Monday, December 28, 2015

Baked Eggplant Stuffed Caprese Duck Breast

2 ( 7.5 oz ) Roasted Garlic Maple Leaf Duck Breast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse pepper
1/2 lb pancetta, sliced
1 small eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick rounds
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup - 1 cup cooking oil
4 ozs fresh mozzarella, sliced
8 large basil leaves
1 large ripe tomato, cubed
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarse pepper

1.  In nonstick skillet, heat to med/low.  Score the duck skin with a knife, diagonally across the duck breast about 1/4 inch apart.  Pat duck breast dry with paper towel.  Season with salt and pepper.  Slice across opposite direction across duck breast.  Place skin side down and render fat by cooking for approx 8 mins.  Flip over and cook for approx. additional 4 mins.  Remove from pan and let rest.  Reserve fat in skillet.
2.  Cube pancetta into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces.  In same skillet saute pancetta on medium heat until crispy.  Remove and cover until ready to use.
3.  Peel and slice eggplant
4.  Place beaten eggs in small bowl.  Place flour, crumbs and cheese in separate bowl, mix.
5.  Heat about 1/2 cup in same skillet used to cook duck and pancetta on med/high temperature.  Dredge eggplant rounds in egg, then in flour/crumb mixture.  Make sure to coat on both side well.  Place in skillet and fry until brown, flip and brown other side.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Approx 1 1/2 mins - 2 mins on each side.  Any left over fried eggplant can be used in another dish or freeze.
6.  Slice eachduck in half ( lengthwise), leaving one end attached ( like a butterfly cut).  Stuff duck with approx 4 pieces of fried eggplant across inside of duck.  Top with mozzarella cheese.  Top with two basil leaves.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 5-7 mins or until reaches 155 degrees.
7.  In small bowl add tomatoes, 6 basil leaves (chopped), olive oil and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss.
8.  Remove duck from oven.  Top with tomato salad and chopped pancetta.

Serves 4

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cookie Waffles

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (see my recipe)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp xanthan gum
2 eggs
3 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 C almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 cup water
1/2 cup mini morsels
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Mojo Beef Tenderloin Wrap with Jalapeno sauce

6 wraps
8 ozs shredded mexican cheese blend
1 lb beef tenderloin
1 small bottle mojo marinade
2 ripe tomatoes, marinated in mojo
1 small red onion, sliced thin
2 mexican avacodos, sliced
1 cup black beans, heated
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, plus approx 24 sprigs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 TBS lime juice



Cinnamon Sugar Apple and Brie Crepes

To make Crepe:
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
2 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Other ingredients:
1 cup cream brie
1 can apple pie filling
1/3 cup sugar/cinnamon mix
1 can whipped cream
4 cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup cherries
mint leaves

1.  Add ingredients of crepe recipe to medium size bowl.  Whisk well.  Heat a 5 inch round non stick pan on med/high heat.  Spray with cooking spray.  Ladle approx 1/4 cup batter into pan, tilting pan to spread batter across bottom.  Crepe will take approx. 30 seconds to cook.  Flip onto wax paper.  Repeat process for additional crepes, making sure to spray with cooking spray in between each crepe.
2.  In the center of each crepe add 2 TBS cream brie.  Top with 3 slices of apple.  Fold two end, overlapping.  Place fold side down onto greased baking dish.  Brush each crepe with melted butter.  Sprinkle sugar cinnamon over top.  Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 10 mins.  Remove and serve warm.

Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, walnuts and cherry on top.  Mint leave is optional.

Recipe makes 9-12 crepes.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cauliflower Au Gratin

head cauliflower (about 3 lb.), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
Salt and pepper, optional
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (I use gluten free) Or (gf ground granola)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place cauliflower in baking dish and toss with bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
In a blender, blend cream cheese, chicken broth, onion, garlic and 1/4 cup Parmesan until smooth and creamy. Pour over cauliflower mixture. In a large bowl, stir together Cheddar, bread crumbs, parsley and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Spread evenly atop cauliflower mixture. Drizzle with butter.
Bake until gratin is brown and bubbling and cauliflower is tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake Topped with Chocolate and Toffee

1 1/2 cups flour ( I use gluten free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBS pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1/2 cup white chocolate morsels
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 can whipped cream

1.  In medium size bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin spice and salt.
2.  In separate bowl add sugar, eggs, water and vanilla.  Mix well.
3.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Whisk.
4.  Add to slightly grease crock pot.  Set timer for approx. 30 mins on high.  Test to make sure it does not over cook.  To remove cake from crock pot: Place small plate on top of cake.  Flip upside down.  Cake should easily come out.  Flip back onto larger plate.
5.  Melt chocolates in separate bowls in microwave for approx 1 min.  Stir.  Drizzle each kind over top of cake.  Sprinkle with toffee.  Serve with whipped cream.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Homemade Crepe Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Homemade Crepe Lasagna with Meat Sauce

2 cups flour
2 cups water
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
Whisk in large mixing bowl all ingredients.  Batter will be loose.
  1. Heat a 9 inch by 9 inch non-stick skillet.  Spray with cooking spray between each crepe.  Pour approx. ⅓ cup of batter onto hot skillet, tilting to spread and thin out batter across skillet.  You want to use as little batter as possible but cover entire skillet (quickly).  Crepe will cook within 1 min or so.  Flip onto sheet of wax paper when cooked. Use one sheet of wax paper per crepe

Ricotta Cheese Mixture:
2 lbs Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp dry basil
1 tsp dry parsley
salt and pepper, to taste        Directions:  Mix all ingredients into large bowl

Meat Sauce:
4 TBS olive oil
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
2 TBS sausage spice
3 cloves garlic, chopped
56 ozs crushed tomatoes
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ tsp coarse black pepper
¼ tsp salt or to taste

Additional Ingredients:
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese


  1. In large skillet heat oil med/high.  Add beef, spice and garlic.  Stir and saute until brown, approx 5-8 mins.  Add tomatoes, cheese, basil, parsley, pepper and salt.  Stir, simmer for 20 mins.  Scoop beef from sauce to be used in layering in lasagna.
  2. To layer lasagna:  Fill bottom of small baking dish with sauce.  Place crepe on top completely covering bottom.  An extra crepe can be cut to fit into any empty space.  Top crepe with approx 1 cup of ricotta cheese mixture, spreading evenly across layer.  Top with approx. 1 cup ground beef with sauce across layer. Top with approx 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Sprinkle with 2 TBS parmesan cheese.  Top with another layer of crepes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Repeat process for 4 layers.  End with crepe topped with tomato sauce, sprinkled with mozzarella cheese.  Cover and bake for 40 mins.  Remove and let rest 40 before serving.

Applewood Smoked Clams and Truffle Spaghetti in a Truffle Sauce

Applewood Smoked Clams and Truffle Spaghetti in a Truffle Sauce

4 TBS olive oil
¾ cup onion, chopped fine
½ cup pancetta, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
¼ cup cherry pepper, chopped
½ cup dry wine
20 Little Neck clams, scrubbed well
½ tsp red crushed pepper flakes
10 oz whole clams with juice
8 ozs clam juice
¼ cup parsley, leaves picked
5 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
1 oregano leave
2 lemons, juiced
¼ tsp black coarse pepper
salt (only if needed)
2 TBS truffle butter
2 whole black truffles
6 (12x12 inch) sheets parchment paper
Applewood smoke pellets
Garnish:  Clam shells, fresh parsley and shaved truffles

  1. In large skillet heat oil on med/high.  Add onions, pancetta, garlic, tomatoes and cherry pepper.  Stir. Saute for 5-8 mins or until cooked.  Deglaze pan with wine.  Stir.  Add clams, red pepper flakes, juices, herbs, pepper, salt and truffle butter.  Stir together.  Cover and let cook for approx. 8-10 mins or until clams are opened.  Discard any unopened clams.  Remove most clams from shells.  Discard shells.  Reserve some clams in shells for garnish.  
  2. Cook pasta according to directions.  Drain and add to clam skillet.  Toss
  3. Add approx 1 cup of spaghetti into center of each sheet of parchment paper.  Fold over top to seal.  Tuck under ends to seal.  Place on baking sheet.  
  4. Place in preheated gas grill with wood chips (I use a smoke tube), and small bowl of water for moisture.  Smoke for 10-15 mins.  Remove
  5. Open packets by leaving ends tucked and separating top by pulling open.  Add clam shells, parsley and shaved truffles.

Lemon Truffle Pasta Dough:
3 large eggs
2 TBS water
½ tsp truffle, chopped fine
1 tsp lemon zest
2 ¾ cups flour
⅛ tsp salt

Pasta Directions:
  1. Break eggs into glass measuring cup.  Add water.  Total should measure ¾ cup.  Add additional water, if less than ¾ cup.  Add truffle and zest.  Stir to incorporate.
  2. Add flour to mixing bowl.  Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and gradually add eggs/water mixture.  Mix for 30 seconds.  Stop mixer and exchange dough hook for flat beater. Turn on to speed 3 and knead for 2 mins.  Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 minute.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 mins.  
  3. Put through pasta roller at least 10 times, adjusting thickness throughout to thin dough.  Flour sheets of dough to prevent sticking.  Extrude dough through spaghetti cutter.  Place on floured sheet until ready to cook.
  4. To cook pasta:  Place in large pot of boiling water.  Cook for only 30 seconds to 1 mins.  Pasta will continue to cook in clam sauce.

Wild Boar Ramen Noodles

Wild Boar Ramen Noodles

1 large onion, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
8 ozs baby carrots
1 lb ground wild boar
1 lb wild boar chorizo
1 lb wild boar shanks
¼ cup ginger root
3 TBS lemon grass
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½  cup oyster sauce
1 TBS mirin
2 small chili peppers, chopped
8 cups water
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
5 sprigs thyme
½ lb Wild Boar Tenderloin
¼ cup teriyaki sauce
2 TBS cooking oil
Garnish: whole chili peppers, thin sliced mushrooms, scallions, half hard egg, bean sprouts and cilantro

Ramen Noodle Dough:
½ cup hot water
1 TBS kansui (Japanese Bi Carbonate Water)
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cup flour (all purpose)


  1. In preheated 6 qt pressure cooker add onions, celery and carrots.  Add wild boar meat (ground, chorizo and shanks) on top of veggies.  Add ginger root, lemon grass, garlic, oyster sauce, mirin, chili peppers, water, parsley, cilantro and thyme.  Seal lid and set timer for 25 mins.  When broth is done drain in colander, reserving broth.  Drain through small mesh colander for clearer broth.  Add to noodles.  Garnish and serve
  2. Brush tenderloin with teriyaki sauce.  Let rest for 30 mins.  Heat oil in skillet.  Add tenderloin and sear on all sides.  Let rest for 5 mins.  Slice thin and add to ramen bowl.  Pour hot broth on top.  Hot broth will continue to cook tenderloin.
  3. To make Ramen Noodles:  Add flour to mixing bowl.  Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer.  Turn to speed 2 and gradually add remaining ingredients.  Mix for 30 seconds.  Stop mixer and exchange dough hook for flat beater.  Turn on to speed 3 and knead for 2 mins.  Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 minute.  Cover in plastic, rest for approx 30 mins.
  4.  Put through pasta roller several times, adjusting thickness throughout to thin dough.  Flour sheets of dough to prevent sticking.  Extrude dough through thin spaghetti cutter.  Place on floured sheet until ready to cook.
  5. To Cook Ramen:  Place in large pot of boiling water.  Cook for approx 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Add to broth in individual soup bowls.  Garnish

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gluten Free Spicy Clams and Spaghetti

This recipe is entered in the Dieting with Chef Meg Healthy Contest.
12 oz gluten free spaghetti
4 TBS olive oil
2 cloves roasted garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 cups fresh kale
2 cups grape tomatoes
1 cup water
2 (6 oz cans) clams with clam juice
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS gluten free flour or corn starch
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup parsley, fresh
1/4 cup basil, fresh
1.  In large sauce pan, heat water for pasta.  Cover and bring to boil.  Add pasta and cook until firm but  not over cooked.  Drain
2.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high heat.  Add garlic and onion.  Saute for 5 mins.  Add kale, tomatoes and water.  Cover and cook for 5 additional mins.  Smash tomatoes when they begin to soften and wrinkle. 
3.  Add clams with juice, pepper flakes, flour and lemon juice.  Stir.  Sauce will start to thicken.
4.  Add drained pasta to clam mixture and toss.  Add fresh parsley and basil.  Toss
Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Coconut Lemony Eggplant Dip


I created this recipe for the So Delicious Contest.  It is a dairy free and gluten free recipe.  You can eat it on flat bread, chips or serve it with a nice veggie platter.  Enjoy!

1 small eggplant
2-3 TBS Tahini paste  (sold in specialty section in grocer)
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 large clove garlic
3 TBS So Delicious Coconut Milk
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 Paprika

1.  Poke eggplant with knife or fork into eggplant making holes.   Drizzled with olive oil, baked 350 on cookie sheet for approx. 1 hour.  Remove from oven, slice in half.  Scrape meat from skin adding to food processor.
2.  Add remaining ingredients to food processor.  Pulse until completely blended.  

Note:  I toasted my flatbread in the oven on the "already" greased cookie sheet from roasting the eggplant

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Toasted Parmesan Turkey Tetrazzini Sandwich with Dipping Sauce

Toasted Parmesan Turkey Tetrazzini Sandwich with Dipping Sauce

8 slices bacon, fried (removed from pan) with bacon grease reserved
2 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
1 TBS butter
1 TBS flour
2 TBS white wine
1/4 cup parsley
1 bay leaf
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream

To build sandwich:
12 slices bread, buttered on one side
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 package Foster Farms "All Natural Sliced Turkey"
8 slices tomato
8 red onion rings
1 cup fresh spinach
Bacon strips

1.  In nonstick skillet on med/high heat cook bacon until crispy on both sides (approx. 5-6 mins).  Remove from skillet and place flat on paper towels.  Cover until ready to use.
2.  In same skillet with bacon grease add olive oil.  Add onions and cook until soft.  Approx. 5 mins.  Add garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir.
3.  Add butter then sprinkle flour over top.  Stir and cook for 3 mins.
4.  Deglaze pan with wine.  Cook for additional 3 mins.
5.  Add parsley, bay leaf, lemon zest, juice, broth and cream, stir.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to med/low.  Simmer for approx. 15 mins.  Sauce will start to thicken.
6.  Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter.
7.  In small bowl mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle crumb/cheese mixture onto bread (buttered side).  Place buttered side down in large non stick skillet.  Toast until slightly browned.
8.  Layer sandwiches (toasted side out) with turkey, tomato, onions, spinach and bacon strips.  Place toasted slice in between each sandwich.  Slice each sandwich in half.
Serve each sandwich with a small ramekin of Tetrazzini Sauce.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Pan Seared Open Blue Cobia with Coconut Lemon Fig Sauce

This is a recipe I created for the Open Blue Cobia Contest.  It is a simple recipe made with a lemony, coconut fresh fig sauce.  This hardly took any time at all to make.  It can be served with your favorite pasta, rice or a nice garlic mash.  

4 TBS olive oil
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
8 fresh figs, chopped fine (plus 4 figs for garnish)
1/4 tsp salt, or to liking
1/4 tsp pepper, or to liking
1/4 cup sambuca liquor
1 TBS flour
2 TBS butter
1/2 cup parsely
3 sprigs thyme
1 lemon, zested and juiced (plus 1 lemon, sliced for garnish)
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup coconut cream
8 ozs pasta, cooked al dente

To Pan Sear Cobia:
4  (6) oz (approx 2 inches thick) pieces of Open Blue Cobia, seasoned with sea salt
4 TBS olive oil
2 sprigs thyme
2 TBS butter


1. In medium size skillet heat oil for sauce on med/high heat.  Add shallots and saute until soft (approx 5 mins).  Add garlic and figs, stir.  Saute for additional 2 mins.  Season with salt and pepper, to liking.  Add sambuca, reduce heat to med/low.  Let simmer for 5 mins.
2.  In small bowl add flour and butter.  Mix together well.  Add to skillet and stir.  Saute for 3 mins.
3.  Add parsley, thyme, lemon juice, zest, bay leaves, broth and coconut cream.  Stir and simmer for 15 mins.
4.  Fill large pot of water and heat on high until starts to boil.  Add pasta and cook until al dente.  Drain
5.  In separate non-stick skillet heat olive oil to sear Cobia on med/high heat.  Add each piece to skillet.  Sear for approx. 3-4 mins.  Flip with tongs and sear opposite side for additional 3-4 mins.  Add thyme and butter.  Rotate Cobia to sides and slightly brown, spooning herb butter over Cobia while searing.  Remove from pan.  Total fish time should only take approx. 10-12 mins.
6.  Serve each piece of Cobia on top of spaghetti.  Top with sauce and any left over herb butter from skillet.  Garnish with fresh sliced figs, lemon wedge and parsley.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Coconut Grilled Shrimp and Corn Soup

Fish Stock:
1 lb Gulf Jumbo shrimp shells (reserve shrimp)
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
5 parsley stems, with leaves
5 thyme stems with leaves
1 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic, chopped

Soup Ingredients:
4 TBS olive oil
1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed small
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
1 cup leeks, chopped
3 cups celery, chopped  (reserve some leaves for garnish)
1 cup fennel, chopped  (reserve some leaves for garnish)
1/2 cup red bell pepper (reserve some for garnish)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Sambuca ( an Italian aniseed-flavored liqueur )
3 TBS butter
2 TBS Jalapeno, chopped
1/2 cup of parsley leaves
1/4 cup thyme leaves
1 lemon zested and juiced (reserve some zest for garnish)
1 cup fresh coconut cream (see directions)
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp coarse pepper, or to taste
2 sweet ears of corn, grilled

Shrimp Marinade:
1 cup fresh coconut milk (see directions)
1/4 cup Sambuca
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1.  Peel and devein shrimp.  Place shells in medium size pot with remaining ingredients for fish stock.  Cook on medium/low for approx 20-25 mins.  Strain liquid and reserve.
2.  Place shrimp in medium size bowl.  Add ingredients for shrimp marinade.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high heat.  Add potatoes, shallots, leeks, celery, fennel and bell peppers.  Cover and saute for approx 15 mins or until soft.  Add garlic, stir and saute for another 2-3 mins.  Deglaze pan with sambuca, scrapping bottom of pan to loosen any flavor.  Add butter, jalapeno, parsley, thyme, lemon juice, zest and coconut cream.  Season with salt and pepper to liking. Add approx 1 cup of the broth.  Lower temperature and simmer for approx. 10 mins.
4.  Grill corn.  Scrap corn from cob.  Place in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
5.  Remove shrimp from marinade.  Place on paper towel.  Grill 2-3 mins on each side or until done.
6.  Puree soup in blender until smooth. Add additional broth, if needed.  Serve in individual bowls.  Top with shrimp then garnish with corn, red bell peppers, fennel leaves, celery leaves, parsley and lemon zest.

To make coconut milk and coconut cream:  This recipe is optional:  Can be made ahead of time.
1.  Drill holes into coconut and drain water.
2.  Break open coconut.  Separate the coconut from shell.  Peel any brown fibers from coconut.  Break into small pieces.
3.  Add coconut to blender with 2 cups of boiling water.  Puree until smooth.
4.  Pour into large bowl with cheesecloth over top.  Squeeze the coconut flesh, in the cheesecloth as hard as you can to release all liquid.  Discard coconut.  Let liquid sit for approx. 10 mins.  The liquid will separate the milk from cream.  Scrap the cream from the top and place in separate bowl or container.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Feta Lime Turkey Burgers with Fig Onion Jam

4 TBS olive oil

Burger Ingredients:
3 lbs ground turkey
4 ozs feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 cup unpacked cilantro leaves
3 TBS brown sugar
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt and coarse pepper, to taste

Fig Onion Jam:
1/2 cup red onion, sliced
6 large figs, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp red crushed pepper, optional
Salt and coarse pepper, to taste

Basil/Tomato Salad:
6-8 large basil leaves
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
3 TBS balsamic vinegar
2 TBS olive oil
salt and coarse pepper, to taste

1.  In large skillet heat oil on med/high heat.
2.  Add all burger ingredients in medium size bowl.  Fold together until well combined.  Mold into patties.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add to skillet and cook on both sides until done to desired temperature.  (Approx 5-8 mins on each side).  Remove from skillet, cover to keep warm.
3.  In same skillet add red onion, figs and garlic.  Stir.  Cook until onions become soft (approx. 7-9 mins).  Add brown sugar and butter, stir.  Cook until sugar dissolves.  Add vinegar, scraping bottom of skillet to remove and ingredients that might be stuck.  Season with salt and pepper.
4.  Add burgers back to skillet, tossing to cover with juices.
5.  To make salad:  Toss all ingredients in small bowl.  Salad may be made ahead of time.  Refrigerate to keep cold.

Makes approx. 10-12 burgers
Serve on favorite burger buns

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Coconut Cream and Coconut Milk

1 dark brown coconut
2 cups boiling water

1.  Hold coconut with the three wholes on top.  I use a cork screw opener to drill holes into coconut.  You can use a screwdriver or other heavy object.  Tilt coconut over bowl and drain out coconut water.  Store in frig or drink right away.
2.  With a heavy knife wack around the coconut until it splits.  Carefully, with a knife pick coconut from shell.  Peel any brown areas with a vegetable peeler.
3.  Brake coconut into small pieces.
4.  Boil 2 cups of water
5.  Add coconut to blender with a little bit of water, puree.  Be careful that hot water does not extrude out the top.  (I cover top with dish towel).  Add more coconut and more water and puree.  Keep adding doing this until all coconut and water is used up.
6.  Add coconut to cheesecloth.  Over large bowl squeeze all liquid from coconut.  I have my hubby do this for me.  You should yield 2 cups in bowl
7.  Let sit for about 15 mins to separate.  The top white layer will be your coconut cream.  The bottom layer is your coconut milk.  (as it is pictured) Skim top layer from bottom layer and store in containers.  You will yield approx. 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk.
Note:  Coconut will now be bland.  You can discard or save and use in smoothies since it is filled with lots of fiber.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Celery Panna Cotta

This recipe is so incredibly light and so tasty.  I was not sure how I would enjoy the taste of celery in this very popular dessert.  I was quite surprised on how delicious it was.  It reminds me of an old fashioned vegetable jello salad.  Perfect by itself or served on the side with any meat or seafood dish.

2 TBS olive oil
2 1/2 cups finely chopped celery
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin (approx 2 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt

1.  Heat a large pot on med/high heat with oil.  Add celery, cover and steam celery until soft.  Approx. 10 mins.  Add to food processor or blender and puree.  Add back to pan
2.  Add milk, cream, juice and zest.  Bring to boil (approx. 5 mins).
3.  Sprinkle gelatin over top, stir.  Let dissolve (approx. 3 mins)
4.  Add sugar and salt.  Stir and let cook for 3 mins to dissolve sugar.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 mins.
5.  Ladle into ramekins, small dishes or cups.  Chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

Serves 4-6

Note:  Recipe and also be poured into a lightly greased gelatin mold

Tiramisu Panna Cotta

8 ozs mascarpone cheese
3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup extra strong espresso coffee
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1.  In medium saucepan, on low heat add mascarpone cheese and heavy cream.  Stir and heat for 2-3 mins.
2.  Sprinkle gelatin over top, stir.  Let dissolve approx 3 mins.
3.  Add coffee, sugar, salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Heat for additional 3-4 mins or until sugar is fully dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 mins.
4.  Poor into individual serving dishes, cups or ramekins.  Chill for at least 4 hours
Recipes makes 3 large servings or 6 smaller.  Garnish top with whipped cream, cocoa powder and chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Vegetable Medley Tempura with Celery Dip

Veggie Ingredients:
1-2 cups peanut oil (or canola oil)
1 whole head Celery (with wide bottom), washed
1 large red onion, sliced in 1/2 inch rings
4 jalapeno peppers, sliced lengthwise
4 large portobello mushroom, wiped clean and sliced in half
1 sweet corn on cob, sliced into 1 inch rings

Tempura Batter:
2 cups flour ( I use my own blend of gluten free)
2 TBS baking powder
2 TBS sesame oil
1 cup cold seltzer
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt

Celery Veggie Dip:
2 garlic cloves
2 cups celery
1 cup bell pepper  ( I like half red and half yellow)
1/2 cup red onion
1 cup parsley
1/2 jalapeno
8 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup cottage cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarse pepper

1.  Heat 1 cup oil in large cast iron skillet on medium/high heat.  Additional oil will be added as veggies cook.
2.  Make sure all veggies are washed and wiped dry before dipping into batter.  Start with celery.  Trim off tops with knife about 4 inches down.  Cut off bottom of celery head, approx. 4 inches from the bottom.  Cut remaining celery ribs into 3 - 4 inch pieces.  Prep remaining veggies.
3. In large mixing bowl add ingredients of batter, whisk. Dip veggies into batter, completely covering.  Add to hot oil and saute for approx. 1-2 mins, depending of the thickness of veggie.  Flip and saute the other side until brown.  Place on paper towel to drain excess oil.  Repeat process for remaining veggies, reserving celery leaves for last.
4.  Dip: In medium size bowl add garlic, celery, peppers, onions, parsley and 1/2 of a jalapeno (or less, according to likeness).  Pulse in medium size food processor to chop, but not puree.  Add cream cheese and pulse a few times to incorporate.  Add contents to small bowl.  Fold in cottage cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
5.  Trim out inside of celery stalk to create a bowl.  Add dip to the inside.  Serve in center of platter with tempura around it.  Place the celery tempura leaves on top

Serves 4-6

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Celery Crab Cakes with Celery Mango Salsa

4 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter
2 1/2 cups celery, chopped fine
1 cup onions, chopped
3/4 cup red bell pepper
3 cups seasoned stuffing cubes ( I use gluten free)
1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
1 tsp garlic
3 TBS capers
1 egg, beaten
12 ozs lump crab meat
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
4 TBS lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarse pepper
8 - 8 x 8 sheets of parchment paper

1 cup celery, sliced fine
2 cups mango, cubed
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
2 TBS lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt

1.  In large skillet heat oil and butter on med/high heat
2.  Add celery, onions and peppers.  Stir.  Cover and cook for approx. 15 mins or until celery is soft.  Add capers and garlic.  Stir and cook for an additional 5 mins. Remove from heat and cool.
3.  Add stuffing to bowl.  Add chicken broth.  Let soak up liquid.  Squeeze out excess liquid.  Discard.
4.  To bowl with stuffing mix add egg, crab meat, cilantro, lemon juice and contents of skillet.  Toss well.  Season with salt and pepper to liking.  Mold into 8 cakes.
5.  Place one cake in the center of a sheet of parchment paper.  Fold over the two sides, tucking under the ends.  Place on top rack of gas grill only using 1 burner.  Cook for 10-13 mins with lid closed.
6.  Remove from grill and let sit for a few minutes.  Open by cutting across the top with scissors.  Serve in parchment paper or on plates.  Serve with celery mango salsa.
7.  To make salsa:  Mix all ingredients in medium size bowl.  Refrigerate until ready to eat.
Makes 8 crab cakes

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Duck Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Tomato Soup

12 Savoy Cabbage leaves
1 lb ground duck
2 cups quinoa, cooked
1 egg, beaten
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarse pepper

4 TBS duck fat
2 TBS butter
1 cup shallots
2 cups celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes
3 TBS sugar
1/4 cup basil, chopped
4 ozs cream cheese
6 cups chicken broth
2 TBS tomato paste
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp coarse pepper

1.  Break off leaves of Savoy cabbage.  Fill large pot with water.  Place leaves in pot and boil until cabbage becomes soft, but not all the way cooked. Remove and put aside 12 unbroken leaves, cool.
2.  To make filling:  In large mixing bowl mixture together ground duck, quinoa and egg.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
3.  Divide and roll 12 meatball shaped sizes.  Place in center of cabbage and fold to enclose.  Place seal side down to hold.
4.  To make soup:  In large skillet add duck fat and butter.  Heat on med/high until butter melts.  Add shallots and celery.  Cover and cook for approx 10-12 mins or until celery is soft.  Add garlic and cook for 1 min.  Add tomatoes, sugar, basil, cream cheese, broth, paste, salt and pepper.  Stir.  Let simmer until all ingredients are well incorporated, approx 10 mins.  Puree soup in blender.  Return soup to skillet.
5.  Carefully place cabbage rolls into soup, sealed side down to hold.  Cover and cook cabbage rolls for approx 20-25 mins.  Baste rolls with soup every few mins.
Serves 6