Thursday, January 30, 2014

Baked Cayenne Buttermilk O-Rings with Cayenne Greek Yogurt Sauce

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large sweet onion, sliced about 1/2 thick rings (reserve 12 large rings)
1 Bag Crunchmaster  Rosemary/Olive Oil Crackers (4.5 oz), ground
3 TBS olive oil
2 cups gluten free flour (reserve 1 cup)
2/3 cup tonic water
1 tsp cayenne pepper, reserve half for sauce
1 cup Greek Yogurt
3 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS sea salt


1.  Peel and slice onion.  Place in large bowl and cover with buttermilk.  Let sit while preparing other steps.  Toss to coat, occasionally. 
2.  Add ground cracker crumbs and oil in bowl.  Toss to blend.  Add 1 cup flour to separate bowl.  Put aside.
3.  In separate bowl add remaining 1 cup flour, tonic, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper and buttermilk from onions.  Mix well.
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5.  Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray.
6.  Dredge onion slice into flour, then into batter, then into crumbs.  Make sure to evenly coat inside and both sides of onion slices so each ingredient adheres.  Place on cooking sheet.  Repeat process with other rings.
7.  Bake for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for additional 10 minutes.  Season with sea salt.
8.  For sauce:  Mix yogurt, sugar, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.  Season with salt, to taste.

Makes about 12 large rings.  Serves approx. 4

Buttermilk Pistaschio Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt Avocado Buttermilk Dressing


Olive oil for sautéing
2 lbs thin sliced chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
20 Crunchmaster Roasted Garlic Crackers
1/2 cup gluten free flour
1/2 cup pistachios
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp pepper corns
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk, plus 1/4 cup for dressing
1 small avocado
2 tsp lemon juice, fresh
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 large handful of fresh cilantro
1 TBS brown sugar, plus 1 TBS for onions
1 TBS Cider Vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 small red onion, sliced
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups lettuce greens
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles, (gluten free), plus 1/4 cup for dressing
1/2 cup slice cucumbers
1/4 cup pistachios (salted or sugared)


1.  Add oil in large sauté pan.  Heat on med/high when ready to sauté chicken.
2.  In food processor, add crackers, flour, pistachios, sugar, pepper corns and sea salt.  Grind into powder.  Put aside in flat dish.
3.  In separate bowl add 2 eggs, beat.  Add 1/2 cup buttermilk, blend together.  Put aside
4.  In food processor add avocado, lemon juice, yogurt, cilantro, 1 TBS brown sugar, vinegar, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese, salt and pepper.  Puree into dressing.  Chill until ready to use.
5.  Add sliced red onion to small sauce pan.  Add butter, 1 TBS brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and salt/pepper, to taste.  Heat on medium until onions are cooked, soft and balsamic becomes thickened.  Remove from heat and put aside until ready to top on salad.
6.  Dredge chicken into egg/buttermilk mixture.  Coat on both sides.  Then dredge coated chicken into breaded/flour mixture.  Coat both sides.  Place into heated sauté pan.  Repeat process for addition chicken.  When chicken in browned on both sides place on paper towels to drain excess oil.  Cut into strips.  Note:  Chicken can also be cut first into strips, breaded and then sautéed.
7.  Assemble salad with favorite lettuce greens and remaining ingredients.  Serve with dressing, extra roasted garlic chips and top with balsamic onions. 

Serves 4

Eggplant Escarole Lasagna

Eggplant Escarole Lasagna


1 large eggplant (peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds)
2 cups escarole, cooked and chopped and drained well
oil for sauteing
2 cups flour (I use gluten free blend)
4 eggs, beaten (2 eggs in separate bowls) (2 will be for eggplant dredging, 2 will be for ricotta mixture)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 lbs  Il Villaggio ricotta salata cheese
1 TBS basil
1 TBS parsley
1 lb shredded Il Villaggio mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Il Villaggio parmesan cheese
1 large jar marinara sauce


1.  Peel and slice eggplant. 
2.  Cook escarole, drain and chop well. Put aside.
3.  Beat two eggs in two separate bowls, put aside
4.  Place flour in separate bowl, put aside
5.  Heat oil in large saute pan, on med heat.
6.  Dedge a slice of eggplant into egg and then into flour.  Place in saute and brown.  Flip over and brown other side.  Do this for remaining slices.  When eggplant is brown, place on paper towels to drain excess oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
7.  In large mixing bowl add ricotta cheese, basil, parsley and 2 beaten eggs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well.
8.  In large baking dish ladle sauce on bottom to cover.
9.  Place eggplant across bottom on baking dish
10. Spread about 1 cup of ricotta cheese mixture across top of eggplant
11. Spread escarole across top of ricotta, desired amount (I use about 1/2 cup for each layer)
12. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese across next layer. 
13. Sprinkle grated cheese across next layer.
14. Add another layer of tomato sauce.  Repeat steps to complete additional layers.  End Layers with eggplant topped with tomato sauce.    Season with salt and pepper between layers, if desired.
15. Bake in 350 degree oven for 40 mins.  Remove and let sit for 30 mins before serving. 

Note:  Ingredients can be layered to your liking.  Add additional mozzarella cheese to top of lasagna after it bakes.  This will prevent cheese from burning.  Slice like a regular lasagna.  Serve as main dish or side dish.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Swahili Burger

I was wanting to create a burger that was not only delicious but also healthy, creative and culturally innovative.  My taste buds soon started reaching for the earthly ingredients from Africa.  That is when I decided to do a little bit of research.  I tied together spices, meat, fruits, vegetables and breads that have always been very local and common to the Native African and are still today.  This burger just speaks their language.  That is why I call this burger "The Swahili Burger".

Burger Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3 TBS spice blend (see recipe below) (store bought works also)
1/2 cup slightly packed cilantro, chopped (plus, 6 cilantro sprigs)
1 TBS from lemon zest (reserve juice for slaw)
2 ozs raisins
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
6 slices lettuce
6 pineapple rings
12 slice Millet Bread, toasted (or choice of 6 burger buns)

1.  In large bowl add beef, spice blend, cilantro, lemon zest, raisins and salt, to taste.  Fold together to incorporate thoroughly.  Mold into 6 burgers. 
2.  Heat grill to med/high.  Grease grill to prevent burgers from sticking.  Grill burgers 5-7 mins on each side or until done.  Place on bread or buns smothered with peanut butter.  Add slaw and slaw mix to burgers.  Serve

Spice Blend:
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS cinnamon
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS ground cloves
1 TBS onion power
1 TBS ground ginger
1 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp curry
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Slaw Mix:
4 TBS lemon juice
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
2 TBS sweet chili sauce
1 tsp Spice Blend (recipe above)
2 TBS white sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 TBS cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 ozs raisins

Note:  If you do not yield enough juice from lemon you can use pineapple juice.

Bison Sausage Spice Blend

1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1.  Blend spices together in small bowl.  Toss and fold spices into 1 lb ground bison meat.
1.  Sautee 1 lb bison meat with 3 Tbs olive oil in skillet.
2.  Deglaze with 2 Tbs red wine.

Sweet Potato Tagliatelle and Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce

Sweet Potato Pasta Dough:

2 cups flour (1 cup for dusting/rolling)
1 egg
1 cup sweet potatoes, prepared
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp salt

Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce:

1 stick butter
2 cups half and half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 lb American Cheese
1/4 lb Sharp White Cheddar
1/2 cup Romano
1/3 cup sweet potatoes, prepared
1/4 tsp cinnamon, groung
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus extra to garnish dishes)
2 large sage leaves, ground (plus extra for garnish)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 cup scallions, chopped fine (for garnish)

Goat Cheese Folded Crepe Ravioli with Date and Parsnip Sauce

1 cup flour (I use gluten free flour)
1 cup water
3 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1.  Whisk all ingredients in bowl.
2.  Ladle approx. 1/4 cup into center of non stick pan, tilting to thin out batter to form a thin crespelle.
3.  Layer each crespelle onto individual pieces of wax paper.

Goat Cheese Filling:
3/4 cup goat cheese, pre seasoned
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1.  Mix all ingredients in bowl.

Date and Parsnip Sauce:
2 thick slices pancetta
1 parsnip, peeled and chopped fine
1/4 cups leeks, chopped
6 dates
1 garlic clove
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1/4 cup red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 spigs rosemary,
1/4 cup parsley, fresh (plus extra for garnish)
lemon zest, from 1 lemon
1.  Saute pancetta, removed from pan, Chop.
2.  Add parsnips, leeks, dates, garlic and butter to sauté pan.  Cook until soft.
3.  Add flour, stir.
4.  Add wine to deglaze pan, stir.
5.  Add one cup of broth.  Stir to incorporate.  Add to blender to puree.  Add back to sauté pan.
6.  Add additional cup of broth, stir.
7.  Add rosemary, parsley and lemon zest.  Stir and simmer.

Caramelized Onion:
1 large red onion, sliced
1 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1.  On medium heat in medium size skillet add onion, sugar, butter and salt. Cook until firm. 
2.  Add vinegar, cook until caramelized.

To assemble Crespelle:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Add approx. 1 cup sauce to bottom of baking dish
3.  Add approx. 1 tsp cheese filling to center of creselle.  Fold ends then tuck under opposite ends, creating a ravioli shape.  Place folded side down into baking dish.
4.  Repeat steps for additional creselle.
5.  Bake for 20 mins. 
6.  Top with additional sauce. Serve with caramelized onion and chopped pancetta on top.  Garnish with parsley

Whole Grain Oats Chicken and Waffles with Maple Gravy

Waffle Batter:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oats
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 stick melted butter
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, plus extra

Oats Chicken:

1 cup oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 pounds chicken breast (cut approx. 1/2 inch thick)
cooking oil for frying


1 cup buttermilk
1 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup cilantro
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1.  In large bowl add all ingredients for waffle mix.  Mix well.  Make waffles according to waffle iron instructions.
2.  In food processor combine dry ingredients for chicken breading. Puree into powder.  Place in bowl.
3.  In separate dish add beaten eggs.
4.  Heat large skillet with oil.  Medium to high heat.
5.  Dredge chicken pieces in egg and then coat both sides with breading.  Sautee until cooked and brown on both sides.
6.  Drain on paper towels.  Cover and put aside.
7.  In small saucepan add buttermilk, syrup and corn starch and heat on low.  Whisk to get out any lumps.  Add cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper.  Stir.  Serve on top of chicken and waffles.  Garnish with addition cilantro and pine nuts. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Gluten Free Triple Chocolate Pomegranate Coconut Bars

Chocolate Dough:
2 cups flour blend...(see flour blend below) or store bought blend
3/4 cup Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 (6 ounce) pkgs. Scharfen Berger semisweet chunks
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions for Bars:
1.  In large bowl mix add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Combine well.
2.  In separate bowl add butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Mix well. 
3.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Toss in 1 pkg semisweet chocolate chunks and walnuts. 
4.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5.  Grease a 14 x 10 inch cookie sheet (not smaller)
6.  Spread 1/2 dough evenly into cookie sheet
7.  Spoon pomegranate sauce across top. 
8.  Spoon coconut cream across top. 
9.  Add remaining dough on top.
10.  With a greased knife run through cookie dough, making swirls combining all ingredients together, slightly.  Top with additional walnuts (optional).
11.  Bake for approx. 25 - 30 mins, or until knife comes clean when center is poked with knife or toothpick. 
12.  Let cool completely.  Slice into bars.
13.  Place remaining choc in microwavable bowl.  Melt for 1 min, remove and stir until completely melted. 
14.  Drizzle bars with melted choc.  Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds.

Note:  Adjust baking time with different size cookie sheet.  Makes 24 bars


Coconut Cream:
1 TBS butter, softened
2 TBS cream cheese, softened
1 TBS coconut oil
1 cup coconut flakes, minced
1 cup confectionery sugar

Directions for Coconut Cream:
1.  In medium size bowl mix together butter, cream cheese and coconut oil.
2.  Add coconut flakes to small food processor to mince.   Add to bowl with confectionery sugar.  Mix well.  Put aside. 

Pomegranate Sauce:
1 cup Ripe pomegranate, seed removed
1/8 salt
1 TBS butter
4 TBS turbinado sugar
1 TBS bourbon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions for Pomegranate Sauce:
1.  Slice pomegranate in half and place in bowl of cool water.  Break apart seeds from membrane, leaving seeds in bowl of water and discarding membrane.  Little pieces of membrane will float to top of water.  Dump water into sink with membrane pieces.  Refill bowl with water, tossing seeds to loosen more membrane.  Continue process until seeds are clean.
2.  Add 1 cup pomegranate seeds to small sauce pan (low heat).
3.  Add salt, butter and turbinado sugar.  Cook down until liquid reduces down and becomes syrupy.
4.  Add bourbon and vanilla, stir.  Cook for additional 2-3 mins.  Put aside.

Gluten Free Flour Blend:
2 cups Rice Flour
2 cups Oat Flour
1 1/3 cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca flour
2 tsp xanthan gum

Directions for Flour Blend:
1.  Blend all ingredients in large bowl.  Mix well.  Store in air tight container.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Mahi Mahi Puttanesca

1 lb favorite pasta, cooked and drained
4 mahi mahi steaks
4 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 can anchovies
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 white wine, for deglazing
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup calamata olives, chopped
2 TBS capers
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup artichoke hearts
fresh basil

1.  Heat oil in large skillet on med. heat.  Add mahi mahi steaks.  Sear on both sides, 4 mins each.  Remove and cover.
2.  To pan, add onion and garlic.  Sautee for 5-7 mins or until onions are translucent. 
3.  Add anchovy and pepper flakes.  Cook down until broken down.
4.  Deglaze with wine.  Stir
5.  Add crushed tomatoes, olives and capers.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Simmer 20 mins.
6.  Add mahi mahi steaks back to pan.  Simmer for few mins on each side. 
7.  Serve with pasta and artichoke hearts, as garnish.  Sprinkle with basil