Sunday, July 24, 2016

Delicious Farro Salad

I know I sound like a broken record about how much I like Melissa Clark's recipes (and Mark Bittman's) but I can't help it. Some time take a look at her videos on the New York Times Cooking site. She's a sort of no-nonsense cook and I like that. One of these days I may make something she recommends and it will fall short but that hasn't been the case yet. Turns out this farro salad is fabulous. I did not have all the same ingredients but I had enough and some decent substitutes so I soldiered on and it was still fabulous! In the directions I will put my substitutions in parentheses. You can make it to her specifications if you prefer. OR, you can make it just like I did!


  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 70 grams Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler (1/2 cup) ( I used 1/2 cup shredded Parm)
  • 70 grams chopped pistachio nuts (1/2 cup) (I used chopped pecans)
  • 2 cups arugula leaves (I used chopped romaine)
  • 1 cup parsley or basil leaves, torn (I did not have either!)
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • ¾ cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  •  cup thinly sliced radish
  •  Maldon or other flaky sea salt, for finishing

  • Nutritional Information


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.
  2. In a salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. This salad base will keep for up to 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before serving). Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish and flaky salt to taste.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Shrimp with Artichokes and Peas

So, be forewarned this dish calls for 1/2 stick of butter. Still interested? Read on. I recently read that butter is really not so terrible for you after all? Ha possibly wishful thinking.

1/2 lb medium size shrimp, cleaned or thaw 1/2 lb of frozen shrimp
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (quartered) and save a couple T of marinade
3 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
1/2 stick butter
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1/3 cup dry white wine
shredded parmesan

Pkg of uncle Ben's Brown and Wild Rice

Briefly sauté the garlic in the melted butter and a T of olive oil. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in wine and reserved marinade as well as artichokes and peas. Add shrimp and stir until opaque--shrimp cooks very quickly. Top with shredded parmesan. Serve over rice.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Flank Steak Enchiladas

Whenever I grill a flank steak I usually do one of two things with the leftovers: make steak sandwiches or steak salad. So, I got to thinking about making steak enchiladas and wow they were yum delish! I cheated by used Trader Joe's bottled Enchilada Sauce but is that really a crime? I think not!

Take a gander at these beauties:


1/2 lb grilled flank steak, sliced thinly
1 red pepper sliced
1 medium onion sliced
1 t chili powder
1 t garlic powder
1 t cumin
1 t oregano
olive oil
8 whole wheat flour tortillas
1 bottle Trader Joe Enchilada Sauce
8 oz shredded Mexican blend cheese

optional: sour cream, jalapenos, and salsa

Sauté the onions and peppers in a bit of olive oil and add the spices for about 5 minutes. Add the meat and and stir around. Divide among the 8 tortillas: adding some meat/pepper mixture, a little cheese and roll up burrito style. Place in baking dish and pour sauce over all and then sprinkle cheese over all and bake for 20 minutes at 350. Let sit a few minutes before attempting to serve.

Good with rice and beans.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Corn with Tomatoes, Mint and Feta

This is a super easy and yummy salad from Mark Bittman, NYT.


  • 2 to 3 cups raw or cooked corn kernels (from 4 to 6 ears)
  • 1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into fairly small pieces
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the corn, tomatoes, and cheese in a medium salad bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss.
  2. Add the mint leaves and toss again. Taste and add salt and pepper. Serve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quick Cobbler

I hardly ever make desserts, but sometimes you just want something sweet. This is pretty good!

4 T butter
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or regular milk)
2 cups blueberries (or any other berries, peaches, etc)
1 T sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350.

Put butter in small cast iron skillet or 8 or 9 inch pan-set in oven to melt.

Whisk flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Add milk; whisk to form a smooth batter. Pour batter into skillet, then scatter fruit over batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1 T sugar.

Bake until batter browns and fruit bubbles, 50 to 60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temp with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hawaiian Pasta Salad

Have you ever made a dish because you happened to have the combination of ingredients on hand? I made this pasta dish because I happened to have half a bag of bow ties, some leftover ham and few pineapple rings. Funny thing is, the salad was really tasty and I would actually go out and buy these ingredients to make it again.

Hawaiian Pasta Salad

  • 8 oz rotini or bow tie pasta
  • 1 (14oz) can pineapple tidbits, juice reserved
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 cups diced ham
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or dressing
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • black pepper to taste


Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cold water.
Whisk together all dressing ingredient until smooth.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl gently toss with dressing, Refrigerate 2 hours before serving.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Eggplant with Lamb

I really like Melissa Clark, food writer for the New York Times. I like her cooking videos as well as the recipes she develops. Recently I saw this recipe and the back story she offered. Instead of paraphrasing I just decided to copy her words below:

With its layers of golden eggplant, cinnamon-scented lamb, and sweet tomato sauce topped with melted cheese, this traditional Lebanese dish is made for celebratory meals and gatherings. Even better, it’s just as good served warm or room temperature as it is hot from the oven. It also reheats well, meaning that you can bake it the day before, and reheat it before serving if you like. Pull it out of the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature for an hour, then reheat it covered for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees.


  • 2 large firm eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground lamb 
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  Black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
    Nutritional Information


  1. Heat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
  2. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Arrange slices on prepared baking sheet and broil in batches until they are deep mahogany brown, turning once halfway through, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
  3. Adjust the oven to 375 degrees with rack positioned in the center.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, but not browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ground lamb or beef, stirring frequently and breaking up meat into very small pieces with the side of a metal spoon. Season with remaining teaspoon salt, cinnamon and pepper. Sauté until meat is just cooked through. Taste and add more salt or pepper, or both, as needed.
  5. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add pine nuts and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir nuts to coat them with butter and continue stirring constantly until nuts are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Keep a close watch over the nuts; they can burn quickly once they begin to brown. Transfer nuts to a bowl while still warm and salt them lightly.
  6. Coat a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish. Lay 1/3 of the eggplant slices in a single layer over the sauce, covering as much surface area of the bottom of the dish as possible. Spoon half the meat evenly over eggplant. Pour 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce evenly over meat. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the pine nuts. Layer again with eggplant, meat, tomato sauce and pine nuts. Finish with a layer of eggplant and cover with more tomato sauce, sprinkling top with pine nuts.
  7. Pour 1 cup warm water around the perimeter of the baking dish. (Sauce will thicken as it bakes.) Cover pan with foil and bake for 90 minutes. Remove foil and top eggplant evenly with mozzarella. Bake for 15 minutes longer, uncovered, or until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve eggplant warm, over rice.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sheet Pan Dinner

Melissa Clark from the NYT recently posted a dinner she made using a couple of sheet pans and cooking everything in the oven at the same temp. The menu looked yummy to me so I recreated it tonight and it was as good as it looked in her video. The chicken takes a little prep but the broccoli and sweet potato are quick. For the timing, prepare the potato and stick in oven. Then do the chicken and then the broccoli.

  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks (or a mixture), patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  •  cup plain dried bread crumbs
  •  Olive oil, for drizzling
    • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
    • 1 huge sweet potato
    • sprigs of fresh thyme
    • broccoli florets

HEAT OVEN TO 425 DEGREES. Slice the poato in 1 inch slices, sticking a sprig of thym ein between the slices. wrap in foil, put in dish and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. 

 In a small bowl, combine whole-grain mustard, thyme leaves, and garlic cloves. Remove a Tablespoon of that mixture and stir into the 1/2 cup of yogurt. Refrigerate the yogurt for later. Then add butter and Dijon mustard to the mixture in the bowl.

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Rub mustard butter mixture all over chicken (some might fall off but that’s O.K.). Place bread crumbs in a wide, shallow bowl, then coat the chicken evenly with bread crumbs. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. Bake until chicken is golden and no longer pink, 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Drizzle broccoli with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and bake 20 minutes.
  4. Serve the potato slices with a dollop of the yogurt mixture.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Minted Shrimp with Sambal

I happened to have a bunch of fresh mint and I always have frozen shrimp in the freezer so this dinner came together fast. There is a bit of chopping but I used two shortcuts: ready made sambal from Trader Joe's and Uncle Ben's Microwave Brown rice.

Serves two:

16 large shrimp (thawed if frozen)
1 T honey
juice from one large lime
t of salt
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 cloves of garlic sliced
2 T sesame oil
4 large scallions sliced thinly. white and green parts kept separate
2 T white wine

Trader Joe Sambal (condiment)


Mix the honey, lime juice, salt and mint with the shrimp

In skillet, heat sesame oil, add the garlic and stir--don't let it brown. Add the white part of the green onion. Next add the shrimp mixture and cook for several minutes until shrimp is cooked. Add the green part of the scallions and black pepper-stir. Serve over rice with a dollop of sambal on top. Very delish!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pesto Beans

Sometimes you want to jazz up your side dish--especially if the meal is on the lighter side. Good old green beans seem down right special if you after steaming you throw in some halved cherry tomatoes and a T of pesto (I had a jar in the fridge) and maybe a dash of olive oil.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Fish Bowl!

You all know how much I love a bowl dinner. In this one you have easy peasy Uncle Ben's Wild Rice, snap peas, roast butternut squash and sautéd cod.  You could make a million substitutes with this dinner. I used cubed frozen squash that you just toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. The fish is frozen cod, thawed, floured and seasoned with salt and pepper and then sautéed in butter. After I removed the fish from the pan, I added a 1/4 cup sherry vinegar and two chopped scallions to make a quick sauce. Simple but good!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Quick go to dish

I always find that when I want a quick go to dish that always makes everyone happy, I can't miss with sautéed peppers, onion and sausages. Use whatever combo you like: what I have here is turkey andouille sausage, yellow pepper and sweet onion.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Black Bean Corn Salad

Oh, wow, this salad is really good. If you happen to have three leftover cobs of corn, you're in business. I guess you could always use thawed frozen corn, but it wouldn't be quite the same.

3 cobs of corn (cooked) cut corn off cob
1 can back beans rinsed and drained
1 red pepper chopped
1 shallot sliced
1 garlic clove, minced

juice from 3 limes
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1 t sugar
7 T olive oil

Mix all of the above and refrigerate for several hours.

Before serving, bring to room temp and serve with chopped fresh basil, chopped avocado and some chopped green onion. Goes great as a side to burgers or barbecue.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Who's a Fool?

Mark Bittman (from the NYT) has a great simple dessert, Strawberry Fool. It's the perfect kind of dish for someone who is "dessert-challenged" like me!

  • 1 pint strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar, or to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

    1. Hull strawberries, then wash them and chop into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Toss with half the sugar, and wait 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they give up their juices.
    2. Place half the strawberries and all the juice in a blender, and puree. Pour puree back in bowl with chopped strawberries.
    3. Whip the cream with remaining sugar and vanilla until cream is stiff and holds peaks easily. Fold berries and cream together, and serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two hours.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pineapple Pesto Turkey Burger

I saw this burger advertised in a magazine. The ad was for pineapple but the picture of this burger looked really good. I decided to get the necessary ingredients and try it out. Delicious combo!

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup of frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
4 T prepared pesto sauce
salt and pepper

lettuce leaves
hamburger rolls
pepper jack cheese
pineapple rings

Mix the turkey, spinach salt and pepper and 2 T pesto sauce. Form into 5 patties and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Grill on medium heat for a total of about 20 minutes, flipping after ten. Grill the rolls and the pineapple during last 5 minutes or so.

To serve, layer with lettuce, burger, slice of cheese, a t of pesto and a pineapple ring.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

2 oz vodka
2 T strawberry puree
dash of Limoncello
crushed ice

Shake shake shake

Pour over fine mesh strainer into chilled martini glass-Enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Zucchini Casserole

Zucchini all by itself can be somewhat boring. I looked in the cupboard and fridge and decided to jazz it up a bit and this dish turned out pretty well. It was just what I needed as a side to some left over grilled chicken.

4 cups chopped zucchini
1 large onion chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar-divided into one cup portions
2 beaten eggs
salt and pepper
garlic powder
5 slices hearty multi-grain wheat bread, toasted and cubed
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix all the ingredients together except 1 cup of cheese. Turn into a greased 8 X 11 baking dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 30  minutes.