Thursday…To That Time I Was On The Daily Meal With Diane Henderiks

Couscous Tomato

Throw Back Thursday…To That Time I Was On The Daily Meal With Diane Henderiks

I am so blessed tobe able to travel and cook withso many different people and totouchlives with my craft. Here’s a video ofDiane Henderiks and I preparinga healthy Couscous Stuffed Tomato on The Daily Meal. #Fireitup!

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Family Reach Foundation

Eric and Emma

Family Reach Foundation

I do this for Emma. I met Emma at the Family Reach Cooking Live event a couple of weeks ago.

I do this for parents whohave a child with cancer.For families whorefuse to lose hope, who savor every moment they have with their children. I do this for those who fight and pray every day for a normal healthy life.

Those of you who know me, you know my history and association with cancer. I fight the fight and I am a 5 time survivor. I have never been one to really talk about it publicly, other thanabout wanting tohelp others. After careful consideration and being part of an amazing event with Family Reach Foundation, I have decided to make this organization a top priority. The proceeds raised by Family Reach Foundation go directly to the families. Often when a child has cancer, one parent stops working, making them a single income family. Meanwhile, the bills pile up.

Lets Fire it up and help some families who are living the fight to have an amazing holiday! Please Pay It Forward. Please log onto my fundraiser pagehttps://fundraise.familyreach.org/fundraise?fcid=383843 andmake a donation. For however much you can give.Also please share this post through Social Media #FamilyReachFoundation. Thank You, Happy Holidays andFire It Up!

Chef Eric

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Be Inspired by Reach Athletes: Walk, Run or Ramble!

Brooklyn Bridge

Be Inspired by Reach Athletes: Walk, Run or Ramble!

If youve been following me on Pazoo, you already know that I planned on running the NYC Marathon but was benched from training when I tore my meniscus this summer during a friendly front-of-house vs back-of-house soccer game. I may have played like Pele but it cost me my marathon dream. Im back at the gym and recommitted to getting in the best shape of my life.

You might also know that I am a 5-time cancer survivor. Five times that beast knocked on my door and every time, I gave it a proper beat down. But it wasnt easy especially on my family. Cancer is a family disease. What my wife and children went through is heartbreaking. So when I heard about Family Reach Foundation and the help they provide families who have children being treated for cancer, I was all-in. As families cope with years of medical treatments, out of pocket costs, everyday living expenses they often reach a breaking point having to make impossible choices. Family Reach is there to help with rent or mortgage payments; transportation; utilities; uncovered medical expenses and everyday living expenses that we often take for granted.

Celebrity trainer Kenji Freedman heads up Reach Athletes the pillar of Family Reach Foundation that focuses on athletic opportunities like BodieSynergy Brooklyn 10K. I cant run it this year but you can. If you live anywhere near Brooklyn, NY please do this race. The registration fee is $100 but you can make your race really count by becoming a Reach Athlete! Youll have your own personal fundraising page and get special benefits like group training clinics. When you register and put in the code: cheferic you get 50% of the fee so $50 to participate (and a cool tee shirt and chef treats).

BodieSynergy Brooklyn 10K to benefit Family Reach Foundation

Click Family Reach – Brooklyn 10k to register or shoot joanna@bodiesynergy.com an email.

Saturday, December 13th, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. / 96 Parkside Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

Im a Brooklyn boy through and through. Doesnt matter how far I roam, there will always be a piece of me left there. Im fired up to show the world what this borough is made of! Ill bring some sweet and healthy treats to get the runners fueled. You bring your sneakers, your determination and your big heart.

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While You’re at It On Cyber Monday…

While You’re at It On Cyber Monday…

With the holidays approaching, its time to start thinking about the perfect gift for the special cooks in your life. What better way to share the joy of cooking than with my signature knife, paring knife and cookbook? Shoot me an email at cheferic@morristapandgrill.com to place your order while supplies last. #fireitup

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We’re Open! Paragon Tap & Table

Paragon Tap and Table Now Open

We’re Open! Paragon Tap & Table

We’re open! Paragon Tap & Table features Chef Eric LeVine’s award winning creations paired with twenty artisan craft beers on tap. The Gastropub experience is enhanced by our friendly and knowledgeable staff, five large screen TVs in the bar area and a special private dining room. Come to Paragon Tap & Table, a relaxing spot to spend time with your friends.

Enjoy our creative Gastropub selections or step “outside-the-square” and try our signature Paragon Squared experience:
A changing prix fixe menu paired with wine or craft beer. The goal of Paragon Squared is to take you on a journey of seasonal, regional and outside the box cuisine.

We look forward to seeing you here!

Find us on Facebookand Follow us on Twitter

Website:http://www.paragonnj.com/

Directions:77 Central Ave. Clark, New Jersey 07o66

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How Do You Blue? Salemville Amish Cheeses’ Blue Cheese Recipe Contest!

How Do You Blue Contest

How Do You Blue? Salemville Amish Cheeses’ Blue Cheese Recipe Contest!

I know you love therecipesI’ve created for Salemville Blue Cheeses, now its your turn to be the chef! Enter your favorite recipe (according to the contest directions) and you could win a great prize – and your recipe could be featured on their website! Clickhereto enter your winning recipe and Fire it up!

 

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My $1 Million Dollar Marathon Journey

Chef Eric's Army

My $1 Million Dollar Marathon Journey

Ok kids….this gets real now….the goal is to raise $1 million dollars for Team Continuum, No Kid Hungry and The Community Food Bank of New Jersey! I hope to get all of your support on one or more! I have decided to run the NYC Marathon on November 2nd, 2014. I am training hard and you can follow my progress on the Pazoo website. If you would be so kind as to donate if you are able and to share the links below, you too can help others get food, shelter and basic necessitates. I will do my part- I will finish this marathon…so please help me pay it forward by supporting me in this run!

Pazoo.com:http://www.pazoo.com/chef-eric-levines-causes/

Thank You and Fire It Up!

 

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Tailgating Recipes: As Seen On Fox & Friends On Super Bowl Sunday

Small Bites Collage

Tailgating Recipes: As Seen On Fox & Friends On Super Bowl Sunday

Tune in to Fox & Friendson Super Bowl Sunday at 9:20 am EST as I prepare live, some Super Bowl tailgate dishes.

Representing the Denver Broncos: Mini Braised Short Rib Taco Bites! Click here for a printable recipe.

And for the Seattle Seahawks: Smoked Salmon Belly Pops with Cucumber Dipping Sauce! Click here for a printable recipe.

And to keep you going throughout the game: Apple Cherry Granola Bars! Click here for a printable recipe.

 

I hope you watch the show and try these recipes! Fire it Up!

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The New York City Wine & Food Festival

new-york-fw

The New York City Wine & Food Festival

My Sous Chefs and I had a blast at theABSOLUT Best Bloody Mary Brunch hosted by the Cast of Chopped. It was not only wonderful seeing the cast of Chopped again, it was also so cool to meet so many fans of the show. The best part though, is that all of these amazing people came together to raise money for No Kid Hungryand Food Bank for New York City.

Click here to see my album on Facebook.

Fire It Up!

 

 

 

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Falling for Fall Flavors

Anchor Lager Brined Pork Chop 2

Falling for Fall Flavors

The team at ChefEricLeVine.com is so excited about the launch of Chef Eric’s new book,Small Bites, Big Flavor: Simple, Savory and Sophisticated Recipes For Entertaining, debuting November 5th, but we are equally “Fired Up!” about the new fall menu at Morris Tap & Grill. We’ve been curing our own pastrami, bacon and pancetta and having fun smoking brisket, chorizo and corn to create hand-crafted dishes for the fall season. You should come in to taste our menu for yourself, but if you have any doubt, read this article by John Lee of Devil Gourmetabout his personal experience at the fall tasting.

http://devilgourmet.com/fall-in-love-with-the-fall-menu-at-morris-tap-and-grill/

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House-Made Pickles? Home-Cured and Smoked Bacon? Yep!

Meat Board

House-Made Pickles? Home-Cured and Smoked Bacon? Yep!

At Morris Tap and Grill, my team and I take such pride in presenting the best ingredients and putting our own twist on our dishes. We want every component of our plates to be special. So rather than buying ready made pickles and commercial bacon, this summer, we are making our own. We use our sweet and spicy Kirby pickles and pickled cherry peppers to accent our cured meat board which features chorizo, wild boar, applewood smoked salami and house cured prosciutto.

We are having a blast playing with our new smoker and the best part is our customers are loving it! First we lovingly cure the bacon and then we smoke it for 2 hours using Makers Mark soaked cherry wood chips. Holy Smokes is it good!(pun intended) But don’t take my word for it, come on in to MTG and try our house made deliciousness. We’ve even smoked our house cured pork belly to top our Cotswold Mac-n-Cheese. There is so much more to create in the coming season and we’re looking forward to sharing with you…Fire It Up!

I’ve put together the pickle recipes in small batches for you to try at home. Enjoy!

Quick-Pickled Cherry Peppers

Ingredients
12 cherry peppers, washed well
2 cups white vinegar
cup sugar
2 cloves garlic, cut into thirds
1 teaspoon salt
5 peppercorns

Method
1. With the tip of a knife, poke a few holes around the tops of the peppers. Place peppers and remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until the peppers are slightly softened.
3. Cool for approximately 30 minutes.
4. Transfer peppers and brine to storage container and refrigerate.
5. Eat peppers once they’ve cooled or store for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Pickled Kirby Cucumbers

Ingredients
8-10 small pickling cucumbers, Kirby preferred
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pickling spice
2 cups water
2 tablespoons pickling salt
4 heads fresh dill
4 small cloves garlic

Method
1. Cut a thin slice from the ends of each cucumber
2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Place pickles in container
4. Pour picking juice over pickles and cool.

 

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Burrata with Arugula Pesto and Marinated Heirloom Tomato

Burrata

Burrata with Arugula Pesto and Marinated Heirloom Tomato

Summer is in full swing and to me that means highlighting the best tomatoes. Is there a better way than with fresh herbs, great olive oil and hand crafted burrata? How do you achieve the Italian treat of a fresh mozzarella shell filled with a creamy ricotta-like mozzarella cheese? Well, I’ll tell you…

Hand-crafted Burrata

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. curd (recipe follows)
  • sea salt
  • 1 pint heavy cream

Preparation:

  1. Before getting started prepare a bowl of lightly salted cool water to drop your pouches of burrata into when they are finished.
  2. After making your curd (see recipe below) allow the curd to come to room temperature and cut it into 1 inch cubes.
  3. In a large pot, boil water and add a good amount of salt. Taste the water- it should taste like seawater. Turn the flame to very low or off and add the curd cubes.
  4. With your hands knead the curd so that it begins to come together.
  5. After a few turns remove about of the curd and begin stringing it apart.
  6. Add enough heavy cream to the frayed curd so that it resembles the consistency of ricotta and set aside.
  7. Continue kneading the remaining curd till soft and malleable.
  8. Pinch off 3 inch balls from the curd, and while still hot spread it into a thin disc. If it cools too much and looses its pliability dunk in into the warm water.
  9. Scoop heavy cream-cheese filling into the curd you have spread thin and immediately close all the ends to resemble a little pouch.

Arugula Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (packed) arugula leaves
  • cup pine nuts, toasted
  • cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup olive oil
  • 3 ea Garlic cloves
  • Salt and Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Blend arugula, pine nuts Garlic and Parmesan cheese in processor until almost smooth.
  2. Slowly add olive oil; process until well blended.
  3. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 lbs. mixed firm-ripe heirloom or other tomatoes
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and cracked black pepper

Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and oil.
  2. Rinse and core tomatoes, slice 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick.
  3. Drizzle vinegar mixture and sprinkle mint, basil, salt, and pepper evenly over tomatoes.

Fresh Mozzarella Curd

What you will need:

  • 1 gallon whole milk (just be sure that it is not Ultra-pasteurized, any other kind will work, store bought, fresh from the cow)
  • 1 tsp. citric acid
  • 1/4 rennet tablet
  • 2 tsp. cheese salt
  • A big pot
  • Thermometer
  • Slotted spoon

Preparation:

  1. Place milk in large pot with thermometer.
  2. Sprinkle 1 tsp. citric acid over milk and stir.
  3. Turn heat on med-low and heat milk to 90 degrees, stirring occasionally.
  4. While you are heating the milk, dissolve 1/4 rennet tablet in 1/4 C. cool water.
  5. When milk has reached 90 degrees, turn off heat. Pour rennet over slotted spoon into milk and stir for 20-30 seconds.
  6. Remove thermometer and let milk sit undisturbed for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Milk should be like a thick gelatin. Cut the curd into a grid pattern and remove from whey with a slotted spoon.

 

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Alessi Autentico

Add Alessi Sea Salt

Alessi Autentico

So, you may have noticed their products on the shelves at your local market and well, guess what? I have partnered with them and I am proud to have been welcomed into their family! Alessi, a family owned and operated company located in Tampa Florida, has not only sponsored my new cookbook(coming out November 5th) but they also invited me to help them launch their new test kitchen, La Cucina!
When I arrived in Tampa, I met Alessandra Alessi, the daughter of co-owner Fred Alessi. She was full of energy and had a smile a mile wide. As Alessandra walked myself and Christy Hamilton (ofFire It Up, PR)through the factory,I was impressed with how big their operation was and I was blown away by the organization, forward thinking, and sanitation of Alessi’s facility. I have seen many factories and food production companies in my day, but I have never seen anything like this. Alessi’sdedication to four generations of family workers is bar none. We were welcomed into”the family” and we knew we were about to become a part of something very unique and special. Everyone who works at Alessi, is part of the family.
We went back to the kitchen and began sortingeverythingout for the grand opening of La Cucina. I was given a prep crew of students from a local culinary school who were almost as excited to be there as I was.
The event was a VIP affair, the guests were family, friends and media and I created these dishes to showcase Alessi’s authentic Italian products:
Clickhereto see me making this dish on Bay News 9!
Farfalle Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Toasted Pignoli Nuts, Artichokes, Pesto and Princess Sauce
Grilled Garlic Duck with Tapenade and Caper Berry on a Mini Paddle
Grilled Shrimp Mousse Mini Cannoli
Coconut Rice Pudding with Honey Balsamic Reduction
Fudge Truffles Rolled in Powdered Sugar

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Odyssey Dining Cruises

Odyssey Eric and Tony

Odyssey Dining Cruises

CDDG received a nice accolade from Jim Evans of Entertainment Cruises after our consultation with them last month.

When we began planning a new food station menu for our Odyssey dining cruises, we knew it was important to bring in fresh ideas from outside the organization. We were attracted to Chef Erics creativity and willingness to push us outside our comfort zone. His experience as an accomplished catering chef gave our organization the confidence that he understands the production and logistical challenges that come with large-scale events. Chef Eric collaborated with our executive chefs to create an innovative new menu that our customers love. –Jim Evans, SVP Sales & Marketing Entertainment Cruises

Thank you, Jim!
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CDDG Has Partnered with Entertainment Cruises

In Chicago

CDDG Has Partnered with Entertainment Cruises

Entertainment Cruises

Chef Eric and photographer Tony Calarco have joined creative forces to form the Culinary Development and Design Group, specializing in food photography, menu development and consulting. The CDDG team has partnered with Entertainment Cruises in Chicago to develop menus, interactive stations and marketing materials for the cruise line. Here’s a clip from their spot on Windy City Live showcasing our work.

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Its all about the bacon…..so much about the bacon!!!!

Its all about the bacon…..so much about the bacon!!!!

Types of bacon can be found all over the world.

Some say that bacon is as American as apple pie. Except apple pie was baked and eaten long before the colonialists came to the Americas. Similarly, bacon is not native to America. Many countries and cultures have their own types of bacon.

The bacon that eaten here in the United States is referred to in other countries as “streaky bacon”. This is from the fatty streaks that run through each strip. The difference between the bacon primarily has to do with the kind of cut, the way it is seasoned, as well as the way it is presented (sliced, rolled, diced, etc.).

There is so much to learn about this seductive American obsession.

Instead of sticking to an old favorite, why not expand your palette by trying out different types of bacon.

Italian Bacon
While American bacon is cut from pork belly, most types of bacon found in other countries comes from the pork loin and is a much leaner cut. Italian bacon is the exception.

More commonly known as pancetta (pan-SHEH-ta), Italian bacon is cured pork belly that is sliced and rolled in a spiral shape.

You can find it in a slab (uncut) form or can can purchase pre-sliced pancetta. It is typically seasoned with nutmeg, fennel, and pepper.

Pancetta is a great way to add some extra flavor to Italian dishes. Sometimes I’ll fry a few slices in the skillet, crumble them up, and add it to some Chicken Fettucini Alfrado. What makes it such a appealing substitue to American bacon is that, unlike American bacon, pancetta is not smoked.

Irish Bacon
Irish bacon is not cut from the pork belly but from the back. It a leaner type of bacon. It is cured and sliced into “rashers” (the term for individual slices).

It is very similar to Canadian bacon with one main difference. Irish bacon comes with a layer of fat still attached. It is commonly boiled and served with cabbage and potatoes. I have to admit that I’ve never had Irish bacon before, but it is on my “to do” list. And it should be on yours as well.

Because it is not as common as other types of bacon, you may have a hard time purchasing it. If you would like to purchase your own to have with a traditional Irish breakfast, you can find it here.

Canadian Bacon
In the United States, Canadian bacon is somewhat different than what is found in other countries. Across the U.S., Canadian bacon is simply a stack of round slices of smoked ham. However, this is not so in Canada.

Like Irish bacon, Canadian baconn is cured pork loin (back bacon). It is distinguished from bacon cut from pork belly. As mentioned above, Canadian bacon is much leaner and the fat and rind is removed.

Peameal Bacon
If you have done any reading on bacon, you are certain to have come across the term “peameal bacon”. At first glance, you will wonder what it is (I know I did). Peameal bacon is a popular type in Canada, but what is it? Simple enough, it is Canadian bacon that is covered in a layer of cornmeal.

Years ago, Canadian bacon was rolled in grilled, yellow peas. This was done to help the curing process as well as act as a preservative warding off bacteria. Today it is more common to roll Canadian bacon in cornmeal.

Uncured bacon
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, bacon that is not cured using a chemical process of sodium nitrates or nitrites cannot be labeled as cured. Curing is the process of preserving the meat and leeching out the moisture. Usually this is done by a mixture of salt, sugar, and sodium nitrates.
Because soddium nitrates are believed by many to be harmful, some leave them out and depend on the salt itself for the curing process. Most manufacturers will use the sodium nitrates naturally found in celery juice by using celery juice in the curing process. Uncured bacon is also known as nitrate free bacon and organic bacon.

Unless it says “nitrate free” or “uncured” on the label, it will have sodium nitrates. If you are looking for some uncured, nitrate free, bacon, you can find it here.

BACON GLOSSARY

Pancetta
Pancetta is an Italian-style bacon that is cured with salt, peppercorns and cloves. Traditionally, pancetta is not smoked. Usually, pancetta is packaged in a roll–like a sausage–and is sold to order by the slice.

Irish Bacon
This smoke-cured bacon takes on the appearance of a boneless pork loin roast. Irish bacon is lean meat obtained from the “eye” part of a piece of pork loin. This bacon can be sliced to any thickness desired.

Canadian Bacon
Similar to Irish bacon, Canadian bacon is also obtained from the pork loin. It contains less fat and calories than American-style bacon. This bacon is also sometimes referred to as “back bacon” because the meat for the bacon comes from the back of the pig.

American-Style Bacon
Virginia bacon is one of the most common types of American-style bacon. This type of bacon comes from the stomach of the pig. American-style bacon is cured in salt and then smoked; before slicing, the rind is taken off.

Slab Bacon
Slab bacon is a large, single piece of bacon with the rind left on. This type of bacon receives additional flavor when it’s smoked over roasted corncobs.

Peppered Bacon
The name of this bacon says it all: The bacon receives a spicy coating of coarsely ground black pepper.

Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon
Smoke from burning pieces of apple wood is the key to curing this bacon and infusing it with a slightly sweet, rich flavor.


Homemade Bacon
3 pounds slab pork belly
cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
teaspoons pink salt (sodium nitrite), optional
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
teaspoon ground black pepper
teaspoon red pepper flakes
teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 bay leaves, crumbled

1. Combine the sugar and salts in a bowl to make a dry cure. Rub it into all sides of the meat. Combine the herbs and spices in another bowl, and then press them into the pork belly as well.

2. Place the pork belly in a large Ziploc bag, and leave it in the fridge for about seven to 10 days, or until it is convenient to smoke it. Turn it about every other day and rub the salt and seasonings into the flesh.

3. After the time period has passed, rinse the dry cure off of the pork belly and pat it dry with paper towels. Smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees.

4. Allow the bacon to cool to room temperature, and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Green Chile Chicken Sausages
3 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 1/2 pounds pork belly, diced into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
3/4 cup chopped, roasted mild green chiles like Poblano or Hatch
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup olive oil
10 feet hog casings (optional)

1. Combine the chicken, pork belly, salt, pepper, garlic, cilantro, and chiles. Refrigerate until ready to grind.

2. Using a meat grinder, thoroughly grind the mixture into a bowl.

3. With a sturdy wooden spoon, mix the ground meat until it is uniform in appearance. Add the tequila and oil and mix to distribute it evenly.

4. Form the sausage into patties or stuff it into casings and twist into 8-inch links. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to cook.

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Fish, Seafood and Sustainable Information

Fish, Seafood and Sustainable Information

CHOOSING SUSTAINABLE
Sustainable seafood is a hot topic these days. Sustainability is based on a simple principle – meeting todays needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; for example, using a resource but leaving some for the future. In terms of seafood, this means catching or farming seafood responsibly, with consideration for the long-term health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend upon the environment. For example, U.S. seafood is wild-caught and farm-raised under strict regulations that work to keep the environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job.

Choosing sustainable seafood be challenging – how do you know the seafood at the market or on your menu came from sustainable sources? Read on to learn more about the seafood guides and ecolabels that have recently emerged to assist people with purchasing sustainable seafood, as well as a few general tips for making smart seafood choices.

TO EAT OR NOT TO EAT
A number of organizations have created seafood guides to assist consumers and buyers with their sustainable seafood choices. Seafood guides rate seafood, typically based on environmental and biological criteria of species, fisheries, or aquaculture practices. Some guides include health concerns regarding mercury or other contaminants. The ratings found in these guides generally reflect an organizations policy stance regarding these issues, and as a result, the guides sometimes contradict each other. They also vary in their structure and how they categorize seafood. For example, one guide might rate yellowfin tuna as a whole while another might break it down by country of origin and fishing method.

CERTIFIABLY SUSTAINABLE
While shopping for seafood, you might also notice that some seafood is displayed with an ecolabel . An ecolabel is a seal of approval awarded to fisheries and aquaculture operations deemed sustainable and responsible by third-party certification bodies. The certification process typically involves an in-depth assessment of the operation of the fishery or farm, how its regulated, and its impact on the environment. If the fishery or farm meets the ecolabels standards, it is certified. Another key element of ecolabels is chain of custody: the measures that guarantee the product bearing the ecolabel really came from the certified fishery or farm. Without chain of custody, the credibility of the label could be undermined.
Ecolabels are intended to function as a market-based incentive to promote more environmentally-friendly fisheries and aquaculture operations. As concerned consumers shift their demand to certified products, market prices for these products will increase, encouraging fisheries and aquaculture operations to adopt more sustainable and responsible practices. However, the certification process can require a large investment of time and money – resources that some fisheries and aquaculture operations cannot afford.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
With all of the information, guides, and labels out there, shopping for seafood can seem a bit daunting, but it doesnt have to be.
Stay informed and make sure youre using the most up-to-date, credible resources.
Just like when choosing quality seafood, buy seafood from knowledgeable, reputable dealers. Many retailers and chefs are implementing seafood procurement policies, making purchasing seafood from sustainable sources a priority.

Ask questions about seafood. Where is it from? Is it wild-caught or farm-raised?
Most of all, remember you have a choice – make it a smart one.

BUYING SEAFOOD
Step up to the seafood counter or frozen fish case and youll see an enticing display of one type of seafood after another. How do you choose? How do you know if its safe, high-quality, or even sustainable? Read on to find out how we inspect seafood for safety in the United States, and learn how to choose quality, sustainable seafood.

INSPECTING SEAFOOD
Many state and federal agencies including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Commerce work together to ensure that the seafood we buy is safe and wholesome. Seafood, just like milk, bread, and produce, are subject to the requirements of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, administered by the FDA. Under the FDAs mandatory fish inspection program as well as voluntary quality inspection programs, the vast majority of seafood in the marketplace is safe to eat. LEARN MORE about how seafood is inspected in the United States to ensure its safe and high quality.

CHOOSING QUALITY
Its pretty simple to choose quality, fresh seafood. Just use your senses – smell, sight, touchand even common sense! First and foremost, buy seafood from knowledgeable, reputable dealers: those you trust with a known record of proper handling practices. Our seafood inspectors often say the nose knows – if a seafood counter or freezer case smells fishy, go somewhere else. Fresh, quality seafood should smell like the ocean, not sour or fishy.
Keep an eye out for general cleanliness and proper handling, too. Seafood should be properly iced and refrigerated or frozen. Also, go ahead and plan your menu for seafood, but wait until you are at the market before deciding the exact type of fish to buy. Here you will be able to select the highest quality items at the counter or in the freezer case. Once youve found a good source for your seafood, LEARN MORE guidelines about shopping for fresh and frozen seafood to ensure you are purchasing the best product possible.
CHOOSING SUSTAINABLE

Sustainable seafood is a hot topic these days. Sustainability is based on a simple principle – meeting todays needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs; for example, using a resource but leaving some for the future. In terms of seafood, this means catching or farming seafood responsibly, with consideration for the long-term health of the environment and the livelihoods of the people that depend upon the environment. For example, U.S. seafood is wild-caught and farm-raised under strict regulations that work to keep the environment healthy, fish populations thriving, and our seafood industry on the job.

Choosing sustainable seafood can be challenging – how do you know the seafood at the market or on your menu came from sustainable sources? LEARN MORE about the seafood guides and ecolabels that have recently emerged to assist people with purchasing sustainable seafood, as well as a few general tips for making smart seafood choices

HANDLING SEAFOOD
Many people shy away from eating seafood at home because theyre unsure how to properly handle it. Seafood is more perishable than many food items, so you must pay a little more attention to its careful handling. But dont let that scare you away from a delicious, nutritious meal – as recommended by Delaware Sea Grants Consumer’s Guide to Safe Seafood Handling , just remember to keep it cold, keep it moving, and keep it clean. Follow these general guidelines to maintain the quality and safety of your seafood.

KEEP IT COLD
from the store to your home, in your refrigerator or freezer, and even when thawing for use.
Purchase seafood last during your shopping trip, and bring a cooler to transport it home. If youve caught your own fish, bury them on ice immediately or use an ice slush with 2 parts ice to 1 part water to keep your catch cold.

When you bring seafood home, store it in the coldest part of your refrigerator at a temperature as close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. Many home refrigerators operate at 40 degree Fahrenheit, so its a good idea to put your seafood on ice as well.
To store fresh finfish, pack whole dressed fish on ice in the refrigerator. Seal fillets and steaks in plastic bags or containers, then cover them with ice in a pan. Wash fish that is not prepackaged under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels. Wrap it in moisture-proof paper or plastic wrap or place it in a plastic bag or air-tight container, then place on ice in the refrigerator. Drain the pan and add more ice as necessary. To freeze fresh finfish, wrap it tightly in moisture-proof bags or in plastic wrap and aluminum foil (so the fish wont dry out) and store it in the freezer.
Shellfish, such as mussels, clams, and oysters, that are purchased live in their shells, should be placed in a dry shallow pan, covered with moistened paper towels, and refrigerated. Shucked shellfish can be placed in a sealed container and frozen.

Store fresh shrimp, scallops, and squid in a zippered bag or airtight container and refrigerate on ice.
Frozen seafood should be kept frozen, and its a good idea to date packages of frozen seafood so you can use the older seafood first. Frozen seafood must be thawed properly. Its best to thaw frozen seafood in the refrigerator overnight. If youre in a rush, you can also immerse frozen seafood in cold water for a short time in a sealed plastic bag, or microwave it on a defrost setting until the fish is pliable but still icy. Be careful not to overheat the seafood while thawing in the microwave or you will start the cooking process.
KEEP IT MOVING
use fresh fish within 2 days after purchase. Shelf life varies with the species, from as long as 10 days for oysters in the shell to 1 day for fresh squid. See the National Fisheries Institutes Seafood Storage Guide for information on the shelf life of a variety of fresh and frozen seafood.
KEEP IT CLEAN
your hands, your work area, your utensils! Also, keep raw seafood away from other raw or cooked foods to prevent cross-contamination. Use cutting boards that are easy to clean – plastic, acrylic, or rubber. Do not use wooden cutting boards for seafood because they are porous and difficult to clean thoroughly. Finally, serve your cooked seafood on clean plates, not on the plate that held the raw product.
KEEP INFORMED

A number of excellent resources can provide more in-depth information on properly handling seafood. Some of our favorites include:
NOAAs Seafood Inspection Program Consumer Tips
Delaware Sea Grants Consumer’s Guide to Safe Seafood Handling
Seafoodhealthfacts.org
National Fisheries Institutes Seafood Storage Guide
California Sea Grants Seafood Network Information Center
Thanks to the NOAA for the information to share.

LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE
Ingredients:

1 pound Fussili Pasta
8 ounces of mascarpone
4 ounces of creamy goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of white pepper
2 ounces of heavy cream

Set out all ingredients at room temperature 1 hour before preparing. Bring 2 gallons of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Strain and return to pot. Keep warm. Stir in mascarpone, goat cheese, and heavy cream. Add seasonings. Do not over stir or mix. Cover and keep warm.

Butter Poached Lobster
Ingredients:

1-1/2 pounds of fresh cooked American lobster meat (claw and knuckle or combination of claw, knuckle, and tail)
1 pound of salted butter
1 tablespoon of water

Cut butter into 1 inch chunks. Hold at room temperature up to one hour. Bring 1 tablespoon of water to a boil in heavy deep saut pan. Reduce heat to low. Add butter one or two chunks at a time, whisking to create an emulsion. Once this emulsifies, all the butter may be added. Turn heat to low. If using claw or knuckle meat, add meat to pan. Do not chop or cut. If using tail meat, cut tails into one inch medallions. Gently incorporate into butter. Cover and hold at low heat.

To serve

Spoon 4-6 ounces of mac and cheese into center of a pasta bowl or plate. Arrange 3 ounces of lobster meat on top and on side of the mac and cheese. Use equal amounts of claw, knuckle and tail meat. Ladle 1-2 ounces of butter sauce over the meat. Serves 8. ENJOY!

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Wines of the Week

Wines of the Week


Chteau Dereszla Dry Tokaji, Hungary 2011
Anyone who has tried the zesty marmalade-and-toffee richness of this Hungarian region’s incomparable sweet wines will know that Tokaji is capable of making great wines. Its dry (well, off-dry in this case) whites are less known, but this is well worth seeking out. Made from the furmint grape, it’s rich and round in texture and has the juicy, sweet flavours of a so-ripe-it’s-dripping pear.

De Martino Viejas Tinajas Cinsault, Itata Valley, Chile 2011
De Martino is one of Chile’s more adventurous producers, but this wine is novel even for them. It takes an unfashionable grape variety (cinsault) grown in a lesser-known southern Chilean region (Itata) and ages it in clay amphorae, rather than oak barrels. The results are delicious: a spicy, supple red with a herbal twist that is an ideal match for bangers and mash.

Black Cottage Pinot Ros, Marlborough New Zealand 2011
Like many New Zealanders, Black Cottage winemaker David Coulston seems to be a well-travelled sort of guy, having made wine in Corsica and southern France before setting up back home. The Mediterranean influence is certainly very much apparent in this ros, which has the pale colour, delicate raspberry fruit and fish-friendly freshness of a Provenal pink.

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My Cups Cake War

My Cups Cake War

My CupcakeWar

While I am not a pastry Chef, I do enjoy playing with all types of pastries. I believe in having fun and playing in all food mediums.

These cupcakes are just a few styles that we are doing, though we are working on more flavors.

Enjoy!

 

Fire it up!
Chef Eric

Red Velvet Cupccake

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa (powdered)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter at room temperature
5 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (see note at bottom)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon beet juice

Directions

Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
Sift dry ingredients three times.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, making sure to beat well after each egg.
Add 1/4 of dry ingredients to creamed mixture then approximately 1/4 of buttermilk alternating until mixed well. Mix in vanilla and beet juice.

Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full of red velvet batter.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes in pans for 5 to 10 minutes then remove from pans.

Cool completely on wire racks before frosting.

NOTE: If you dont happen to have buttermilk on hand you can try this simple substitution. Place one tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in an empty one cup measuring cup. Fill with milk to 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes then use in any cake recipe that calls for buttermilk


Here is a basic Cupcake Recipe

Basic Cupcake Recipe
Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Add shortening, milk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed.

Scrape side of bowl with a spatula.
Add eggs to the mixture. Beat for 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape bowl again. Beat on high speed for 1 minute 30 seconds until well mixed.

Spoon cupcake batter into paper liners until 1/2 to 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes in pans then remove and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost with your favorite frosting recipe or decorate as you desire.

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Summer Fruits and Vegetables, Shopping the Farmers Market

Summer Fruits and Vegetables, Shopping the Farmers Market

Look for these summer fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and in produce departments for the best flavor (and greatest value) in season. Specific crops and harvest dates will depend on your region’s climate-see Seasons by Region and Seasons by State for more details.
For more fruits and vegetables, see this Year-round Seasonality Guide. Or, jump right to 10 Sweet Summer Fruits or 10 Great Summer Vegetables to get your mouth watering.

Shopping at farmers markets is the easiest way to eat locally. You know where the food comes from: After all, the grower is right there and you can ask them. More than one shopper, however, has come home with bags of produce that went uneaten. And many others have left after a morning’s tour around the stalls only to go home with a bunch of carrots and a dazed expression. A bit of planning can keep weekly shopping for produce at a farmers market fun and make cooking a snap all week long.

1. Know Your Seasons
If you know a bit of what to expect when you get to the farmers market, making decisions at each stall is much easier. Learn what grows in your area when and talk to the growers about what will be coming to market in upcoming weeks.

2. Go Early or Go Late
For the best selection, go to the farmers market early. The best goods go first. Popular-but-limited items may even sell out before the day is done. Its as simple as that.

For the best deals, go to the farmers market late. Farmers and other vendors often prefer to discount products instead of loading them back up and schlepping them home. Farmers raise this food for a living, however, so don’t expect or ask for deep discounts. Importantly, some markets have rules against end-of-the-day discounts.

3. Bring Big Bags & Small Change
Some farmers market vendors offer bags, but they tend to be thin and flimsy plastic ones that groan under the pressure of any substantial produce purchase. Make sure everything gets home from the farmers market without crashing onto the sidewalk or spilling onto the floor of your car by bringing your own sturdy canvas or nylon bags. A backpack can make the hauling easier, especially for weighty or bulky items.

Although vendors will make change, purchases will go easier and faster if you have exact (or close to exact) change. At some farmers markets “small change” means dimes and nickels. In larger urban areas many products at farmers markets are sold in dollar or fifty-cent increments.

4. Sketch Meals Ahead of Time
Since you know what you’re likely to find at the farmers market, you can do a bit of meal planning and shop accordingly. For example, if local asparagus has just come into season and you can’t get enough, you know you’ll want to eat some Roasted Asparagus, some cooked into a Asparagus Chickpea Soup, and some sliced raw in an Asparagus Butter Lettuce Salad. So you’ll know both how many bunches of asparagus to buy and that you’ll also need some spring onions or herbs to add to the soup and some salad greens.

5. Plan For Spontaneity
Yes, youll fare better if you plan your trip to the farmers market. However, you need to leave a bit of wiggle room for those strawberries you didn’t know would be at market so early, or the zucchini blossoms you’ve never tried before. Trying new things is part of the fun of going to farmers markets.

6. Work In Volume
The best deals at the farmers market are had when you buy in bulk. You’ll enjoy the best flavors and the best prices when you buy lots of whatever is at its harvest peak. How to use it all up? Try new recipes with favorite vegetables or learn the lost art of preserving food. Freezing, canning, and drying are just some of the ways you can save seasonal tastes you find at the farmers market for later in the year.

7. Think “Whole Foods”
No, not that Whole Foods think in terms of how food grows and comes to the farmers market without being processed first. Carrots come whole and unpeeled. Beets still have greens (and dirt) attached. Learning to handle just-harvested produce can take some getting used to, but the superior flavor is worth the adjustment.

8. Get Advice
If you find a vegetable thats new to you at the farmers market and want to give it a try, ask the farmer how to prepare it. For the best tips specifically ask how they like to eat it.

9. Keep It Simple
Youre buying ultra-fresh produce when you shop at the farmers market, so let its natural flavor show when you cook it. Keep preparations simple. Youll make cooking easier and youll be likely to try (and eat) even more local foods from the farmers market next week.

Apples come into season mid- to late-summer and are harvested into fall in most apple-growing regions. Look for different varieties from growers near you.

Apricots are harvested starting in late spring in warmer areas and through early summer. The most flavorful apricots don’t travel or keep well, so look for them at farmers markets.

Avocados have a season that defies logic – they are fickle depending on their exact location. Most, however, are in season over the summer. Ripen hard avocados on the counter or speed things up by keeping them in a paper bag.

Basil grows alongside tomatoes very well (in the garden and on the plate). Look for unblemished, leafy branches without flowers or buds (the herb gets a slight bitter aftertaste after it flowers – which is part of the reason growers pinch off the buds before they can flower).

Bell Peppers/Sweet Peppers should have smooth, shiny skins (whether they are green, red, orange, yellow, or purple) and feel heavy for their size.

Beets are often sold with their green still attached when they are freshly harvested – giving you a two-for-one. Cook the greens as you would chard or other cooking greens.

Blackberries should be shiny and plump. Avoid any berries with mushy or moldy berries – these damages rot and spread fast. Rinse berries only just before eating or using them, never in advance, since they will become soggy and rot faster.

Blueberries are the only berries that have a dull, matte finish to them when ripe.

Boysenberries, like all berries, should be plump and shiny when you buy them.

Cantaloupes that feel heavy for their size and that smell like melons are the ones to buy.

Carrots are harvested year-round in temperate areas. Unusual varieties are harvested during the carrot’s natural season, which is late summer and fall. True baby carrots – not the milled down versions of regular carrots sold as “baby carrots” in bags at grocery stores – are available in the spring and early summer.

Chard grows year-round in temperate areas, is best harvested in late summer or early fall in colder areas, and fall through spring in warmer regions. Like all cooking greens, chard turns bitter when it gets too hot.

Cherries are ready to harvest at the end of spring in warmer areas. Sweet cherries, including the popular Bing and Rainier varieties, are available from May to August. Sour cherries have a much shorter season, and can be found for a week or two, usually during the middle of June in warmer areas and as late as July and August in colder regions.

Chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) are sometimes available fresh at farmers markets in warmer climates. Look for small pale green pods still attached to twisted, twirling vines.

Chiles (fresh) (a.k.a. hot peppers or hot chilies) need heat to ripen and get hot – look for them at the end of summer and into early fall.

Cilantro, like most leafy green plants, bolts (flowers) and turns bitter when it gets hot enough, so it hot climates it is in season all year except summer, everywhere else summer is the time to look for it.

Corn is best the minute it is picked from the stalk, so it is a food to look for from local growers for sure. You want tightly closed, fresh-looking husks, fresh-looking tassels, and fresh-cut stem ends. Know that organically grown corn is very likely to have a worm or two in any batch – simply pick it out, the rest of the corn is fine to eat.

Cucumbers are known for being cool – as much as 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. Lucky for us that they come into season in most areas just as the summer heat kicks in.

Eggplant should have shiny, tight, smooth skin and feel heavy for its size.

Fennel bolts is hot weather, but is in season in cooler climates in the summer (look for it fall through spring in temperate and warmers areas).

Figs have two seasons, but the main one is during mid- to late-summer (a second, shorter season comes in November in warm climates.

Garlic is another produce item that we forget has a season; fresh garlic is at its plump, sweetest best in late summer and fall.

Gooseberries are more often foraged than bought. These tart, green berries should be plump and fresh-looking.

Grapes ripen towards the end of summer where they grow best; the harvest continues into fall.

Green beans tend to be sweetest and most tender during their natural season, from mid-summer into fall in most regions.

Green onions should have fresh, green tops and firm, slime-free white bottoms (fresh-looking, pale roots still attached to the whites are a good sign, too).

Herbs of all sorts grow through the summer – from basil to rosemary. Always looks for vibrant leaves and fresh-looking stems.

Huckleberries are a true treat of summer in areas lucky enough to have them (Pacific Northwest, are your ears burning?). Look for plump, purple berries.

Lemongrass has a heavenly lemon-esque aroma that includes a whiff of ginger and the heady scent of tropical flowers. While it can be delicious with most anything, lemongrass is particularly delicious with chicken and seafood. Think of it as perfume for your food.

Lettuce is in season in cooler climates (and out of season in warmer ones).

Limes are the only citrus at their best in summer. Look for small, heavy-for-their-size fruits.

Mangoes need tropical heat to ripen and come into their sweet best in late spring and summer in Florida and Hawaii.

Marionberries are a type of blackberry. Look for plump, shiny berries with a deep purple hue.

Melons should always feel heavy for their size; most should have a bit of a sweet melon smell, too.

Nectarines are, essentially, fuzz-less peaches. They should feel heavy for their size and give just a bit when held firmly.

New Potatoes are small, freshly harvested potatoes with paper-thin skins. They are delicious simply boiled and buttered or used in potato salads.

Okra needs heat to grow, so a nice long, hot summer in warmer climates brings out its best. Look for firm, plump pods.

Onions come from storage all year round but most onions are harvested in late summer through the fall.

Peaches are one of the highlights of summer eating. Look for fruits that feel heavy for their size and that give just a bit when pushed. Avoid fruits that have green near the stem.

Peas come into season in the spring and continue in most areas well into summer.

Peppers – both sweet and spicy – are harvested in late summer and early fall.

Plums & pluots should feel heavy for their size and have a lovely, perfumed and sweet smell.

Potatoes starts being harvested n summer in many climates.

Radicchio s sweeter when t doesn’t get too hot. Radicchio comes into season in summer in cooler climates. Look for somewhat firm heads, a fresh-cut end, and bright white ribs on the pretty purple leaves.

Radishes should have bright, fresh greens attached (that tells you they are freshly harvested).

Ramps are foraged in the spring and early summer and sometimes available at farmers markets and specialty stores.

Raspberries are the most delicate of all berries. Look for plump berries and never buy a carton (or flat) with smashed, rotting, or moldy berries – that damage spreads incredibly fast.

Rhubarb is the first fruit of spring in many areas but stays in season into summer n most areas – look for heavy stalks with shiny skin.

Shallots are milder, sweeter, and less bitter than their onion and garlic cousinsperfect for salad dressings.

Shelling beans are those beans that can become dried beans but are briefly available fresh, as shelling beans, in mid-summer to early fall depending on your climate.

Spinach, indeed, has a season. It varies with your climate – year-round in temperate areas, summer and fall in cooler areas, fall through spring in warmers regions.

Spring Onions are available in early summer in some areas.

Strawberries are mostly grown in California or Florida, where the strawberry growing season runs from January through November. Peak season is April through June. Other areas of the country have shorter growing seasons that range from five-months to as short as a few weeks in the coldest areas where you’ll find local specimens at market in July.

Sweet Onions have slightly different seasons depending on type and region, but in general they are available in spring and summer.

Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with a light green papery husk.

Tomatoes may be the single number-one draw to farmers markets and local eating. Try to sample tomatoes before you buy them – even beautiful, heavy, unblemished specimens can lack the flavor you want.

Watermelons should feel heavy for their size. Unlike other melons, watermelons don’t tend to emit a smell even when they’re ripe and ready to eat.

Zucchini & Other Summer Squash have a harvest season from summer into fall in most climates.

Zucchini Blossoms are increasingly sold at farmers markets and specialty stores. Look for fresh blossoms (no brown ends or tips) and use them quickly

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The Bacon Bash

The Bacon Bash

Its all about the bacon! Everything is better with Bacon! In the words of Vince from Pulp fiction….”Bacon is good” and it is.

At my restaurant, Morris Tap and Grill we offer a weekly special menu using bacon, here’s a sample of the TASTE of BACON Menu;

Taste the Bacon

Buffalo Chicken and Bacon Dip 9
Served with Tortilla Crisps

Stuffed Bacon and Pork Meatball 23
A Blend of Ground Beef and Pork Meatball stuffed with Spinach,
Braised Slab Bacon, Fontina and Wild Mushroom sauce

Surf and Turf 24
Bacon Wrapped Garlic Shrimp and Flat Iron Steak
With Wild Mushroom Risotto

Bacon Dessert 7
Bacon and Caramel Mousse with White Chocolate

The love for bacon has been routed deep into our DNA I believe, or at least mine. I believe the saltiness and the texture really compliment EVERYTHING. Appetizers, Entrees and yes Desserts such as Brown Sugar Wrapped Caramel Marshmallow Dipped in Chocolate;

Or Brown Sugar Bacon and Chocolate Dipped Cheese Cake.

Bacon is so big….there is even a lardon truck.
http://www.baconbaconsf.com

Even T shirts

Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon (also known as green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months in cold air, boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon is typically cooked before eating. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but may be cooked further before eating.
Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It is usually made from side and back cuts of pork[citation needed], except in the United States, where it is almost always prepared from pork belly (typically referred to as “streaky”, “fatty”, or “American style” outside of the US and Canada). The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.
Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game, e.g. venison, pheasant. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning “buttock”, “ham” or “side of bacon”, and cognate with the Old French bacon.[1]
In continental Europe, this part of the pig is usually not smoked like bacon is in the United States; it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavor. In Italy, this is called pancetta and is usually cooked in small cubes or served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto.

The main cuts of bacon are:
Side bacon comes from pork belly. It is very fatty with long layers of fat running parallel to the rind. This is the most common form of bacon in the United States. Pancetta is Italian side bacon, smoked or aqua (unsmoked), with a strong flavor.

Middle bacon, from the side of the animal, is intermediate in cost, fat content, and flavor between streaky bacon and back bacon.

Back bacon (called Irish bacon/Rashers or Canadian bacon in the United States) comes from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. It is a very lean, meaty cut of bacon, with less fat compared to other cuts. It has a ham-like texture. Most bacon consumed in the United Kingdom is back bacon.
Cottage bacon is thinly sliced lean pork meat from a shoulder cut that is typically oval shaped and meaty. It is cured and then sliced into round pieces for baking or frying.

Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork.
Slab bacon typically has a medium to very high fraction of fat. It is made from the belly and side cuts, and from fatback

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Cigar basics and facts

Cigar basics and facts

How can you tell if a cigar is fresh?

Cigar wrappers that have a rich, oily sheen show that the cigar has been properly humidified and the leaf is very high quality. But even dull-looking wrappers can be of good quality. One great way to tell if a cigar is really fresh or not is by giving it “the pinch test.” Very lightly “pinch” the cigar between your thumb and forefinger. It should feel firm with a little spring to it, not hard. If it feels like a piece of dead wood or if it’s particularly soft and spongy in spots, don’t buy it.

How does ring gauge and length affect the taste of the cigar?

Although the ring gauge will significantly affect a cigar’s flavor and fullness, length doesn’t often have much to do with it. A longer cigar does tend to smoke a little “cooler.” But if you’re a ” hot” smoker and puff too much (a habit often carried over by cigarette smokers or the inexperienced), the cigar will smoke hotter at any length and it may even taste bitter, too. If you draw slowly on the cigar and allow it to rest about a minute between puffs, most any length will smoke cool and taste much better, particularly with a well-made cigar. So, slow down and cool it!

What’s the proper way to light a cigar?
You can use several different methods of fire to light it, but whatever you use, light the cigar gently, evenly and slowly. Don’t rush it! This is supposed to be a relaxing experience.

Hold the cigar horizontally.
“Warm” the cigar by holding the flame underneath the end in direct contact with the cigar. (FYI, the hottest part of the flame is the white tip, so be careful not to ignite the wrapper.)
Slowly rotate the cigar until the end is evenly charred over the entire surface.
Next, put the cigar in your mouth and hold the flame just close enough to the end without letting the flame touch it (about an 1/2″). Draw on the cigar slowly while rotating it until it is EVENLY lit. (Drawing too fast will oxidize the tobacco making it taste bitter.)
Gently blow on the glowing end to make sure it’s burning evenly and you’re done!
This entire process can take up to a minute, but the cigar will taste the way it’s supposed to taste and will help prevent an uneven burn. Remember, it’s better to take your time in the beginning and you will enjoy the cigar longer, too.

How much of the cigar tip should you clip?

First, be sure you have a good quality cutter with a very sharp blade/s. You only need to shave off from 1/16″ to about 1/8″ of an inch, no more. The idea is to try and keep the cap intact. If you clip most or all of the cap, as you smoke the cigar and the head becomes wetter, it will open wider and the cap will very likely peel off entirely. Some smokers don’t mind if this happens, but others find it sloppy.

The most frequently asked cigar questions
Monday, November 29 1999

To wrap or not to wrap?
(Should you keep cigars in their cello wrappers or take them off?)

That really is the question. So here’s the 411 on cellophane wrappers: Being the 100% natural product they are, ideally, cigars should not be kept wrapped in cellophane, although some may subscribe to the belief that it makes no difference. This is true if you smoke through your cigars quickly. Some brands do come boxed naked, but most cigars are packaged in cello wrappers mainly to protect the wrappers from damage and nothing more.

The rule of thumb is, if you have a good quality humidor that keeps the environment at a relative 65-70% humidity and about 63-68 degrees temperature, your cigars can be safely stored without the cello wrappers. This allows them to “breathe” and age properly. If you often take cigars out with you, leave the cello on, but it’s always good to store a few without the cello so they can mellow out. This is also a good way to “test” whether the unwrapped cigars taste better (but give them at least a month to six weeks before smoking). You can also try putting some of your “take-out” smokes in the humidor with the cello wrapper “open” at the end which will allow some air to circulate through them.

When storing your cigars without the wrappers, be sure you carefully remove the cello so you don’t tear the wrapper leaf and gently rotate your cigars to a different part of the humidor every few weeks, too.

How much of the cigar tip should you clip?

First, be sure you have a good quality cutter with a very sharp blade/s. You only need to shave off from 1/16″ to about 1/8″ of an inch, no more. The idea is to try and keep the cap intact. If you clip most or all of the cap, as you smoke the cigar and the head becomes wetter, it will open wider and the cap will very likely peel off entirely. Some smokers don’t mind if this happens, but others find it sloppy.

What’s the proper way to light a cigar?

You can use several different methods of fire to light it, but whatever you use, light the cigar gently, evenly and slowly. Don’t rush it! This is supposed to be a relaxing experience.

Hold the cigar horizontally.
“Warm” the cigar by holding the flame underneath the end in direct contact with the cigar. (FYI, the hottest part of the flame is the white tip, so be careful not to ignite the wrapper.)
Slowly rotate the cigar until the end is evenly charred over the entire surface.
Next, put the cigar in your mouth and hold the flame just close enough to the end without letting the flame touch it (about an 1/2″). Draw on the cigar slowly while rotating it until it is EVENLY lit. (Drawing too fast will oxidize the tobacco making it taste bitter.)
Gently blow on the glowing end to make sure it’s burning evenly and you’re done!
This entire process can take up to a minute, but the cigar will taste the way it’s supposed to taste and will help prevent an uneven burn. Remember, it’s better to take your time in the beginning and you will enjoy the cigar longer, too.

How does ring gauge and length affect the taste of the cigar?

Although the ring gauge will significantly affect a cigar’s flavor and fullness, length doesn’t often have much to do with it. A longer cigar does tend to smoke a little “cooler.” But if you’re a ” hot” smoker and puff too much (a habit often carried over by cigarette smokers or the inexperienced), the cigar will smoke hotter at any length and it may even taste bitter, too. If you draw slowly on the cigar and allow it to rest about a minute between puffs, most any length will smoke cool and taste much better, particularly with a well-made cigar. So, slow down and cool it!

How do you “revive” dry cigars kept in a cigar box?

If you keep your cigars in their boxes and they are beginning to dry out, here’s a really good way to revive them. Keep in mind that if cigars are very dry they will be difficult to revive satisfactorily. The key here is, if moisture can escape from a cigar, it can also be replaced. One of the simplest methods is to place the entire box inside a plastic bag. Be sure the bag is not completely closed because you have to have a little air flow in there. It helps to place a sponge dampened with distilled water or 50/50 solution in the bag, too. The idea here is to allow slow absorption of moisture, preventing the cigars from getting too much humidity too soon. If you shock the cigars by adding too much moisture at once they can actually burst – the last thing you want to do to pricey primos. This can take several weeks to over a month, so be patient. Rotate the cigars every few days bringing them from the bottom of the box to the top. Keep this up continuously and in about three to four weeks you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

If you don’t have a cigar box, you can use a sealable plastic container. Put the dry cigars in the container and seal it for the first two days. This will trap any moisture still left in the cigars. On the third day, add the piece of dampened sponge, but here again, you run the risk of bursting, so be sure not to over-saturate the sponge and to keep the lid propped open in one corner to allow air flow.

When cigars lose a certain amount of moisture, they also lose much of their bouquet and will probably not taste as good as a well-kept cigar. The key to all of this is (whether you’re reviving cigars in their original box or in a humidor) cigars lose moisture slowly, therefore, they need to regain it slowly. Once again, be patient and never resort to drastic measures to revive your cigars or you’ll ruin them permanently.

Why do some cigars unravel?

This is really a pretty common problem among all cigars except it should happen less with better premiums. Wrappers usually peel for two reasons: Either they were not properly wrapped at the factory in the first place, or the cigar has become dry. In the latter case, the wrapper may not have enough elasticity to cling to the binder. Be careful when you clip the cigar, too. If the wrapper is peeling at the head you can often repair it by just moistening it with your tongue. If the wrapper starts peeling from the lit end, or continues to do so even after you moisten it, you can trash it or remove the wrapper. But smoking a peeling wrapper can get pretty messy and since the wrapper contributes so much to the flavor of the cigar, smoking a cigar without it is not just unattractive, it’s just plain yucky.

How do you calibrate a hygrometer?

Most analog hygrometers are manufactured with a tolerance of +/- 4-5% (or more) of humidity within the range of 40-80%. Although humidity gauges are supposedly pre-set at the factory, it’s not unusual to find the calibration off once you get the unit home and placed in your humidor. If you want to see how accurate your hygrometer is, there is a simple, easy-to-do method you can use with items found right in your kitchen. All you need is some table salt, a sealed container (Tupperware” type or ZipLock” bag) and a plastic bottle cap.

1. Place a teaspoon of salt in the bottle cap and add a few drops of tap or distilled water to moisten it. Don’t overdo it. You don’t want to dissolve the salt. Add only enough water to dampen the salt. When water is added to common table salt, it will maintain an exact 75% humidity in a perfectly sealed environment.

2. Carefully place the salt and your hygrometer into the airtight container. (Try not to get any moistened salt on the gauge.) Check the unit to assure its current reading is somewhere in the 40% to 80% range.

3. Seal the container tightly but don’t try to remove any remaining air trapped inside. Now, wait for at least several hours until the environment has stabilized (this could take up to 6 hrs.). Do not open the container. Read the gauge’s humidity % level. It should be exactly 75%. If it is not, note the deviation as being the amount your hygrometer is out of calibration. If for example, it reads 65%, the gauge is 10% low. If it reads 80%, the gauge is 5% high.

4. Carefully remove the unit from the container/bag. Assuming your hygrometer has a calibrating screw on the back (most better ones do) take a very small flathead screwdriver and turn it slowly while watching the dial on the front. If your gauge was low by 10%, turn the screwdriver so the dial is set 10 percentage points higher than it was previously. Conversely, if your gauge was high by 5%, turn the screw in the opposite direction to set the dial 5 percentage points lower.

Your gauge should now be properly calibrated, which will help you maintain a healthier overall environment for your cigars. If the gauge does not appear to be moving, try blowing warm, moist air into the back of it. One other thing you can do, which is also another way to test the unit, is by wrapping the hygrometer in a warm, damp paper towel for about 30 minutes or until it reads about 80-90% +/- a few points.

How important is having a humidor, really?

Unless you are quickly collecting a lot of cigars or want to “home age” your cigars, it is not necessary to buy a humidor. For the short run, you can purchase a common sealable plastic food container and a Dry-Mistat” stick or similar humidifying device and place the cigars in there. If monitored properly, they will last almost indefinitely. But if you decide to go this route, keep a corner of the container opened a crack to allow air flow and prevent too much moisture from building up, which may cause mold. One drawback is your cigars may not have that distinctive cedar wood fragrance you get from a good quality humidor. But that can be remedied by taking a cedar “spacer” from a cigar box and adding it to the container, or lining the bottom of the container with a row of spacers.

Of course, there’s nothing like being the proud owner of a well-made, wooden humidor where your cigars can nestle in the climate-controlled comfort of its Spanish cedar lining, but it’s nice to know there is a low-budget alternative.

What are “box-pressed” cigars?

“Box-pressed” or “square-pressed” is when the cigars are literally “pressed” into the box so the box pressure creates a perfectly square shape. This was done originally to save shipping space and as a result, the process supposedly causes the cigars to burn longer, giving the smoker a more flavorful smoke. Good examples of box-pressed cigars include, Aspira, Don Tomas Dominican Selection, Padron Anniversary, Perdomo La Tradicin, and Sancho Panza, to name a few.

How can you tell if a cigar is fresh?

Cigar wrappers that have a rich, oily sheen show that the cigar has been properly humidified and the leaf is very high quality. But even dull-looking wrappers can be of good quality. One great way to tell if a cigar is really fresh or not is by giving it “the pinch test.” Very lightly “pinch” the cigar between your thumb and forefinger. It should feel firm with a little spring to it, not hard. If it feels like a piece of dead wood or if it’s particularly soft and spongy in spots, don’t buy it.

What should you do if your cigars become victims of beetles?

The best way to prevent beetles from appearing in the first place is to make sure the humidity and temperature are kept on the low end. A temp/humidity level of 62/67% is perfectly acceptable and will also help prevent mold. The main cause for beetle infestation is too much heat and/or humidity. They LOVE it. (It’s actually the larvae that feed on the tobacco.) The only thing that kills them dead is COLD. If you find that you do have a beetle problem, put all of the cigars from the infected humidor in a sealed plastic bag and place them in your freezer for three days. I say “ALL” because if you find one cigar that’s been attacked, you can assume the others may follow. Freezing the cigars will kill the beetles and their larvae and prevent the problem from spreading. When you take the cigars out of the freezer, don’t put them right back in the humidor. Put them in the refrigerator for one day to avoid shock from the temperature change, which could cause the wrappers to split. Before you replace them in your humidor, wipe the empty humidor with a clean cloth lightly dampened with distilled water. DO NOT use any cleaners, bug spray or disinfectant. They’ll just ruin the wood and give your cigars a foul taste. To help prevent the beetles from returning, purchase a good quality digital hygrometer/thermometer as the thermometer is very accurate. Also, make sure the room in which you keep your humidor is not subject to extreme changes in temperature. Don’t place the box in direct sunlight and check your humidifier regularly. Leave putting bugs in your mouth to contestants on Fear Factor.

What are those little tan spots I sometimes see on the cigar wrapper?

Don’t be alarmed. Also referred to as “sun spots,” no one really knows for sure what causes them. It is generally believed they are caused by moisture droplets that have marred the leaf after drying, but they will not affect the taste of the cigar.

What is the white powdery substance that sometimes appears on the cigar wrapper?

If you see white powdery spots on your cigar that looks like mold, chances are it’s only bloom, which results when the oils in the wrapper cause the leaf to mature. If this is the case, simply wipe the bloom off gently with your finger. It’s perfectly harmless and a sign that the leaf is of good, healthy quality, but if you want to prevent it, keep your temperature and humidity down.

What is ” blue mold” and what do I do if I find it on my cigars?

A deadly mold that manifests itself on the wrapper in the form of a bluish fungi. If the cigar is infected with blue mold, don’t smoke it; trash it, then check the rest of your cigars – and quickly, too!


Is 70/70 really the “ideal” temperature/humidity mix?

Although “ideal” temperature/humidity for cigars is supposedly, 70 temperature / 70% humidity, your cigars are actually better off at a cooler temperature. 62 to 65 is quite acceptable and will help prevent mold. Mixes of 62/72%, 63/68%, even 65/65% are fine. If you can maintain 70 / 70% with no problems, more power to you. In general, keeping your humidor in a relatively cool spot is a good idea. From my own personal experience I’ve found that an average temperature/relative humidty of 65/ 68% works best.

What should I do if I find a ” plug” in my cigar?

If your primo is slow on the draw it could be the result of a “plug.” A plug is a blockage that sometimes occurs in the cigar and keeps it from drawing properly. This could be anything from a piece of leaf that’s packed too tight to a stray stem that got into the bunch before rolling. Many plugs tend to occur near the “head” (drawing end) which makes the cigar very hard or even impossible to smoke. The recommended method for unplugging a cigar is to gently massage the cigar between your fingers. A persistent smoker can attempt to massage the location of the knot in order to try to loosen the bunch, but care should be taken to prevent cracking the wrapper. It helps if you slightly moisten your fingertips before massaging the cigar. Most often the problem is that the roller has twisted the filler tobacco while making the bunch. If this is the case, massaging isn’t going to help. Some smokers will make a desperate attempt to unplug a cigar by using a toothpick. Not only is it risky – because you can very easily poke right through the wrapper – it often doesn’t work. Unfortunately, plugs are inevitable if you smoke a lot of cigars. Fortunately, they’re more the exception than the rule.

Should you remove a cigar’s band before lighting, or leave it on?

Etiquette-wise, it is “proper” to remove the cigar band before you smoke it, but there will always be those who want the other cigars smoker’s in the room to know they’re puffing on a Fuente, a Cohiba or a Montecristo. Removing the band supposedly began in England, but even if you do subscribe to that tradition, sometimes this is difficult to do because the label is too tightly glued and you don’t want to peel off any of the cigar’s wrapper leaf. In that case, smoke the cigar about a third down and try again (this gives you a little time to show-off). Eventually the smoke and heat should cause the wrapper’s glue to loosen, so keep trying until you can remove it easily. One of the best ways to grasp the “concept” of whether or not to remove the cigar band is, when you put on an expensive designer suit, you don’t wear the jacket inside-out so people can see the label do you? The same pretty much goes for cigar bands, but it’s not necessary.

What’s the best method for restoring dry cigars?

This is a tricky topic because if your cigars are too dried out there may be no hope. However, it can’t hurt to try, right? That caveat aside, here goes, but you will need to be patient as this process can take weeks or even months:

Put the cigars in a humidor or other sealable container with a humidifier that hasn’t been re-charged lately. Let them rest in there for a few days so the cigars absorb what little humidity remains. Then, only partially fill the humidifier, letting the cigars rest again for about a week. Then fully re-charge humidifier. The idea here is to allow slow absorption of moisture, preventing the cigars from getting too much humidity too soon. If you shock the cigars by adding too much moisture at once they can actually burst–the last thing you want to do with really pricey cigars. This can take several weeks more than a month. Remember, be patient.

If you have a very large humidor or cabinet-style humidor, start by placing the cigars a good distance from the humidifying device and every 5-7 days, move them a little closer to the humidifying device. This could take up to six weeks, so again, patience is key.

Before you light up, make sure the restored-cigars have a little “spring” to them like a fresh cigars should be. A dry cigar will only burn hot and the flavor bitter tasting.

Why do most cigar boxes have a block of wood in them?

That block of wood is Spanish cedar and is used primarily as a spacer to keep the cigar rows even. But it’s also used to help keep the cigars fresh and maintain the cedar fragrance acquired during aging. Here’s a neat little tip you can put to use, too: The next time you finish a box of cigars, keep the little block of cedar wood and put it in your humidor. It will help your cigars age and keep your box smelling fresh. You can even “re-charge” the aroma in the block by giving it a light sanding every now and then.

What are the “classic” cigar styles by length and ring gauge?

Churchill – 7″x 50
Double Corona – 6 ” x 49
Londsdale – 6 ” x 44
Panatela – 7″ x 36
Toro – 6″ x 50
Grand Corona – 6″ x 46
Corona Extra – 5″ x 46
Corona – 5 ” x 42
Robusto – 5″ x 50
Petite Corona – 4″ x 40
Rothschild – 4 ” x 49

Should you keep “tubo” cigars tubed while in your humidor?

Like cello, tubes are used primarily to protect the cigar. If left unhumidified, they will only keep your cigars fresh for about a week. If you plan on putting them in your humidor, either remove them entirely from the tube or place them in the box with the cap off to allow moist air to circulate into the tube. Leave the cap in the box, too, in case you decide to take the cigar out with you.

What’s the difference between ” handmade” and ” hand-rolled” premiums?

Premiums that are machine-bunched are only rolled by hand, hence the term, “hand rolled,” whereas “handmade” cigars are made entirely by hand.

Thanks to Cigar Advisor.com for all the helpful information!

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Panna Cotta Diverse, Creative and Flavorful. Oh did I mention easy??

Panna Cotta Diverse, Creative and Flavorful. Oh did I mention easy??

How I love playing with Panna Cotta. Be it dessert or savory the versatility of panna cotta is simply amazing, inexpensive and fun to create with. It can be used in an hors ed’oeuvre, as a savory appetizer or to finish a meal off in the form of its original concept, a dessert.



This is a tuna skewer with a wasabi panna cotta form my cookbook, “Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass” Avaialable at . http://catersourcestore.miiduu.com/books/stick-it-spoon-it-put-it-in-a-glass

Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. It is generally from the Northern Italian region of Piedmont, although it is eaten all over Italy, where it is served with wild berries, caramel, chocolate sauce or fruit coulis. It is not known exactly how or when this dessert came to be, but some theories suggest that cream, for which mountainous Northern Italy is famous, was historically eaten plain or sweetened with fruit or hazelnuts. Earlier recipes for the dish used boiled fish bones in place of gelatin; sugar, later a main ingredient, would not have been widely available as it was an expensive imported commodity. After years this treat evolved into what is now a gelatin dessert, flavoured with vanilla and topped with fruit or spices, and served chilled.

Here are a couple of recipes for you to play with.

Espresso Panna Cotta (in the above picture)
Ingredients
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup milk
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee granules
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in the cream, sugar, espresso powder and salt. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Pour into six dessert dishes. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
Refrigerate for at least 5 hours longer or until set.
. Yield: 6 servings.

Lychee Panna Cotta
1 can (14 oz) lychees in syrup
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Open the can of lychees and pour the lychees and syrup into a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. There will still be little bits of lychee flesh and pulp. Strain into a measuring cup until you get 1 cup of clear liquid.

Place 3 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let sit while you do the next step.

Combine lychee liquid, cream, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and it just comes to a boil.

Remove lychee mixture from heat and add gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is fully melted and combined.

Divide mixture among glasses and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

Pomegranate Jelly
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar

Place 3 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let sit while you do the next step.
Combine pomegranate juice and sugar in a medium saucepan and heat on medium, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add gelatin and stir until it is fully melted and combined.
Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Pour pomegranate mixture over the panna cottas and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

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Juicing for health, flavor and fun

Juicing for health, flavor and fun

Is juicing healthier than eating whole fruits or vegetables?

Answer

Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.

Proponents say that juicing is better for you than is eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives your digestive system a rest from working on fiber. They say that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, help you remove toxins from your body, aid digestion, and help you lose weight.

But there’s no sound scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat. You can find many juicing recipes online or mix up your own combinations of fruits and vegetables to suit your taste.

If you do try juicing, make only as much juice as you can drink at one time because fresh squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria. And when juicing, try to keep some of the pulp. Not only does it have healthy fiber, but it can help fill you up. If you buy commercially produced fresh juice from a juicing stand or store, select a pasteurized product. Note that juices from some fruits and vegetables can contain more sugar than you might realize, and this can add unwanted calories and lead to weight gain.

The best selection of juices comes in nature’s own containers: fresh fruits & vegetables. Fresh juice is loaded with cancer-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins, in a state easily absorbed by the body.

Did you know?:

1 cup of carrot or celery juice provides most of the same nutrients found in 5 cups of those same vegetables chopped up.
To begin juicing, you’ll need a juice extractor.

For those who don’t have one but looking to get one – there are so many versions sold at department stores from $20-$300.
High tech features (such as the ability to process whole, uncut fruits) are worth the extra money if you are a frequent juicer. Otherwise, a basic model will do.

There are 2 types: citrus juicers and juice extractors.

Extractors are more versatile; most have a pulp collector that pulls out the fiber (which is why you’ll still want to consume whole fruits and vegetables).
Look for a machine with components that are dishwasher safe or otherwise easy to clean.
Be sure to read through the information provided with your juicer to become familiar with how your equipment works as well as the recipes included.

Drink your juice as soon as possible after juiced. It starts to lose its nutritional value as time passes. Also, it can develop a funny color as it oxidizes(especially apple). It doesnt mean its bad, but the kiddos and spouse might look at it funny. It’s very best to drink it within 24 hours, but up to 2 days can be just fine, too (but really not preferable). Just remember that there are no preservatives in fresh juice. It can go rancid quickly.

Prepare your produce for juicing ahead of time. Whew! Did I learn this the hard way! It is so much easier to have your produce cut up the night before if you want to juice for breakfast or lunch. You wash and cut up everything…put it in a ziplock bag or storage container, pop it in the fridge, and voila! It’s ready to be juiced for breakfast or any time-crunched portion of the day. No excuses not to juice when its all ready to go!

Using the pulp is a great way to save money and get extra nutrition. If someone would have told me this when I started juicing I probably would have thought they were nuts. But its true!

Using the pulp is very neat and easy. You also feel sort of good about no waste!

Another good juicing tip is to use a glass container when storing fresh juice Another thing I learned the hard way. There was one week where I was on a carrot juice kick. I took a good size plastic container of it to work, and left it on my desk….overnight, by mistake. It exploded all over my mouse pad. If I had it in a glass container, this would not have happened. But the most important reason: its just not good to store juice in plastic. Plastic leaches chemicals, and the natural compounds of the juice just don’t do well in sealed plastic based bottles. Just reuse a glass jar you were going to throw away….you do have some of those lying around, right? 🙂 If not, keep them from leftover food packaged in glass. Also, keep it in the fridge if not drinking right away. Some find it smart to wrap it in aluminum foil if they dont have dark glass bottles so that it oxidizes slower.

Using some fruits and veggies are just not super easy for fresh juice. Sure, you can use them all but some don’t work as well. Mushy fruit, like bananas, don’t really juice (but they make great “ice cream” when you use the homogenizer or blank plate on your juicer). Berries are also mushy, but you can get juice out of them- it is just provides a lower juice yield then an apple or orange would.

Mixing too many types of produce together makes a funky tasting juice sometimes. Okay, so, we all know the advertisements for those store-bought juices that include so many types of produce. Truth is, when you fresh juice, it doesnt taste as good. We arent adding any flavors. As a general rule, keep it 3 and under for variety(plus it’s easier).

Put some ice cubes in the blender with your juice. This cools your fruit drink quickly in summer.

These recipes are NOT ok for those on the Low Microbial Diet (LMD)

Ingredients:

Carrot — Apple Juice
3-4 medium carrots
1 medium Granny Smith apple
Carrot juice is surprisingly sweet and goes well with the tartness of the apples. When buying Granny Smiths, choose firm ones; they will produce a clearer juice.
Makes 10 ounces = 200 calories, 0g fat, 49g carbs, 4g protein

Spinach — Cucumber — Celery Juice
2 cups packed spinach (4 oz)
1 cucumber
1 celery stalk Because celery isn’t overpowering, it allows the spinach and cucumber juices to stand out. Spinach is a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium.
Makes 10 ounces = 139 calories, 1g fat, 35g carbs, 1 g protein

Pineapple — Blueberry — Ginger Juice
pineapple
1 cup blueberries
1 piece fresh ginger (1/4-1/2 inch) Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to fight certain types of cancer. The ginger aids digestion, and sets a South Pacific mood when combined with pineapple.
Makes 12 ounces = 80 calories, 0g fat,16g carbs, 7g protein

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Wines of the Week

Wines of the Week


Pinot Blanc originally hails from the Burgundy region of France, where it was commonly mistaken as chardonnay. Through modern DNA testing, it was discovered that pinot blanc is actually distantly related to pinot noir.

Today, pinot blanc is very popular in the Alsace region of France where it tends to be more aromatic and floral. However, it has also found a home in Austria, Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe and the United States, predominately in California and Oregon.

Pinot blanc is a remarkably versatile grape that can produce wines with different personas depending on region and winemaking techniques employed. They range from dry and refreshing to almost dessert-like.

Regardless of the country of origin, one common theme is their extraordinary fragrant bouquet and bright acidity, making them one of the most food-friendly white wines around, particularly when paired with seafood, pork and mild cheeses.

Jean Trimbach is from one of the most knowledgeable wine families in the Alsace region of France. He should be, considering that he is the 13th generation of the Trimbach family in the business. With that wealth of generational history, it is no wonder that the 2010 Trimbach Pinot Blanc from Alsace is one of the best values in France. It displays a wonderful bouquet of green melon and orange citrus blossom. Flavors of pear and crisp apple attacked the front of the palate while creamy flavors of apricot, citrus and peach combine with a touch of mineral to provide a long, memorable finish. $16

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is famous for their fruit-driven pinot noir wines, but the 2011 Bethel Heights Pinot Blanc is an excellent example of how brightly pinot blanc can shine in this region. It is a lighter styled version that features a fragrant bouquet of citrus, apple blossom and Asian pear scents. Flavors of green melon, pear and apricot shine through on the core of the palate while notes of smokey undercurrents combined with nice acidity that leaves a lasting impression on the finish. $18

The wine that inspired this column is the 2009 Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve from the Alsace region of France. What I really like about this wine is the aromatic nose of fresh melon and ripe stone fruit and the remarkable balance between the refreshing acidity and the luscious flavors of apple, pear and apricot fruit. Tangy minerality on the long, mouth-watering finish keeps the tongue invigorated. $22

The central coast of California has been a hotbed for pinot blanc for several decades. One of the oldest wineries in California to plant pinot blanc is Chalone Vineyards, who began planting the varietal in 1946. Today, the 2009 Chalone Vineyards Pinot Blanc from Monterey County, California is made with newer rootstock but the same dedication, showing off pure flavors of orange blossom, white peach, pineapple and Kadota fig on the front of the palate. Notes of vanilla are enhanced by crisp acidity on the complex finish. $26

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Cigar Review….Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto

Cigar Review….Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto

Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto

CIGAR ATTRIBUTES
Country of Origin Honduras
Size 5 x 50
Strength Full
Rocky Patel Xtreme Sumatra Robusto cigars add to our already-enviable stable of Rocky Patel value brands. A Nicaraguan/Honduran core is framed in Honduran binders and wrapped in reddish Ecuadorian Sumatra leaves. The smoke is medium-bodied, medium to full in strength, but most definitely full-flavored. A baseline of woody and espresso flavors lays an impressive foundation, heightened by flourishes of pepper and natural sweetness. A head-turning aroma and affordable prices make this an absolute winner. Try a box today!

“A well-made, satisfying smoke”

Overall rating:
92
Was this review helpful to you?

One things for certain about Rocky Patel: He makes a heck of a lot of cigars. Rockys flashy website doesnt even bother to mention many of his blends, be they seasonal, limited editions, retailer exclusives, or what have you.

Its safe to say that some cigar enthusiasts are perturbed by Patels ever-expanding lineup. They lament his seemingly countless blends and claim that over-expansion has deteriorated the excellence of the core cigars that made Rocky famous, including the Vintage 90 and 92 cigars. But many others couldnt be happier with the variety of tastes, sizes, and price points offered by Patel. For them, any stick with Rockys name on the label is worth trying.

These are two extremes. Whether youre in either camp or (more likely) somewhere in-between, you may have heard of Xtreme Sumatra, a value brand that Rocky produces exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop. This line features an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper with a Honduran binder and a two-country filler blend from Nicaragua and Honduras. It is available in three traditional vitolas: Churchill (7 x 48), Toro (6 x 52), and Robusto (5 x 50).

Three Robustos we tested for this review. This frontmark is strikingly attractive with a reddish, silky wrapper, no soft spots, a nice cap, and a beautiful cross-section of tobaccos at the foot. The pre-light aroma is of sweet earth and hay and the draw is perfect.

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For the love of Gelato

For the love of Gelato

As you may or may not know I am partners of Twisted by Sotto Zero. I figured now, being the summer, would be a fun time to share some thoughts about the world of gelato.

The difference between gelato and ice cream. Gelato has less fat than ice cream (3% to 9% to ice cream’s 10% to 16%), contains less air (gelato has 35% to 40% air, ice cream as much as 90%) and is served at a higher temperature. As a consequence the intensity of the flavor of gelato hits your palate faster than the flavor intensity of ice cream.
Ice cream is very hard and not too creamy. Gelato is creamy and not hard.

Though most ice creams require hardening after freezing, gelato can be eaten when first squeezed out of the grate of the mantecatore the freezing machine used for commercial gelato making.

The best gelato is the one that comes directly out of the machine, so gelato is always eaten fresh
The finished product is visibly different from ice cream. Gelato has a matte surface. You don’t want it to be shiny, as this would reflect on an amount of water that still needs to be frozen. Overall it looks dry. A good structure is one that holds the peak like a meringue. Texture-wise, it has got to look smooth, like a silk fabric.

Gelato is a balance between water and other ingredients like sugars, fats, milk solids and fruit. The aim of Italian gelato is that it is low fat, low sugar and low calorie. It is possible to make strawberry gelato with only strawberries, sugar and water no more.

In fact, such a gelato was created during the class. Though sherbet and sorbet can have a grainy texture and tart taste, the gelato alla fragola was so creamy you’d swear it contained milk but it didn’t, just as it didn’t leave a sugary aftertaste on the tongue. Similarly, a milk-based strawberry gelato, or fior di fragola, had the same strawberry burst but an even creamier back flavor.

A balanced cream-based gelato begins with a base. The simplest is a white base, which essentially is made of sugar and cream. Cocoa or egg yolks can be added, depending on the recipe. Commercial gelatos usually use a stabilizer such as guar gum, which ensures that fats stick together in sub-zero temperatures. That’s not necessary for homemade gelatos.

Another difference between homemade and commercial gelatos is the type of sugar added. At home, granulated sugar works just fine, but at the gelateria, they’ll use a mixture of granulated sugar, dextrose and sucrose, a combination that gives less sweetness to the gelato and keeps it softer and easier to spread.

Once the base is mixed, it can be heated to 185 degrees,”pasteurization” for sanitation and to improve the flavor. Then it is chilled in a standard refrigerator for three hours to two days. The time after pasteurization and before freezing as the “aging process,” which serves to enhance flavor.

When enough time has passed, you simply combine the base with the flavor, such as strawberries, mix again with a blender and then freeze. For home preparation, Racca recommends keeping the freezing simple. Hand-whipping the mix in an aluminum bowl set over a mix of salt and ice produces satisfying results. Once the gelato starts to get creamy, you can put it in your freezer to finish it. Ideally, gelato should be kept at 5 degrees.

How do you know if you have a “good” gelato? You don’t “chew” it. It’s softer than ice cream, but not so soft that it melts.

Those who have traveled to Italy are familiar with the numerous gelaterie that tempt passersby with curvaceous mounds of multicolored gelati. Normally, gelato, which is chemical-free, is produced and replenished throughout the day. Since it is made with fresh ingredients, it can’t really sit around in the freezer. To be at its best, gelato should be eaten at least within two days of being made.

Stay tuned for my adventures om making gelato on a daily basis with my new machine that comes in a few days!

Fire it up!

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Fresh Truffles, What you need to know…and a Recipe or Two

Fresh Truffles, What you need to know…and a Recipe or Two

About Fresh Truffles:

Grown underground and hunted only by the help of pigs and dogs, these rare and luxurious tubers are one of the most sought after ingredients by top chefs. They have been called the diamond of the kitchen. Known as one of the most desirable gourmet foods, nothing else comes close to the flavor of a truffle.


Biology of Truffles

The truffle is an underground mushroom made up of two parts. The first is the fruiting, the part that you eat. The second part is invisible and is made up of the truffles roots.

The fruiting body appears during different seasons depending on the type of truffle. The truffle can be large or small, evenly or irregularly shaped, and be present at a depth of between 4 to 16 inches. Underneath its skin, which can be smooth or rough, is a soft flesh.

The truffles environment is of the utmost importance for the development of the truffles. It is a very demanding mushroom that needs particular environmental conditions, another reason they are so precious.

Truffles grow in woods that have a mix of trees with a little undergrowth to maintain humidity often found along the banks of streams, but also by footpaths, pine trees, and poplars. Each species of truffle needs different soil and climate conditions.

Nutritional Information

The truffles strong point is its scent, which comes from a compound called bis-methyltiomethane, an aromatic hydrocarbon. But a truffle is not just a scent: it also has nutritional value, a value that is almost identical for all the different species of truffles, but which varies depending on the environmental conditions in which the truffle develops.

Truffles contain 72% water, very little vegetable fat (0.6%) and a decent amount of protein (8.6%). Truffles are some of the most nutritious mushroom available. Their proteins are intact and rich in methionine, cysteine, and lysene. Truffles are also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, iron, sulphur, chlorine, and silicone, as well as amino acids. They also contain fiber (7.6%), an important component for digestion.

Fresh Truffles

See Seasonal Availability and Prices

Black Truffles

-Winter

a) Tuber Melanosporum Vitt. (Perigord/Dolce di Norcia)

Availability: Nov. March

The worlds best-known truffle

The fruity body can vary in size from that of a hazelnut to an orange. Its shape varies from round and even to irregular and lobed. The skin is black, sometimes with dark red or rust colored patches. It ripens in winter, from November to March. In Italy, it grows most commonly in Umbria, Abruzzo, Marche, Toscana, Lazio, and as well as in Veneto, Piedmonte and Liguria.

-Summer

a) Tuber Aestivum

Availability: June-Sept.

The most plentifully harvested truffle

The fruity body ranges from the size of a hazelnut to that of an orange. The skin is black. The odor is pleasant and delicate, resembling that of hazelnuts. The main period for ripening runs from June to September. This truffle is commonly found in Europe, and in Italy, or wherever there is limestone terrain.

b) Tuber Uncinatum Chatin. (Burgundy)

Availability: Sept.-Dec.

Similar to Tuber Aestivum with more pleasing and intense odor

The name of this truffle is derived from its hook shaped spores. The fruity body is large and ranges from the size of an egg to that of an orange, but at times even larger than 10 cm in diameter. The skin is black. Its odor resembles that of a hazelnut . It ripens all year round but mostly from September to December. In Italy, it is found most frequently in central and northern zones.

White Truffles

-Winter

Tuber Magnatum Pico Vitt. (White Alba)

Availability: Oct. Dec.

The most prized among the edible truffles.

The fruity body is usually a lobed, spherical or oval shape. These truffles can be as small as peas or as large as potatoes, and can weigh up to a kilogram. The skin is smooth and of an ochre-yellow or olive-yellow color, and can sometimes exhibit a rusty brown cracked area or bright red spots. The ripening period runs from September to December. White Alba Truffles are found principally in Emilia Romagna, Piemonte, Marche, Molise and occasionally in Lombardia, & Veneto.

-Spring

Tuber Borchi Vitt. (Bianchetto)

Availability: Jan.-April

The various Italian names attributed to this truffle are due to its color, the period in which it ripens and the habitat in which it is found. The fruity body is small to medium sized, ranging from the size of a pea to that of an apricot. The skin is smooth, variable in color, ranging from ochre-yellow to rust-brown or orange brown, and is often spotted. The period for ripening runs from January to April. It can be found in all areas of Italy in markedly diverse environmental conditions.

*All truffle varieties named after the scientists who classified them:

Pico, Vittadini & Chatin.

Fresh Truffle Storage and Handling

After buying fresh truffles, your precious purchase should be cleaned of any earth by rubbing it gently with a small brush, such as a toothbrush, under running water. Fresh truffles are living, delicate organisms that must be consumed as soon as possible as they tend to dehydrate (at room temperature they lose 1-2% of their weight every day) and lose their scent.

To properly store your truffle, before or in between uses, wrap it in a dry paper towel, which you should change every day. Then place the truffle in a glass jar, close tightly and store in the least cool part of the refrigerator somewhere between 39-46 degrees Fahrenheit.

This storage method guarantees the quality of a prized white truffle will stay for at least a week and that of a black truffle for two weeks.

Our Producers: Appennino Funghi e Tartufi

For almost 20 years, Appennino Funghi e Tartufi has been in the truffle business, selling fresh mushrooms and truffles. Their care when selecting and processing the raw materials, their love and respect for the land, and their passion and ex-perience in the food world, have lead to the establishment of their world re-nowned truffle laboratory. Today Appennino Funghi e Tartufi has become an es-sential point of reference for the food industry as well as for the finest restaurants in Italy and throughout the world.

Luigi Dattilo, the founder and President of Appennino, started when he was just a boy, searching for these amazing tubers. On his 18th birthday, when all his friends had saved up for their first car, as most Italian boys do, Luigi took his savings and bought a dog. His first truffle dog. Now, over 20 years later, he has the second largest, and most highly regarded, quality truffle and mushroom company in Italy as well as subsidiaries in many picking countries, and exports to 4 continents of only the highest of quality fresh and preserved truffle and mushroom products.

Recipes
Grilled Eggplant & Tomato Tort With Vigna Oro Balsamic

(Serves 4-5)

Ingredients:

-3 medium eggplants

– Kosher or fine Sicilian Sea Salt

– 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions

– 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp of Vigna Oro Balsamic Vinegar

-5 fresh medium tomatoes or 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in rounds

– cup of fresh goat cheese

– 1 tsp of fresh thyme

-Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

– Slice eggplants into inch rounds. Place in ziploc bag with enough olive oil to cover and 1- 2 tsp of salt. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.

– Meanwhile slice the onion into rounds and separate. Heat medium sauce pan on the lowest possible heat with a tbsp of olive oil. Add onions and cook on low heat until tender and brown. Add tsp of Vigna Oro and continue to cook.

– For the eggplant: light grill and set to medium heat (You can also use a large saucepan on a stove if you do not have access to a grill). Grill eggplant till brown and tender- about 4-5 minutes on both sides. Once cooked, plate by placing a layer of eggplant, followed by a layer of tomatoes, layer of onions, layer of eggplant. Finish off by crumbling goat cheese and drizzling olive oil, Vigna Oro, thyme, salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe with Vigna Oro Balsamic, Parmesan, Pancetta and Pine Nuts
(Serves 3-4 , recipe adapted from Kalyns Kitchen.com)

Ingredients:

-1 lb. brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut into quarters

-2 tbsp of olive oil

-1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

-1 tbsp of diced Pancetta

-1 tbsp pine nuts

-Vigna Oro Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

Directions:

-Preheat oven to 450 F. Trim Brussels sprouts, remove any discolored leaves, and cut into quarters (or halves if they are small.) Put sprouts in mixing bowl and toss with olive oil.

-Cover roasting pan with foil if desired, and spray with non-stick spray if needed. Arrange sprouts in a single layer on roasting pan, and roast 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until sprouts are slightly crisp and golden brown on the edges.

-When sprouts are nearly done, separately saut pancetta in a pan until crispy and toast pine nuts in a dry pan about 2-3 minutes, until barely starting to brown. Put cooked sprouts back into mixing bowl and toss with parmesan cheese. Arrange on serving plate and sprinkle with pine nuts and pancetta.

-Drizzle and toss with Vigna Oro. Serve hot.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Strawberries & Vigna Oro Balsamic Vinegar
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
-2 cups of good Vanilla Ice Cream

-1 cup of fresh strawberries, washed

– cup of Vigna Oro Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

Slice strawberries into quarters. Scoop ice cream into bowls generously. Place strawberries on top. Drizzle with Vigna Oro. Enjoy!

Oro Nero

Ricotta & Roasted Pepper Crostini with Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar

(Serves 6)

Ingredients:
– 4 large red peppers

– 1 tbsp of olive oil

– 1 Baguette

– 1 cup fresh ricotta

– Salt and Pepper to taste

– Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar for drizzling

Directions:
-Adjust oven rack to upper position. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rub peppers with olive oil and place on baking sheet.

-Roast peppers in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, turning the peppers every 10-15 minutes until skin is almost dark brown. Once fully roasted, remove from oven and let cool.

-Once cooled, peel peppers and remove seeds and membranes. Slice into thin strips. Mix with ricotta, adding salt and pepper to taste.

– Slice Baguette and lightly toast

– Spoon pepper and ricotta mixture onto sliced baguette. Drizzle with Oro Nero. Serve and Enjoy!

Radicchio with Smoked Mozzarella, Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar, and Prosciutto
(Serves 4-6 recipe adapted from Epicurious.com)

Ingredients:

-2 medium heads radicchio (1 1/2 pounds total), each cut into 6 wedges and cored

-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

-1/3 cup Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

– 6 oz smoked mozzarella, sliced and torn into pieces

– 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto

Directions:

-Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 425F.

-Arrange radicchio wedges, cut sides up, in a 2 1/2-quart shallow glass or ceramic baking dish (11 by 7 inches), then drizzle with oil and Oro Nero and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

-Roast radicchio, turning over once or twice, until wilted and tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

-Arrange cheese over radicchio, then arrange prosciutto over cheese and roast until cheese is just melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Pork Roast with Rosemary, Garlic, and Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar
(Serves 8, recipe adapted from Kalyns Kitchen.com)

Ingredients:

-1 Boneless pork loin roast (about 3.5 lbs)

-Salt

Marinade:

– 1/2 cup olive oil

-1/4 cup Oro Nero Balsamic Vinegar

-2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

-2 tbsp garlic puree

Directions:

-Mix marinade ingredients.

-Cut shallow slits into both sides of roast. Rub meat on both sides with small amount of salt. Put roast into large ziploc bag, pour marinade in, close bag, and marinate 8-10 hours in refrigerator, turning the bag a few times if you can.
-Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. To cook, put roast in the oven for 25 minutes per pound or until the meat thermometer shows 145 F. Let sit 15 minutes before cutting. Serve and Enjoy!

Vigna Bianca

Vigna Bianca Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

(Adapted from Loris Lipsmacking Goodness)

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 cups Vigna Bianca balsamic vinegar

– 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown sugar (to your liking. Can be substituted with honey)

Directions:
-Bring vinegar to a boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer.

-When it reduces halfway, add brown sugar.

-Simmer some more until it becomes syrupy and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. As it cools it will thicken up.

-Store leftovers in refrigerator

Vigna Bordo

Vigna Bordo Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

-1 tbsp Dijon mustard

-1 garlic clove, minced

-1/2 cup olive oil

-Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Add the oil in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

TRUFFLES
Grilled Chicken with Truffle Salt & Parmesan Cheese

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

-4 chicken breasts, rinsed, dried and pounded

– Olive Oil

– Ground pepper to taste

– Truffle Salt

– cup roughly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

– Marinade chicken breasts in a generous amount of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper for at least a hr to 6 hours.

– Heat large sauce pan on a medium heat. Place chicken in the pan and cook until meat feels firm when pressed and clotted juices begin to emerge when pressed, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Once cooked, sprinkle with Truffle Salt and parmesan cheese and covered with lid for 30 seconds until cheese has melted. Serve and Enjoy!

Roasted Potatoes with Truffle Salt

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
-2 lbs Red Bliss or Fingerling Potatoes, scrubbed clean, dried

-3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-Truffle Salt

Directions:

-Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice potatoes into inch wedges. Toss with olive oil.

-Place potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer and cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 15 minutes, until potatoes are golden brown. Turn potatoes on other side and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

-Once potatoes are golden and crispy remove from oven. Toss with Truffle Salt to taste. Serve and Enjoy!

Steak Truffle Tartar
(Serves 6, Recipe adapted from Appennino Tartufi)

Ingredients:

– 1 1/2 Ibs prime ground beef

– 2 medium shallots, minced

– 4tbsp Truffle Sauce

– 1 tbsp Il Casolare extra-virgin olive oil

– 1 fresh egg yolk

– Black Truffle Oil

– SoSalt fine sea salt

Directions:

Serve this tartar as a classy appetizer, but be sure to use the freshest, top quality ground beef you can find.

-Place the meat, shallots, Truffle Sauce, Il Casolare extra-virgin olive oil and a good pinch of SoSalt fine sea salt in a large bowl and mix using your hands.

-When all the ingredients are well combined, form the mixture into a large circular patty shape (or other shape of your choice), and place on a serving dish.

-Very carefully, position the egg yolk on top of the meat.

-Garnish with a drizzle of Black Truffle Oil and serve immediately

Truffle Tagliolini with Truffle Butter

(Serves 4, Recipe adapted from Appennino Tartufi)

Ingredients:

-1 package of Morelli Tagliolini with Truffles

-1 tbsp of Truffle butter, black or white

– 4-6 slices of bianchetto truffle (for garnish)

– SoSalt Coarse Sea Salt

Directions:

-Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

-Add Morelli Truffle Tagliolini and cook for approximately 3 minutes until al dente and drain.

-Melt half the Truffle butter in a large pan over a low heat.

-Add pasta and remaining Truffle butter.

-Toss well.

-Garnish with Bianchetto slices and serve!

Porcini

Porcini Mushroom Omelet with Asiago Cheese & Truffles

(Serves 3-4 )

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of Dried Slices of Porcini Mushrooms, soaked, rinsed and dried

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil

– 8 eggs

– 1 pinch Truffle Salt

– cup grated Asiago cheese

– 1 tsp Truffle Oil, White or Black

Directions:

– Heat olive oil medium sauce pan on a medium flame. Add porcinis and cook until tender 5-10 minutes.

– Crack and whisk eggs, adding a pinch of Truffle Salt and tbls of water.

– Add egg mixture to the mushrooms, covering the mushrooms and lining the entire pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Run a rubber spatula under eggs to see if firm. Once firm, add Asiago cheese and a drizzle of Truffle Oil. Fold over and continue to cook until eggs cease to be runny and cheese is melted.

– Serve and Enjoy!

Porcini Tagliatelle with Wild Mushroom Pate

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

-1 package of Morelli Porcini Tagliatelle

-Porcini Olive Oil

-1 jar Wild Mushroom Pate

– Sosalt Coarse Sea Salt

Directions:

-Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

-Add Morelli Porcini Tagliatelle and cook for approximately 3 minutes until al dente and drain.

-In a large pan over a low heat, combine Wild Mushroom Pate, cream and a drizzle of Porcini oil.

-Add pasta and toss well.

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East India Trading Company to Release The ‘Red Witch

East India Trading Company to Release The ‘Red Witch

MIAMI, FL — The East India Trading Company, a subsidiary of the Gurkha Cigar Group, Inc., are proud to announce the upcoming launch of the Red Witch, which will set sailat this years IPCPR trade show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL on August 2-6th.

Red Witch is the second cigar release under the East India Trading Company, with the first being the enormously successful Wicked Indie last fall. Named after a trading ship from the British rule during the 1800s, Red Witch is a medium to full bodied cigar featuring a silky Ecuadorian, Rosado wrapper, paired with a carefully selected Dominican binder and 3year aged filler from the mountainous region of Jalapa, Nicaragua.

The Red Witch is an attractive, box-pressed cigar offering tasting notes of spice, earth and sweet delicate undertones with a long and smooth finish. Housed in rustic 50-count boxes, Red Witch will be available in three vitolas:
5″ x 52 Robusto
6″ x 54 Rothchild
6″ x 60 XO
The cigars will carry an MSRP of $4.99 to $6.39, and will be on display at the 2012 International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers convention, booth numbers: #1067-1374.

We are very excited about the launch of Red Witch, which fits in well with the overall theme and heritage of the East India Trading Company, said Kaizad Hansotia, Chairman of Gurkha Cigar Group. Trading ships were a vital part to the importing and exporting of goods during this era, where tobacco was one of the earliest traded goods.

East India Trading Company was originally founded in the early 1600s, making it one of the oldest formed trading companies in the world. The Gurkha Cigar Group has owned the trademark for seven years and plans to continue its rich tradition and legacy by releasing creative and exciting cigar concepts. A strong goal with East India is to release distinctive, unique blends and flavor profiles that are very affordable to all consumers, said Gary Hyams, President of Gurkha Cigar Group. This arm of our company allows us to execute different marketing strategies that do not necessarily fall under the Gurkha image and branding.

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Summer Harvest and a Seasonal Chart

Summer Harvest and a Seasonal Chart

Looking at the seasons when developing menus I have noticed that people are so unfamiliar as to what is really a seasonal fruit or vegetable. So here is a chart that will guide you through the seasons, showing you what is at peak quality so you can maximize your flavors.

cuesa_seasonality_veg_chart
July marks a turning point at the market, as springs offerings give way to the fruits and vegetables of summer and early fall. Vibrant colors are on full display, and sweet flavors and light and juicy textures dominate the season. This is the time when heating-loving Solanums (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants) and Cucurbits (cucumbers, melons, and summer squash) get their day in the sun.

Other fruits, such as syrupy-sweet figs and plump, juicy blackberries, are becoming more abundant as we get deeper into summer. Cherries and apricots are dwindling as the bounty of peaches, nectarines, and plums rolls in. You can enjoy almost 40 varieties of peaches at the farmers market this season.

Many of summers fruits and vegetables are delicious and nutritious eaten raw with minimal to no fussing, but there are also plenty of ways to prepare them in simple, farm-fresh dishes: lightly dressed and tossed into in salads, blended whole into sweet or spicy soups, marinated and grilled for succulent appetizers and entres, chopped finely into salsas, muddled into cocktails, or poached and spooned over ice cream for an elegant dessert. Summer is also the time to start putting up the harvest, so the bounty can be savored throughout the rest of the year.


Figs and Arugula with Creamy Goat Cheese and Toasted Pecans

For this salad, look for dark-purple-skinned Black Mission figs at your local farmers market. At their peak of freshness, figs should yield to gentle pressure and feel heavy for their size; a little drop of moisture sometimes appears underneath. Buy them ripe and fragrant, as they tend not to soften much once they’re picked. Figure on about 12 medium Black Mission figs to the pound. To help prevent fresh figs from becoming moldy, once home, store them on a plate in a single layer with space among them. If its particularly hot or humid, refrigerate figs as soon as they ripen.

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

2/3 cup pecan halves
8 ounces arugula or mixed baby salad greens, picked over, rinsed, and spun dry
8 ripe Black Mission figs (about 10 ounces), cut lengthwise into quarters
1/4 small red onion, cut crosswise into very thin slices and separated into rings
1/4 cup walnut oil or bold-tasting extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons white balsamic or other white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces creamy, mild goat cheese, chilled

PREPARATION

Place the pecans in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals. (Alternatively, toast pecans in a toaster oven or preheated 350-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until they become fragrant.) Set aside to cool.

Place the arugula or salad greens, figs, and red onions in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and toss well. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss. Crumble the pecans, saving a few nice halves for garnish, and toss with the salad. Crumble the goat cheese into 1/4-inch clumps as you add it to the salad. Toss gently and taste. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Divide among salad plates and garnish with the reserved pecans.

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Fresh Apricot Salsa

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Fresh Apricot Salsa

I love pork, I love everything about it, I would marry it if i could, but I cant.

I will be posting some of my recipes on pork on a continuous basis. I love this one, though its not mine, its just so summer friendly and I had to share it.

Fire it up!


Grilled Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Fresh Apricot Salsa

Makes 10 to 12 tacos

Pork:

2 pounds pork tenderloin, sliced into 3/4-inch-thick rounds

salt and black pepper

Canola oil, for brushing grill grates

Salsa:

8 ripe apricots, diced (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 green onions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced

The zest and juice of 2 limes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your desired spiciness

10 to 12 (6-inch) tortillas

Lime wedges

Preheat grill to medium-high and lightly brush grates with canola oil. Season pork with salt and black pepper on both sides. Grill for 5 minutes without touching, then flip and grill an additional 3 minutes or until charred all over yet still slightly tender in the middle. Transfer to a plate, cover with tinfoil, and let rest for 5 minutes to seal in the juices, before serving.

For the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and gently toss.

To warm the tortillas, place on the upper level of the grill away from direct heat for 1 minute per side, or until heated through. Tuck 2 pieces of pork into each tortilla, top with salsa, and serve with fresh lime wedges on the side.

ADAPTED FROM PORKBEINSPIRED.COM

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Port Punch Recipe

Port Punch Recipe

Yield: Serves 4

Cook Time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS
cup Txakol white wine (or other slightly effervescent and dry, unoaked white wine)

cup white grape juice

cup white port

2 tablespoons peach brandy

cup club soda or seltzer water

1 lime, quartered

1 ripe peach–peeled, halved, pitted and chopped

4 mint sprigs

Ice

DIRECTIONS
1. In a pitcher or carafe, mix together the wine, grape juice, port and brandy. Top with the club soda. Squeeze the juice of the 4 lime quarters into the pitcher, then add the squeezed lime quarters to the pitcher.

2. Divide the peach pieces and mint sprigs among 4 punch glasses and serve the punch over ice.

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Global Revolution

Global Revolution

Don’t let the sign on the door of West Village wine shop Le Vigne confuse you.

It says Italian Wine Merchant, but the shelves hold much more than a strict regiment of bottles from the Boot.

Originally opened with an Italian focus, Le Vigne has recently extended its global reach to heavyweights such France and Germany, plus flyweights such as Israel and Australia.

Here, a few current picks that highlight this newfound sense of international diplomacy:

2010 Iconic Wines Heroine Sonoma Chardonnay ($35 for 750 ml): This remarkable expression of Sonoma Chardonnay aims for poise while delivering an intense mouthful of melon, mint and citrus. Its a far cry from your grandmothers Cali Chard.

2010 Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir ($32 for 750 ml): This elegant, unfined and unfiltered Pinot from a small family producer with vines in Australias Mornington Peninsula reflects the regions cool maritime climate with fresh flavors of plum and spice.

2010 Domaine de Fenouillet Ventoux ($15 for 750 ml): From a traditional producer in Frances Southern Rhne Valley, this value-driven blend of Syrah and Grenache is ideal for grilling season and brims with ripe fruit, star anise and black pepper.

Le Vigne West Village Artisanal Wines, 35 Greenwich Ave. (at Charles St.); 212-255-0222 or levignenyc.com

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Belle Glos 2010 Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

Belle Glos 2010 Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

Belle Glos is a super premium Pinot Noir produced by none other than Caymus Vineyards and the striking red wax capsule is a statement to the exceptional character of this wine. The Wagner family purchased prime vineyard property in the several Pinot Noir hot spots including this vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley. Clark & Telephone Vineyard, located near the corner of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley, is cooled by wind and fog that snakes in from the Pacific Ocean along a channel of the Santa Maria River. Established in 1972, the Clark & Telephone Vineyard was planted “own root” to the Martini clone. This heirloom clone of Pinot Noir, one of the first to grace the California coastlands, has become something of a lost treasure. In 2008 a long slow growing season led to harvest at the end of October. The grapes were de-stemmed and fermented slowly followed by aging in 60% new French oak barrels for nine months. Bursting with aromas of cinnamon, cherry and hints of spiced tea. On the palate the wine is plush with brown spice and sweet oak flavors, layered with deep blueberry and strawberry. Lively acidity leads into a long finish with supple tannins.

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A sweet Cigar on this great Summer Day

A sweet Cigar on this great Summer Day

arlos Torao Loyal Robusto
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5″ x 56
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Dark Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Nicaraguan and Dominican
Binder: Nicaraguan
Presentation: Boxes of 21 cigars, 5-packs, singles
Location smoked: Office
Paired with: Bitter Lemon

Construction and Overall Appearance: Dark, rustic-looking and somewhat toothy wrapper, nice thick triple cap. Well packed.

Draw: Perfect
Pre-light flavor: Flavors of toffee and mocha-java. Similar to a Padrn.

Toasting & Light: Toasted and lit easily and quickly. Lots of smoke emanating through the head.

Base flavors: Earthy, nutty, notes of mocha java and cream

Retrohale: Smooth, not too peppery.

Aroma: Excellent. Sweet and spicy.

Burn / Ash Quality: Decent burn. Firm, zebra striped ash. Burn was a bit off-center for most of the smoke, but not enough to prompt touching-up.

Balance of flavors: Very impressive.

Consistency: Excellent

General Observations: Like the band logo which looks like it should be on a 50’s- vintage car. Very well balanced. Thick and creamy like a good milkshake. At midpoint, the smoke became much richer in flavor. Somewhat darker, yet I picked up notes nutmeg, brown sugar, and cream on the finish. When the burn started to leave some leaf behind, it always burned off quickly.

Summary: Another excellent blend from The Torao Family. Right in my wheelhouse, too. Medium-bodied, full-flavored, and impressively complex with just the right amount of sweetness augmented with subtle notes of sweet spice. A very enjoyable cigar. So flavorful, I smoked it down to almost half an inch. Highly recommended!

Rating: 91

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Oven Roasted Curried Chicken with Pickled Celery and Garlic Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Oven Roasted Curried Chicken with Pickled Celery and Garlic Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

This recipe is from my cookbook, Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass.

When creating this recipe, my approach was to create a skewer with textures, and an experience. All to often there is a mistake putting food onto a skewer as a throw away, I wanted to create elements of a meal, elements that people would react to as something more than just a bit and bite.

The flavored spices of curry, the acid of the pickled celery and smooth fatty texture of the goat cheese make this item a sample of what I call Theater of the Palate.

Each bite, is like an act in a show, something new, something that one anticipates and ultimately an experience that leaves a smile on ones face and satisfaction on the palate.


Oven Roasted Curried Chicken with Pickled Celery and Garlic Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients/Oven Roasted Curried Chicken
10 jumbo chicken tenders
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes salt and black pepper

Method/Oven Roasted Curried Chicken
Pound chicken tenders lightly until they are about 1/4 inch thick.
Toss in oil and season with curry powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Marinate overnight in refrigerator.

Ingredients/Pickled Celery
2 celery stalks, remove leaves and roots 1 cup red wine vinegar 1 cup sugar 1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp whole star anise

Method/Pickled Celery
On mandoline set to make about 1/4-inch slices, slice celery lengthwise to create long thin strips.
Combine all ingredients except celery in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let cool to 70o. Add celery and refrigerate overnight.
Reserve for skewering

Ingredients/Garlic and Goat Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

30 small cherry tomatoes
15 oz goat cheese
2 tsp garlic, chopped and roasted
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp chopped chives
1 tsp red onion, diced, sauted and cooled salt and pepper

Method/Garlic and Goat Cheese
Stuffed Tomatoes
Using a small knife, cut a small hole in the top of each cherry tomato.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and mix with a spoon until smooth. Place into a piping bag with a small pastry tip.
Pipe 1/2 oz goat cheese mixture into each cherry tomato.
Reserve for skewering.

Assembly
Weave 1 piece of chicken and 1 strip of celery around 3 cherry tomatoes on each skewer (see photo).
Heat oven to 350o. Place skewers on a sheet pan and bake for 1518 minutes, until chicken is cooked all the way through. Remove from oven and serve.

Chef Notes
Be sure that you pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness or less, otherwise the tomatoes and celery will be overcooked before the chicken has fully cooked.
Variations
Pork or flank steak can be used instead of the chicken. Marinate pounded slices of pork tenderloin in soy, ginger and scallions. Instead of tomatoes, use marinated cremini mushrooms; instead of pickled celery, use marinated or pickled zucchini ribbons.

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A Dessert of Tastes and Texture…SOFT, SILKY and SMOOTH

A Dessert of Tastes and Texture…SOFT, SILKY and SMOOTH

With every season that passes, it opens another door to explore, another opportunity to embrace a season and another invitation of life to accept.

As we eat, the senses are stimulated, the brain goes into hyper drive and everything is illuminated.

This dessert was a play on the textures of Soft, Silky and Smooth.

I love to play with the senses, teasing the mind with textures and the sense of smell.

Here is a fun dessert featuring some of our new pieces from our dessert selections that worked well for this combination and for this new test of the senses, playing with textures.

From left to right;
White Chocolate and Prosecco Fudge
Chocolate Raspberry Ganache topped with Lime Ginger Macaroon, Mocha Hazelnut Macaroon
Red Velvet Cup cake made with Beet Juice with Mint Frost

White Chocolate Fudge
Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces white chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup Prosecco
Directions

Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, Prosseco and vanilla until smooth.
In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, heat white chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth.
Fold melted white chocolate and into cream cheese mixture.
Spread into prepared baking dish.
Chill for 1 hour, then cut into 1 inch squares

This recipe can be changed by adding different flavor profiles to create new a new experience. I chose to share this recipe because it is easer to adjust the flavor profiles and is a more used than the flavors on the plate.

Raspberry Ganache

Ingredients

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate
1/4c Raspberry Puree

Directions

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a large stainless steel bowl.
In a large, high sided saucepan, heat cream over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until it starts to boil. Immediately remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate.
Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
Cool completely and then store in refrigerator.

Raspberry Macaroon

Ingredients
For macaroons
6 oz sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Red or pink food coloring

For chocolate raspberry ganache
3 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

Make macaroons:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.
Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks.
Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined.
Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)
Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300F.
Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.
Make ganache while macaroons bake:
Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.) Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted. Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.

Assemble cookies:
Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.

Red Velvet Cup Cake made with Beet Juice

Ingredients
c. pureed beets roasted them at 350 for 30 min adding 1/2 c. of water to the pan after 10 min
c. oil
c. milk
1 tsp. plain yogurt
tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 eggs
c. flour
? c. sugar
c. dutch cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
tsp. baking soda
tsp. salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together all of the dry ingredients and set aside.
Blend the wet ingredients until uniform.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until combined.
Divide into paper cup lined cupcake molds
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of the center comes out clean. .
Cool before icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 blocks cream cheese (8 oz each)
2 sticks unsalted butter
tsp. salt
16 oz confectioners sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
Cream together the cream cheese and butter at room temperature.
Add the salt and sugar and whip until light and fluffy.
Stir in the vanilla.

Frost your cooled cake and sprinkle sides

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Fish Tacos with Slaw and Avocado Crma

Fish Tacos with Slaw and Avocado Crma

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
1 cup crema or plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
2 cups shredded savoy cabbage or green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 serrano chili, seeded and minced
3 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. minced onion
1 lb. halibut or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 corn tortillas

Directions:
Halve and pit the avocado and scoop the flesh into a food processor.
Add the crema, the 2 tsp. lime juice, 3/4 tsp. of the cumin and 1/4 tsp. of the salt.
Blend just until smooth. Transfer the crema to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, the 2 Tbs. lime juice, 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the chili, cilantro, onion, the remaining 1/2 tsp. cumin and the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Stir to mix well.
Cover the slaw and refrigerate for 1 to 6 hours.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack. ??Place the fish on a plate and coat lightly with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.

Grill the fish, carefully turning it over once with a wide spatula, until opaque in the center, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Transfer the fish to a platter, break into 8 pieces and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm on the grill, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, place 2 tortillas on a plate and top each with a piece of fish. Stir the cabbage slaw well and top each piece of fish with about 1/4 cup slaw and 2 Tbs. crema.

Repeat to assemble the remaining tacos. Serve immediately. Serves 4

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Corn and Shrimp Chowder

Corn and Shrimp Chowder

 

 

 

 

 

A farmers market or roadside stand is the best source for sweet corn. The natural sugars in the corn begin converting to starch the minute the ears are picked, so freshness is critical. Look for cobs with crisp green husks and dry, brownish silk that extends out the top (yellowish silk marks an immature ear). The kernels should be tightly packed in even rows and look plump and juicy.

(more…)

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Parties and Wine Tastings

Parties and Wine Tastings

When you are hosting a dinner party or supper club, decide in advance what wines you would like to serve, selecting ones that will complement your menu. If you are planning a party where everybody contributes a bottle of wine, ask each guest to bring a different wine until all the wine slots are filled. If you have friends who are interested in wine, you might even want to hold an informal wine tasting.

(more…)

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Apple, Fennel Celery Salad

Apple, Fennel Celery Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh tarragon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed celery leaves
2 small fennel bulbs, thinly sliced crosswise, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
1 firm, crisp apple (such as Pink Lady, Gala, or Granny Smith), julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add celery and celery leaves, thinly sliced fennel and chopped fennel fronds, and apple; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Recipes Using Various Types of Chili Powder

Recipes Using Various Types of Chili Powder

Keep your taste buds Fired Up with theserecipesusingvarious chili powders made from dried and ground Ancho, New Mexican, Chipotle, Aleppo,Anaheim andSerrano chilies.Each chili produces a unique flavor, smokiness, sweetness and heat level. These distinctions mean thateachchili will combine with other ingredientsdifferently to create a specific result and flavor profile. Enjoy and Fire ItUp! (more…)

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All About Garlic

All About Garlic

Garlic: A Love-Hate Relationship
Like generations before us, we seem to have a love-hate relationship with garlic.
For centuries garlic has been the bogeyman of ingredients. The upper classes thumbed their noses at its strong smell and considered it food fit only for laborers. Consequently, garlic was assigned strength- and endurance-building attributes. Egyptian slaves built the pyramids on a heavily garlic-fortified diet.
Some cultures have embraced garlic more fully than others. Southern European cooking uses it with a flourish, while in northern Europe, it is used only sparingly and is cooked more thoroughly to take the sting off its hot flavor. (more…)

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Sauteed Halibut with Saffron Broth, Potato Duo, Tomato Chips & Grilled Leeks

Halibut in Saffron Broth

Sauteed Halibut with Saffron Broth, Potato Duo, Tomato Chips & Grilled Leeks

In creating any dish the approach for me is to begin with a need. Why doI need to create this dish? What is the season? What is the reason? I don’t approach food just to create, for me that would be too easy, like turning on a machine and sooner or later it all becomes just pieces moving in a direction.

My approach to food is like my approach to life, Fired Up! So I take a path less traveled and use a different method in creating dishes. I call it boxing. Here is an article I wrote for Catersource Magazine about boxing. This will help illustrate the concept and hopefully open you to a new way of thinking about food.

Fire it up!

(more…)

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James Beard Dinner

118-ChefEric

James Beard Dinner

All I can say is wow. My team, the men from Green Light Media filming the event, the guests who dined, it was an amazing experience, one that will forever be in my mind as an epic event.

I wanted to share the experience with you and some of the the fun we had at the Beard house.

First allow me to thank my great friend Fred Luberto from Fabulous Foods who allowed me to use his kitchen to prep the entire meal. You see, the place I was working at when the Beard house asked me to come and cook was no longer part of my life, so it made it for a interesting time, but now worries, I was committed to the dinner and I would never, ever let my friends at the Beard house down, especially since it sold out so quickly.

The James Beard House is a very special place for many, for me its a place to share food, ideas and give back to a foundation that is very important to the culinary industry. James Beard was a pioneer of American cuisine, he influenced a generation of chefs to look at local products before it was what it is today.

You are what you eat not only because food is nutrition, but also because food is an integral part of our everyday lives. Food is economics, politics, entertainment, culture, fashion, family, passionand nourishment. The James Beard Foundation is at the center of Americas culinary community, dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives.

A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by offering a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture. These programs include educational initiatives, food industry awards, an annual national food conference, Leadership Awards program, culinary scholarships, and publications. In addition to maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York Citys Greenwich Village as a performance space for visiting chefs, the Foundation has created a robust online community, and hosts tastings, lectures, workshops, and food-related art exhibits in New York City and around the country

For this event I had my Sous Chef Kristi and lead cook Juan helping me, I also had for students from the CIA come down and assist. In addition a childhood friend Phyllis came down from Boston with one of her team members Lisa to help with this event as well. Last but not least was Mike from the Culinary Art Institute who was just brilliant.

I was very blessed to have Alan Watts and Anthony Scillia from Greenlight Media there to film the entire process of the dinner for an upcoming project that we are working on. They spent the entire day there in addition to 3 other days in the kitchen with me to get the entire process on film from concept to execution and everything in between.

So, the vehicles were packed with product, equipment, menus, give aways and cookbooks. The dinner has been sold out for a couple of weeks now and the anticipation was building, I was actually a little nervous, excited,but nervous. It wasnt my first event, not my first dinner at the Beard house, it was my 5th, but there was something special here, something that I couldnt explain.