" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Go Big or Go Home

This is a busy time of year for parties, dinner and entertaining.

If you are looking to impress dinner guests then go find the biggest  shrimp  or prawns you can find and make this dish.
I found mine frozen at Costco, largest I have ever seen and they taste just like lobster.
This dish is so easy to make and takes very little time to assemble.
It will leave you lots of time mix and mingle and dance the night away.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Everyone!

Giant Prawns in Seasoned Garlic Butter


  • 12  Giant  Shrimp or  Prawns
  • 1/2 lb of butter
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 425F

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add spices and garlic mix well.
Arrange shrimp in a casserole dish.
Pour butter mixture over top.
Bake in the oven until shrimp are pink. About 20 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Wine Suggestion: Prosecco

Cheers!




Stir Crazy

As the holiday season swings into high gear we can find ourselves overwhelmed with all that has to be done. 
Shopping, decorating, visiting, parties, baking, exams and more it can leave little time for other things.
This is a fast meal that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.  You can use beef if you wish but I chose ground turkey to keep it lean and light. 
Leftovers can be tucked into a wrap for lunch the next day.


Spicy Moroccan Stir Fry

  • 1 pound of ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 large carrot and yellow pepper cut into thin pieces
  • 1 small onion diced 
  • 1/2 cup of peas
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp each of ginger, coriander, cumin and cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of chicken broth
In a skillet heat a bit of oil and brown the chicken until crumbly.
Add the vegetables and spices and mix well.
Add the broth and bring to a low boil reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve over hot couscous.

Wine Suggestion: Gewurztraminer

Cheers!







The Root of it All

As I have mentioned before I am a huge fan of buying local.
However at this time of year that can be difficult. Most of the produce in the stores in November are trucked in from the southern states. I find that this produce is not  fresh and very overpriced.
With that in mind one has to think about what is in season locally. Certainly not lettuce or asparagus.
In the fall root vegetables are at their cheapest and are plentiful.
 Two of my favorites are sweet potatoes and beets.
Both are known as super foods, chock full of nutrients that contribute to good health.

This recipe has them roasted in the oven which brings out the sweetness.
This is a great side dish for pork or salmon.


Roasted Root Vegetables


  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1tsp each of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp each of thyme and oregano
  • 2 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 6 small beets peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 325 F

In a small bowl combine the oil and spices
Place vegetables in a baking dish.
Pour over oil mixture and toss to coat.
Bake in the oven until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.


Cheers!

Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching as I see people in grocery stores heaving big turkeys into their carts.
For some families a turkey may be too big or to time consuming, especially if you have a busy weekend planned.
Roasted chicken is a quicker alternative to a full size turkey as it cooks quicker and there are less leftovers.
This is a recipe for a honey roasted version made with buckwheat honey. This honey has a very distinct flavor that is great in cooking. You can use plain honey if that is all you have on hand. You can grill this chicken on the barbecue or roast it in the oven.

The second recipe is for a pilaf that features garlic scapes. I discovered these at the farmers market this summer. They look like long curled green onions and  have a very strong garlic flavor. Again if you can't find them just use garlic cloves instead.

  I would just like to thank my readers for supporting my blog and thank the websites that seek my blog out and feature me on their website. It really means a lot to me!
Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!



Honey Roasted Chicken with Garlic Mushroom Pilaf


  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 1/2 cup of buckwheat honey
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 tbs dried thyme leaves or 4 tbs fresh
Preheat oven or grill to 375F

Rinse and pat dry chicken. Place in roasting pan and place in oven or on grill(on opposite side burner is lit).
Meanwhile combine the rest of ingredients in a bowl.
When the chicken starts to brown begin brushing on the glaze every 20 minutes or so until chicken is golden and internal temperature reaches 180 F
Let stand for 10 minutes.


Garlic Mushroom Pilaf

  •  ~olive oil
  • 2 garlic scapes or cloves of garlic sliced
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • 4 large cremini mushrooms chopped
  • 1 tbs thyme
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 3 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
In a pot  heat the oil and saute the garlic, thyme, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Add the rice and toss to coat well.
Pour in the broth stir to mix.
Bring to a boil reduce heat and cover.
Simmer for 45 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender.
Fluff with a fork and serve.


Wine Suggestion: Riesling

Cheers!

Transition

 I think the summer went by really fast, seems like yesterday we were making summer plans and now tomorrow the kids head back to school.
So it begins...the transition from lazy summer days doing nothing to crazy hectic schedules, homework and lunch making. 
The weather today certainly feels like fall, cool and cloudy.
Makes me crave classic comfort foods like meat loaf.

This is a classic dish that can be assembled quickly and put in the oven while you catch up on other things. The leftovers make a great lunch the next day tucked into a bun or reheated.
You can use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter version. I prefer using oatmeal as a binder rather than breadcrumbs as it seems to hold together better and adds moisture if using lean meat.

Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans.






Classic Meat Loaf
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup of oatmeal (or bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 cup of ketchup , hot salsa or hot chili sauce
  •  1/4 cup of fresh sage
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 tbs dried leaf thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds of ground beef

Preheat oven to 400F

In a large bowl combine all ingredients except meat and mix well.
Add meat and combine to mix together.
Pat into a greased loaf pan.
Top with ketchup or hot sauce of choice and parsley.
Bake in the oven until the meat thermometer reads it is cooked in the center, about one hour.
Remove and let rest for 10 minutes. 
Slice and serve


Wine Suggestion: Malbec

Cheers!




    Stay Cool

     It's just too hot to do anything
    I mean I love summer..but this heat is insane.
    Sangria  is a great cocktail to beat the heat and takes minutes to make.
    It is a Spanish mix of red wine and fruit.
    You can vary the fruit you have to what ever you have on hand.
    Good choices are oranges, lemons, limes, apples, melons, berries, mangoes , peaches or grapes.

    So kick back , take it easy..and stay cool...

    Sangria
    • 1 bottle of red wine
    • 1/2 a bottle of lemon soda water
    • 2 cups of fruit juice such as tropical blend
    • 1 tbsp of sugar
    • 2 oz of brandy or apricot brandy
    • 1 cup of cut up fruit of choice 
    • ice cubes

    In a large pitcher combine in order and stir well.
    Chill and serve over ice.

    Cheers!











    Blame it on the Rain



    My herb garden is bigger than I have ever seen it. Guess I can blame all the rain for that. But I don't mind the over abundance of herbs at all , I am just so happy summer is here again.
    I've missed being in the garden, barbecuing and dining outside.

    Here are two easy recipes that take mere minutes to put together.
    The first is a orange infused steak that quietly marinates all afternoon allowing you to tend to the garden.
    The other is an easy side dish that throws together easily and cooks without much tending to allowing you to relax on the patio.
    You can vary the vegetables and seasoning amounts to suit your taste.

    I love easy summer living...lets just hope we stop getting so much rain!



    Citrus Pepper Steak

    • 1/2 cup of catalina type dressing
    • orange juice and zest from 1 orange
    • 2 green onions sliced
    • 1 tsp cracked peppercorn
    • 1 tsp minced garlic
    • 2 large beef sirloin steaks

    In a bowl mix all ingredients except meat. Reserve half for later.
    Place meat in a ziplock bag and pour in half of the dressing.
    Seal and rotate and flip bag to mix well.
    Place in fridge for at least 2 hours to marinate.

    Grill steaks to desired preference.
    Slice against the grain and place on platter on arranged  orange slices.
    Pour reserved dressing over top.



    Roasted Barbecue Vegetable Medley

    • 1 pound of small potatoes halved or quartered
    • 1/2 pound  baby carrots
    • 1/2  red pepper chopped
    • 1 cup of radishes sliced
    • 1/2 red onion sliced
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp each of oregano, basil, chives and parsley (may be dried or fresh)
    • 1/2 a cup of olive oil
    • 1/4 cup pf balsamic vinegar
    • salt and pepper
    In a disposable aluminum pan toss everything together until well coated.
    Seal with foil and place on top rack of barbecue set medium high until tender. (about half an hour) Mix halfway through.




    Cheers!

    Spring Fling

    Finally after  a really long winter and wet spring Mother Nature made it up to us, by giving us a warm sunny holiday weekend.
    Across the  region many people got their patios set up for a season of entertaining.

    This dish is a great appetizer for the patio. You can vary the toppings to suit your taste or theme. Such as substituting feta for cheddar for for a Greek twist. You could also add black beans to the topping as well.


    Bring it on sun!

    Mexican Party Dip

    • 1 cup of cream cheese softened
    • 1/2 cup of sour cream
    • 3/4 cup of salsa
    • 1 cup of cheddar grated fine
    • 2 green onions sliced
    • few black olives and grape tomatoes sliced for garnish

    Combine cream cheese and salsa in a bowl. Whip until smooth.
    Spread on a small platter.
    Top with salsa, cheese and remaining toppings.
    Chill until ready to serve.
    Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.


    Cheers!








    One Potato Two Potato...



    In case you missed it Tuesday was Pancake Day.

    We didn't have time to eat traditional pancakes in the morning so I decided to make a savory variety for dinner.
    Potato pancakes are associated with many European countries and are the national dish of Belarus.
    I adapted my recipe from one found in my trusty old Betty Crocker cookbook. I added some seasonings to kick them up a bit.
    A food processor with the grater attachment is perfect for grating the potatoes quickly.
    Make sure you squeeze all the water out of the potatoes after rinsing them.


    You can serve these as a side dish with meat or on their own with a dollop of sour cream.
    These were a hit in my home and I won't be waiting till next years Pancake Day to make them again.



    Savory Potato Pancakes


    • 5 medium to large potatoes peeled and shredded
    • 4 eggs beaten
    • 1 small shredded onion
    • 1/4 cup of flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp of pepper
    • 1 tsp each of thyme and savory (dried leaf type not ground).
    • butter
    Shred potatoes and rinse well in a strainer.
    Dry well with a clean tea towel.
    Squeeze tight to get all the water out.
    In a large bowl mix the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour and seasonings.
    In a large frying pan melt some butter over medium heat.
    Drop large spoonfuls of batter in the pan and flatten with a spatula into a pancake.
    Cook until golden on each side.
    Keep cooked pancakes warm while cooking the rest.

    Cheers!


    Escape



    I don't know about you but I am ready...
    Ready for warm weather, ready to get away from all this snow.
    But unfortunately exotic cuisine is about as close as it gets to going somewhere warm this year.

    This dish brings us the sunny flavors of Greece. A place I wish I could escape to right now.
    Chock full of vegetables this is a nutritional powerhouse. Spinach, tomatoes, olives and garlic are among healthiest foods to eat.
    This can be served as a vegetarian entree or as a side dish along side lamb, chicken or fish.

    So here's to hoping to add a little Mediterranean sunshine to your winter day!


    Greek Pilaf

    • ~olive oil
    • 1 cup of white rice
    • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (chicken may also be used)
    • 1 tbsp garlic minced
    • 1/2 cup of chopped spinach (frozen or fresh)
    • 1/4 cup of sliced black olives
    • 1/2 cup of halved grape tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp oregano
    • 1/2 cup of feta cheese
    • squeeze of lemon

    In a pot heat the olive oil.
    Add the garlic and saute until soft.
    Add the rice and oregano mix well .
    Add the broth and bring to a boil .
    Reduce heat and add the spinach, tomatoes and olives.
    Simmer until rice is tender. (about 20 minutes).
    Add the feta and mix through.
    Serve with a dash of lemon juice.

    Wine Suggestion: Pinto Grigio

    Cheers!


    Soul Food

    Everyone loves the creamy dish Risotto. It is one of the most popular rice dishes.

    This is a twist of that dish using barley instead of rice.
    The result is a comforting satisfying dish unlike any other I've had.
    Perfect after being out on a freezing cold winter day.

    Just be sure not to rush the process of adding the broth to the barley. It takes time for the grains to release the starch which makes for the creamy texture.
    This risotto can be served as a main course or as a side dish.

    Once you tuck into this you will have to agree this is the ultimate comfort food.



    Smokey Barley Risotto

    • 8 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
    • 4 slices of bacon diced
    • 1/4 cup diced pancetta
    • 1 onion diced
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • 1 cup of pearl barley
    • 1 tbsp thyme
    • 1/2 cup of white wine
    • salt and pepper
    • fresh parsley
    • 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

    Heat the chicken broth over medium heat in a pot.
    In a wide sauce pan fry the bacon and pancetta until lightly crisp. Pour off most of the fat.
    Add the onion and garlic and
    cook until soft.
    Pour in the barley and stir well for a few minutes to coat every grain until they are lightly toasted.
    Pour in the wine and stir quickly as the barley absorbs the wine.
    Now begin to add the warm stock 1 cup at a time. Stirring well to make sure all the broth is absorbed by the barley before adding the next cup.
    Repeat this process until the barley is tender and creamy. This process takes about 45 minutes.
    Taste often to determine the tenderness of the barley.
    Add the cheese and herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the fresh parsley.
    Serve immediately.

    Wine Suggestion: Chardonnay

    Cheers!




    Hot Pot

    Nothing beats the chill better than a hot bowl of soup.

    Soup is economical, easy and very nutritious. It is also a great way to use up leftover meat and vegetables.
    Keep your pantry stocked with cans of different types of beans, rice and canned tomatoes, typical staples of soup.
    Homemade stock tastes better then canned and has a lot less sodium. Here is my homemade turkey stock recipe.

    I gave the traditional turkey soup an ethnic flair by adding the fragrant spices of India.
    Like all soups, this tastes even better the next day.

    Serve with warm Naan bread.


    Curried Indian Style Turkey Soup


    • olive oil
    • 1 onion diced
    • 1 celery rib diced
    • 1/2 each red and yellow pepper diced
    • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
    • 1 tbsp garlic minced
    • 1 can of lentils
    • 1 cup of white rice
    • 1 tbsp curry powder
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1 tbsp garam masala
    • 1 tsp coriander
    • 8 cups of turkey stock
    • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
    • 1 to 2 cups of diced turkey meat
    • salt and pepper to taste

    In a large deep soup pot add some olive oil.
    Over medium heat add the onion, garlic, celery, peppers and carrots.
    Cook until softened and translucent.
    Add the lentils, rice and spices.
    Stir until well coated and mixed.
    Add the turkey stock and rice.
    Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours until rice is tender and soup is reduced slightly.
    Add the peas and turkey during the last half hour of cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper or more spices.

    Ladle into bowls and serve or refrigerate and reheat and serve the next day.

    Wine Suggestion: Gewurztraminer

    Cheers!