Sometimes I have a craving, but a key ingredient will be missing. This doesn’t stop me from trying to come up with an alternative. A couple of weeks ago I really wanted baked breaded chicken. However, there where no breadcrumbs where I was staying and the super market was all out. What was available to me were pecans. In lieu of breadcrumbs, I used the pecans and the results were delicious. The new coating needed refining. With a few more experimentations I got it down and added it as a coating over fish. I made sure to use a sustainably caught fish, and the results was delicious. The crust comes out perfect and super tasty. What’s best is how incredibly easy this is to make. Serve with a salad, and potatoes or rice. I made a homemade asian slaw to pair with the fish This could be your new fish and chips recipe.
I wrote the recipe using a wire rack when baking. This is the easiest way to ensure a golden crust all around. for my part I used my cast iron pan because it’s perfectly seasoned. I don’t even need to spray it and the crust is evenly crisped all over. If you have one, feel free to swap and skip lining a baking sheet.
Happy eating friends!
1/2 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Cornmeal
2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 1/4 pounds skinless Cod fillet, or Haddock fillet, or other thick white fish fillet (1 to 1 ½ inches thick), cut into 4 pieces (see step 2)
- Position rack on top shelf in oven. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack on top. Lightly spray or brush rack with vegetable oil.
- Pat fish dry with paper towels. Slice fillets in half lengthwise to form long pieces.
- Pulse pecans in food processor until pecans is coarsely ground, eight 1-second pulses.
- In a pie plate or wide shallow dish, whisk eggs with milk. In another dish, stir cornmeal with, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper.
- Working with 1 piece of fish at a time, dip into egg mixture, then lightly coat with pecan mixture. Turn to coat evenly. Shake off excess pecan. Coat fish in egg and pecan mixture again. Shake off excess coating, then place on rack. Repeat with remaining fish, 1 piece at a time. Discard any remaining egg or pecan mixtures.
- Bake fish until instant-read thermometer inserted into centers of fillets registers 140 degrees, 18 to 25 minutes. The coating should be crisp and brown. Using thin spatula, transfer fillets to individual plates and serve immediately.
Using what is at hand can spark the greatest creativity. The beautiful country bread I had from the previous post and the last of summer tomatoes inspired this weeks delicious appetizer/mid-day snack.
I love a good bruschetta or crostini. Older breads are good to use for this recipe. Be sure to adjust toasting time. For older dryer bread take off 2-2.5 minutes. The olive oil will give the toast a nice light browning. You can vary the toppings using cheese as a spread and cucumbers. Have fun mixing it up.
Happy eating friends!
1 loaf country Bread, about 12 by 5 inches, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces, ends discarded (reserve to use in other recipe)
2 pounds ripe Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 can (15 ounces) Cannellini or Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup Good Olive Oil, divided
2 tbsp Good Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Garlic (about 1 clove), minced
2 tbsp Red Onion, minced
2 tbsp fresh Sage, julienned
3 tbsp fresh Basil, julienned
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Up to an hour before serving, combine onion, garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Whisk in 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the tomatoes, stir gently, and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in the basil and taste for seasonings.
- In a medium bowl place the beans, sage, 1/3 cup olive oil, and lightly salt. Mash with potato masher until smooth and well blended. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat oven to 350º. Lightly brush the bread slices with remaining olive oil and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.
- To assemble the bruschetta, spread each slice of bread with a generous amount of bean spread. With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on top. Serve with extra drizzle of olive oil and basil.
The first time I ever had bread and butter pudding I was in northern England. It was love at first bite. How can something this easy be so delicious. Well butter and sugar can work their magic on almost anything. I do not have much of a sweet tooth. For my part I usually want to fill up on something savory and healthy, but every once in a while it is fun to indulge.
The other benefit of this recipe is you get to use up day old bread starting to go stale. So often I buy a nice hearty bread to make a sandwich or dip in soup. I can never use it all up in one sitting. The better the bread the faster it starts to go stale. By the next day it feels more like a crouton. Instead of throwing it out, you can make this delicious dessert.
Fall happens to be one of my favorite seasons. The beautiful colors light up the landscape drawing you out promising wonderful weather. It is also a time where our harvest changes. Pumpkins are everywhere supplying an abundance of vitamin A and other nutrients. By adding pumpkin and nuts to this dessert we have made it healthier. Enjoy with ice cream or whip cream.
Happy eating friends!
5 large Eggs
3 large Egg whites
3 1/2 cups whole Milk
3/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Light Brown Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp Salt
1 can Pumpkin puree
2 tbsp unsalted Butter, divided
8 cups day-old Challah, firm high-quality Sandwich Bread, or Hearty White Bread may be substituted – cut bread into cubes (1/2-inch)
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
- Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 325 degrees.
- Spread bread cubes in single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Bake, tossing occasionally, until just dry, about 15 minutes. Cool bread cubes about 15 minutes.
- Whisk eggs and egg whites in a large bowl. Whisk in milk, 3/4 cup brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined. Add pumpkin and stir until incorporated.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Coat a shallow 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Add bread and disperse 1 tablespoon of butter in small chunks among the bread.
- Pour the pudding mixture over the bread and butter. Let stand for 30 minutes, pressing the bread down into the liquid a few times to help it absorb the custard.
- Disperse remaining tablespoon of butter in chunks over the top. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar evenly over the top.
- Cover the pan with a piece of foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with pecans and continue baking until puffed and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Our main purpose here is to eliminate food waste. Even with the best intentions this can be difficult. With our busy lives, sometimes even planning our meals still doesn’t prevent us from having to throw out rotten vegetables. These days I am often traveling and come home to veggies starting to look a little wrinkled. Believe it or not you can create some pretty delicious meals with these bruised beauties. Check out this beautiful Thai/Indian inspired dish I made using veggies on their last leg. The best part of this dish is how easily adaptable it is.
As I was creating this dish I started thinking of other ways I could put this meal together that would be just as wonderful. Instead of chicken using fish and adding butternut squash would keep it seasonal and healthy. To make it easy for you to be creative, I listed which ingredients were optional and provided tips for where to add your add-ins.
This dish has a lovely texture and is very fragrant. Enjoy it with rice and see if you can stop going back for more.
Happy eating friends!
1 lb boneless, skinless Chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp Conola oil
1 Onion, grated on large holes of box grater
1 tbsp grated fresh Ginger
2 cloves Garlic, finely minced
1 fully ripe Tomato, diced or 1 1/2 cups packaged diced tomatoes
1 tsp Garam Masala (can be substituted with a combo of cinnamon, cumin, coriander & nutmeg)
1/4 tsp Chili or Cayenne powder
1/2 tsp Salt
freshly ground Black Pepper
1 can Coconut Milk
1/4 cup Basil, lightly sliced
1/4 cup Water
1 Red or Yellow Pepper, seeded and cubed (optional)
1-2 fresh Chili peppers, cut in half lengthwise and deseed (optional)
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and swirl in the oil. When the oil is heated, add the onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the heat to medium-low and let the aromatics cook slowly. Saute until very fragrant and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Use your spatula to smash the tomatoes a bit, and break them up. It should start to look like a paste. Tip: If you are using a tomato starting to go use 1/2 cup of packaged chopped tomatoes as well. It will add the needed juice to create the paste consistency.
- Add the red/yellow pepper, garam masala, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium-high. Tip: When you add the seasonings add any extra vegetables you may want to include.
- Pour in the coconut milk and the water.
- Once the coconut milk is mixed in add in the chicken, chili pepper and basil. When the mixture comes to a good boil, lower heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Tip: For fish, add in the basil, and chili first then bring mixture to a boil before adding the fish. To not over cook the fish check it after 4 minutes.
A pureed soup is a great way to use up extra vegetables. I still had the Peruvian potatoes to use up from last week. Adding the cauliflower and beans makes this a very tasty healthy soup. The cheddar cheese gives it a wonderful richness without being to heavy. I topped it off with crisped up sage in butter.
This is a meal you can have ready within 20 minutes. Your kids will love this soup and be none the wiser they’re having veggies. Serve with a nice piece of bread and top with a little extra cheese.
Happy eating friends!
1 14 oz packet Vegetable Broth or low-sodium Chicken Broth
1 cup Water
1 head Cauliflower (2 pounds), trimmed and chopped
1 lb small Potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 14 oz can Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1 small Onion, cubed
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tsp Sage, finely sliced – divided
3 tbsp Butter, divided
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, garlic, and 1/2 the sage; cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, but not browned, about 7 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high; add water, stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower, cover and reduce heat to medium low, return to simmer, and continue to cook until cauliflower and potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer.
- Stir in beans, salt and pepper and cook until the beans are heated through, about 1 minute.
- Transfer half the mixture to a blender with half the cheese and puree. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower mixture and cheese.
- In small frying pan melt 2 tablespoons butter. Fry remaining sage. Once sage is crisped up, serve over soup, about 2 minutes.
This week I wanted to share my weekday comfort dish. For those long days, I can hunker down with this meal, and my day is brightened. Over the years this dish has developed from how I saw my family prepare chicken to what always accompanied it, rice and lots of vegetables.
It is a super easy dish to put together and very well-rounded. The Peruvian potatoes have become popular, but if you can’t find them, use red potatoes. I usually use two Habanero peppers but the farmers market had other options equally tempting. Serve with rice and a basic salad of lettuce and tomatoes with a simple dressing of olive oil and lime.
Happy eating friends!
Serves 4 – 6
5 – 6 Whole Chicken Legs, 4 – 5 lbs.
2 Hot Peppers – Poblano, Habanero, or Jalapeño, seeded & roughly chopped
1 medium Onion, roughly chopped
2 medium Peppers, seeded & roughly chopped
5-6 small Potatoes – Peruvian Purple or Red, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 Garlic cloves, divided
1-2 Beer – Corona or other inexpensive kind is good
1 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped & divided
1 tablespoon Canola Oil
1/2 tablespoon of Salt
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon Cumin powder
1/2 tablespoon Adobo powder
- Rinse the chicken and place in a medium-sized container. Sprinkle with salt and add pepper to taste. Add 1/2 tablespoon cilantro and 2 whole garlic cloves smashed. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hr minimum. Hint: The longer you leave it the better it will taste.
- Set oven-rack to lower middle. Pre-heat oven to 450°.
- In a medium-sized baking dish add vegetables. Drain the chicken and arrange among the vegetables. Mince the last of the garlic and sprinkle on top with the rest of the cilantro. Season with adobo, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Pour oil over chicken and vegetables. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until chicken skin is browned and cooked through. Baste halfway through at 20 minutes with remainder of beer, about 2 tablespoon.
This dish is an old favorite I used to make at the request of many friends, and clients alike. Roasting the Brussels Sprouts brings out their nutty flavor, which pairs well with the mushrooms. I can’t remember where I saw the original recipe. I only remember it suggesting more woody mushrooms such as chanterelles, which can be very expensive. I have since adapted it to a mix of chanterelles, cremini, and shiitake. The latter two are more readily available at your local grocery store.
If you are buying loose Brussels sprouts, select those that are about 1½ inches long. Quarter Brussels sprouts longer than 2½ inches; don’t cut sprouts shorter than 1 inch.
Happy eating friends!
1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (5 cups)
5 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Water
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 lb. Mushroom mix divided 1/4 lb. Cremini, 1/4 lb. Shiitake and 1/4 lb. wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles or hedgehogs, halved if small or cut into 1-inch wedges (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
Freshly ground black pepper
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Toss Brussels sprouts with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, water, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in large bowl until sprouts are coated. Transfer sprouts to rimmed baking sheet and arrange so cut sides are facing down.
- Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook until Brussels sprouts are well browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 2 tablespoon of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a plate.
- Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the Brussels sprouts and cream. Stir in a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables nicely, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Often when I think of eggplant, I go to Italian or mediterranean dishes, how about a unique Japanese dish. You will find this recipe easy to follow, and for little effort, you will produce a culinary master piece. Nasu Dengaku is most like a creme brûlée. The eggplant becomes creamy and the Miso glaze gives it a savory caramelized top.
Eggplant is in season, making the different varieties abundant, and easy to find. You can make this recipe using the larger varieties, but you have to add cooking time when cooking in the pan. The smaller varieties are easier to cook and achieve that creamy texture. Serve as a side with rice or as an appetizer at parties.
Happy eating friends!
1 tbsp Mirin
1 tbsp Sake
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp White Miso
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
2 small Eggplant (or one medium/large)
2 tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Sliced Green Onions
- Place the mirin and sake in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the miso and stir until smooth. Stir in the sugar, and reduce to low. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, while you cook the eggplant.
- Slice eggplant in half and using a knife, score the inside in small squares. Brush the scored side with sesame oil.
- Pre-heat oven to broil. In a pan over high heat, add Canola oil and put the eggplant skin facing down.
- Cook for a few minute until skin is brown. Turn the eggplant over and cover with a lid. Cook until eggplant is cooked through (about 3 to 4 minutes).
- Cover a cooking tray with foil and place the eggplant on top. Brush miso Dengaku mix on top of each eggplant until all the surface is coated.
- Put in the oven and broil for 4 minutes. The miso mix should be bubbling and starting to caramelized when you take it out of the oven. Remove from heat, rest for 5 minutes and enjoy with sesame seeds and green onions!
Tip: For bigger eggplants score the inside even deeper so it will cook through more evenly.
Lately, every time I turn around, someone is giving me zucchini from their garden. There are so many recipes I can make with zucchini, but to use it up quickly requires some ingenuity. This recipe uses up one whole zucchini and one whole ear of corn. It is hearty, filling, and a delicious fun side to any summer cookout or just fun to have anytime.
I’ve been in a baking mood lately and have a new iron skillet I keep making excuses to use getting it well seasoned. I like the crispness it gives the cornbread. For this recipe it is not necessary to use an iron skillet, an oven-safe 10-inch skillet can be used in its place. Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch cake pan. Happy eating friends!
Serves 6 to 8
1 1/3 cups ground Cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose Flour
6 tablespoons unsalted Butter, cut into 6 pieces – melt 5 pieces & bring back to room temperature, reserve 1 tablespoon at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1/4 tablespoons Baking Soda
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar, divided
1 1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 Ear Corn, Kernels cut from cob
1 medium Zucchini
1 cup Buttermilk (can be swapped with organic whole milk – use a local one that still contains the fat)
2 large Eggs
- Trim the ends off the zucchini & thinly slice 3 to 5 rounds from one end & reserve for garnish. Shred the remaining zucchini. In a medium bowl add the shredded zucchini and fresh corn kernels, toss with 1 tablespoon of sugar and place in colander. Allow to drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze out any excess water before using.
- While the zucchini and corn is draining move the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 400º. In large bowl whisk cornmeal, flour, remaining sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, melted butter, and eggs.
- Gently stir in zucchini and corn mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and use a rubber spatula to gently fold together until no traces of flour remain.
- Prepare skillet or baking dish by coating with 1 tablespoon of softened butter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and top with the reserved zucchini slices.
- Bake until the bread is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool in the skillet for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. The bread can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
While taking a turn at a farmers market, I encountered sweet peas and was reminded of the best sweet pea soup I ever had in England. They had put mint in the soup and blended it well with cream. Since then I have tried my own variations until I came with this savory slightly spicy creamy green pea soup. Adding yogurt cools it and gives it a nice tangy twist.
Happy eating friends!
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 large Leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
1 medium Shallot, minced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
2 cans Garden Peas, rinsed (substitute with 1lb fresh peas)
2 medium Red Potatoes, chopped
1 Bay leaf
1 teaspoon Dill
1 Lemon, juiced
8 cups Chicken or Vegetable broth
1 cup Yogurt
Freshly ground Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper flakes
- In large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, shallots, and leeks. Sauté for 3 more minutes.
- Add broth, bay leaf, lemon juice, potatoes, and peas, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through.
- Working in 2 batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot and add dill. Heat mixture over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper; serve immediately. Serve with 2 tablespoons of yogurt and bread.