Category Archives: Recipes

October Recipe Contest Winner Announced!

Melissa McCabe won in our “Autumn Soups” contest for her delicious Roasted Cauliflower and Squash Soup

Tea Smoked Chicken Wings with a Honey Glaze

I made these last night and served with Thai-Style Slaw and some steamed brown jasmine rice.  Incredibly tasty and not-too-heavy meal!

Make these for a party and I guarantee they will be the first things to disappear.  Everyone, from kids to fussy old-timers, loves these scrumptious wings.

For the marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
1 thick chunk of ginger, 1 inch long
4 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons sesame oil

24 chicken wings

For the smoking mixture:
1/2 cup rice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup loose black tea, such as Lapsang Souchong or pekoe
6 whole cloves
3 star anise pods
1 tablespoon orange zest

For finishing:
2/3 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Special Equipment:
Smoker, such as Brinkman electric smoker

1.  Blend the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender.
2.  Place wings in zippered bag or bowl and pour marinade over. Toss to coat wings, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
3.  Preheat smoker.  In a bowl, mix all smoking mixture ingredients together.
4.  From double layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, make a tray small enough to fit on heat source in smoker.  Put 1/2 the smoking mixture in tray. (Do not use a water bath for this smoking.) Place tray directly on heat source.
5.  Place wings on oiled rack and place rack on lowest level in smoker.
6.  After 30 minutes, remove tray and pour in the remaining smoking mixture.  Return to smoker.
7.  Smoke for 30 minutes more or until done.
8.  Remove to serving platter and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Music in the kitchen – Jason Vieaux

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Thai Style Slaw

Crunchy cabbage, refreshing lime, dressed up with mint, basil and cilantro – a heavenly salad! This is a favorite in our house, where the young ones will only eat cabbage when prepared in this fashion. You can have it as a side with a meal, as a starter, or use it as a base to top with roasted chicken, grilled shrimp or grilled, thinly sliced top sirloin. The portions here feed 4 as a side, 2 for a main dish salad.

3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon nam pla (fish sauce)
4 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage or tender green cabbage
1/2 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 carrots, peeled and finely julienned
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1.  In a non-reactive bowl, mix lime juice, oil, sugar and nam pla.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2.  Add the vegetables and herbs and toss to coat.  Let rest 1/2 hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.

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Great Soup and Salad Dinner

I have been traveling for a week, and as it often goes with travel, I have been eating out for every meal, which means eating rich. A simple dinner of soup and salad is the perfect meal after a few days of excessive indulgence.

The Creamed Garbanzo Bean Soup featured here is really easy to make, uses convenience foods, and is extremely satisfying.   Paired with our classic Caesar Salad and some crusty bread, you have a delicious healthy dinner on the table in less than 45 minutes.

Creamed Garbanzo Bean Soup


1/3 cup diced bacon (approximately 2 ounces)
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 14-ounce cans garbanzo beans
5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Optional garnishes: Slivered basil leaves, rosemary sprigs, sage flowers, snipped chives

1.    In a large pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until just done, but not crispy.
2.    Turn heat to medium-low, then add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
3.    Add the tomatoes, beans, broth and sage and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a low simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
4.    Puree soup in batches in a blender or food processor.  It does need to entirely smooth.
5.    Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 4.

Caesar Salad

This is the classic Caesar Salad, with the convenience of anchovy paste, which is readily available in grocery stores.

1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
¼ cup olive oil
1 egg, dropped in boiling water for 1 minute
1 large head Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup croutons (optional)

1. Mash garlic with salt in large wooden or glass bowl.
2. Add mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and anchovy paste and whisk until smooth.
3.  Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.  Whisk in egg.
4.  When ready to serve, add lettuce and most of the cheese and croutons.  Toss to coat lettuce with dressing.  Top with reserved cheese and croutons.

Serves 2.

Music in the kitchen – Twice Upon a Time, Siouxsie and the Banshees

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No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

August does not make me want to turn on the oven.  But, sometimes I want a homemade cookie anyway.  I loved these as a child. In fact, I am pretty sure they were the first sweet I ever made myself, around age 9. The cookies take all of 10 minutes to make, and they are so satisfying – chocolatey and chewy, sort of fudge meets oatmeal cookie. You can use any milk, but I use evaporated because that is what I grew up with. I also used quick-cook oats as a child, but now I only have old fashioned oats in the house, and have found they work great.

½ cup butter
½ cup evaporated milk
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups oats

1.    Combine all ingredients in heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Boil for 3 minutes, then turn off heat.
2.    Let sit for 6 minutes.  Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto non-stick baking mat or waxed paper.
3.    When firm, cover with plastic wrap.

Music in the kitchen – Prince, The Gold Experience

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Grilled Shrimp Stuffed with Basil-Garlic Butter

Easy, simple and delicious! This is how we want to cook in the summer heat – minimal prep, quickly cooked on the grill, with all the flavors evocative of summer. It is also a great do-ahead dish – you can make this in the morning, refrigerate, and grill right before serving. The quantity given here will serve 2 generously for dinner with a simple side, such as salad, or serve 4 as a starter.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch of salt
Generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, size U15 (also known as jumbo), in their shells, deveined
Juice of 1/2 lemon (you don’t have to juice it ahead – just squeeze it on the dish)
Lemon wedges for serving.

1.    In a bowl, combine butter, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.
2.    Gently push butter mixture under the shell of the shrimp, pressing any excess into back.
3.    Preheat grill.  Place shrimp on grill and cook for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until firm but not dry.  (During cooking, watch carefully and be prepared to throw some water on any flare-ups.  Butter does ignite!)
4.    Place on serving platter and squeeze lemon juice over all.  Garnish with lemon wedges.

Music in the kitchen – “Why”, The New Orleans Social Club

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Zucchini Stuffed with Tomatoes and Onions

It is summertime and the farmer’s markets are brimming with fresh vegetables.  I love stuffed zucchini in all its forms.  This recipe allows the simple flavors of the fresh vegetables and basil to shine through, and presents beautifully when made with Ronde de Nice, those wonderful round, pale green zucchinis.

4 medium zucchini (Ronde de Nice preferred)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large ripe tomato, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup grated fontina or jack cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch of cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1.    Preheat oven to 400ºF.
2.    Split zucchini in half lengthwise.  Using a teaspoon, scoop out flesh, reserving, creating a hollow for stuffing.  Place zucchini shells in baking dish. Chop reserved flesh of zucchini.
3.    In large frying pan, heat oil and add onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, then add pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes.  Add chopped zucchini pulp and garlic and sauté until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes more.
4.    Pour mixture into bowl and add tomatoes, 1/2 of the basil, the fontina, and 1/2 of the parmesan.  Season with cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
5.    Fill shells with cooked mixture, then top with remaining parmesan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until zucchini shells are tender and tops are golden.
6.    Garnish with remaining basil.

Music in the kitchen – Coco Montoya, Women Have a Way with a Fool

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Arugula Salad with Prosciutto, Mushrooms, and Fennel

The Foodie Kitchen Recipe contest has provided a great way to show off my reader’s recipes and share ideas about cooking.  Juliette Fiore’s lovely salad won a prize in one of our contests for Entree Salads. The presentation is elegant, and the rich flavors of fennel and prosciutto are delicious with arugula and endive.

On a particularly hot day, you can avoid your stove AND your grill by preparing this flavorful salad.

3 cups arugula
1/2 Belgian endive, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 white mushrooms sliced 1/8″
6 thin slices fennel
4 slices prosciutto, each cut in half
8 wide shavings of Parmesan cheese (can substitute Pecorino)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1. Make vinaigrette by whisking oil and vinegar; then add salt and pepper.
2. Toss arugula and endive with half the vinaigrette.
3. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts over salad greens.
4. Separately, toss mushrooms & fennel with a bit of vinaigrette before placing on salad greens.
4. Arrange prosciutto and cheese on top.
5. Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Music in the kitchen – Ligabue, Giro D ‘Italia

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Ginger-Glazed Grilled Pork Chops

In the heat of summer, my go-to method of cooking is usually something that has minimal prep time and can be thrown on the grill.  This fits the bill and also happens to be a great family entrée.  It has enough depth of flavor for the foodie adults, yet it is full of flavors that kids enjoy.  Use any pork chops you wish – the thickness or the presence of bones is simply a personal preference.  You can even use this marinade on pork tenderloin.

Marinade:
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons medium-dry sherry
2 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh gingerroot
4 pork chops

1.    Combine all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until well blended.
2.    Place pork chops in plastic bag (or glass baking pan).  Pour marinade over and seal, turning a few times to coat.  Let marinate 2 to 4 hours.
3.    Prepare grill and cook chops, brushing with additional marinade, turning once, until done.

Serves 4

Music in the kitchen – Mellow Drops, Where Do We Go from Here

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Happy Independence Day!

Here is a quick and easy dessert to take to the BBQ.  It’s perfect for the season and theme-appropriate for today.

You will need a cake, some strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream (canned is fine, and actually makes the assembly easier).

  1. Buy or make a yellow or white cake. You can use a box mix if you wish, but it is super-easy to whip up a homemade cake. I used BettyR’s recipe that I found on TheFreshLoaf.com – it was quite good.
  2. Slice up a pint or more of strawberries, toss them with a bit of raw sugar (you can use white sugar or agave syrup, but I find raw sugar provides the best flavor). Let them sit for at least 30 minutes to allow sugar to dissolve.
  3. If you are assembling right before serving, you can skip this step: spread a thin layer of whipped cream all over cake.  This will keep the berry juices from draining into the cake.
  4. Place blueberries in a square in the upper left corner of the cake.  This will be your star field.
  5. Use the whipped cream to paint the white stripes of the flag.  Don’t expect to get all 13 stripes on this cake – 4 stripes of whipped cream and 5 stripes of strawberries is about the right ratio.
  6. Squirt some whipped cream stars onto the star field.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, gently place the strawberries in between the whipped cream stripes.
  8. Enjoy!

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