Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grilled Turkey Burgers with Goat Cheese and Honey Mustard

This recipe is my all-time favorite burger recipe. It's incredibly simple, but the flavors are outstanding. The creamy tang of the goat cheese is perfect melted on the hearty turkey burgers, and the citrus-scented honey mustard is a deliciously fresh sauce. Enjoy these burgers all summer long!

Grilled Turkey Burgers
The perfect summer burger!
Serves 4

o    1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 heaping tablespoon clover honey 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice, squeezed from half an orange
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, squeezed from half a lemon
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds 90-percent lean, freshly ground turkey (not all white meat), chilled
8 slices goat cheese, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 pieces leaf lettuce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

For the honey mustard: Whisk together in a small bowl the mustard, mayo, honey, orange juice, lemon zest, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld.

For the burgers: Preheat the grill or a grill pan to high. Form the meat into four 6-ounce burgers. If you are not going to cook right away, keep the burgers cold in the refrigerator. Sprinkle the burgers on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. During the last minutes of cooking, add 2 slices of cheese to each burger, cover the grill and let the cheese soften slightly, about 1 minute. Put the burgers on the buns, drizzle with some of the Meyer lemon-honey mustard and top with leaf lettuce and red onions. Serve with extra mustard on the side.

Recipe adapted from Bobby Flay

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coconut, Almond and Dried Cherry Granola Bars

Just in time for summer, lately I have been making many delicious snack and breakfast recipes. Clients have requested portable, easy to eat food that tastes good any time of day, and I've quickly jumped on board. Why spend the money on packaged granola bars, when you can make them yourself from wholesome ingredients, and best yet, know what's inside. These granola bars are simple to make and are loaded with oats, nuts, seeds and natural sweeteners. Pack them to go on a bike ride, hike, or just keep a couple in your purse. You'll be ready anytime for a healthy snack!

Coconut, Almond and Dried Cherry Granola Bars
Sweet and nutty, these granola bars are good for you and are great on the go!
Makes 24 bars

o       2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats 3/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil plus more
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (about 4 oz.)
3/4 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut (about 3 oz.)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds (about 3 oz.)
2 tablespoons flaxseeds, toasted
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix oats and almonds on a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Meanwhile, brush a 13x9x2” metal or glass baking dish with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with oil.

Brush a large bowl generously with oil. Place oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds in bowl.

Bring 1/4 cup oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top.

 Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 24 bars. DO AHEAD: Bars can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Recipe from Bon Appetit


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Classic Ragu Bolognese

This is my quintessential comfort food. A big bowl of pasta smothered in a slow-cooked red wine and meat sauce that sticks to your ribs and warms your soul. This recipe is adapted from Bon Appetit magazine, and it is the best I have found. A perfect Sunday dinner that will make your house smell amazing all day long!

Classic Ragu Bolognese
A truly delicious and comforting pasta that everyone will love.

Serves 4-6

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
12 oz. ground beef              
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups (about) beef stock or chicken stock, divided
3 Tbsp. tomato paste      
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper      
1 cup whole milk      
1 lb. tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh egg)      
Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add beef and pancetta; sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Transfer ragù to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pasta and toss to coat. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry. Divide pasta among warm plates. Serve with Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Asian Flank Steak with Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad

I recently discovered this recipe for Asian-marinated flank steak served along an amazing crisp and refreshing cucumber salad, and I just know it will be the hit of my summer table! The steak is succulent as the sugar in the marinade creates these delicious crusty bits, and the Asian seasonings give it a sweet and savory flavor. Served with a cool cucumber salad on the side, it's not only low-carb, but highly delicious!

Asian Flank Steak with Sweet and Spicy Cucumber Salad
A delicious Asian-inspired steak and salad recipe that will be just awesome on the grill this summer! Serves 4

1 2” piece lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, lightly smashed, very thinly sliced
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
1 1/2 pounds flank steak, cut into 4 pieces   
Cucumber Salad
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, julienned
1/2 small daikon, peeled, julienned
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced                                    
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper   
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts 

Combine lemongrass, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sweet chili sauce in a resealable plastic bag. Add steak; seal, turn to coat, and chill at least 30 minutes to 24 hours.
When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.
Prepare grill or skillet for medium-high heat. Season steak with salt and pepper and grill, turning occasionally, 8-€“10 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest 5 minutes before thinly slicing.
Whisk vinegar, sweet chili sauce, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Add cucumber, carrot, daikon, and onion and toss; season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
Drain salad. Serve with steak, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Pots de Creme

I am not a baker, I heartily admit. I am a cook, and love throwing new dishes together in the kitchen. But when it comes to baking, I don't quite have the patience to follow a precise recipe. But every cook needs a few desserts in her repertoire, and I'm happy to say that I have found one that I love to make- chocolate pot de crème. It's an amazingly rich chocolate mousse topped with homemade whipped cream. It is creamy and decadent and satisfies every chocolate craving you've ever had. Best of all, it is easy to make and is best made a day ahead of time, leaving me with all my of energy when I'm hosting or catering a dinner party to prepare the meal, not the dessert!

Chocolate Pots De Crème
A sinfully rich and simple dessert to wow your dinner party!
Serves 8

10 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
5 large egg yolk
5 T sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup half-and-half
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder mixed with 1 T water (or 1 T espresso or strong coffee)

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream (cold)
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish (optional)
Cocoa powder for dusting
Chocolate shavings
Chopped toffee

For the pots de crème: Place chocolate in medium heatproof bowl; set fine-mesh strainer over bowl and set aside.

Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in medium bowl until combined; whisk in heavy cream and half-and-half. Transfer mixture to medium saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and custard registers 175 to 180 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8-12 minutes. Do not let custard simmer or overcook.

Immediately pour custard through strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth, then whisk in vanilla and espresso. Divide mixture evenly among eight 5-oz ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.

Cool pots de crème to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 72 hours. Before serving let pots de crème stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

For the whipped cream: using a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat cream, sugar and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30-45 seconds longer.

Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 T whipped cream. Garnish with cocoa, chocolate, or toffee, and serve.

Recipe by Cook's Illustrated

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

What's a simple, beautiful and healthy appetizer to make for any party? Roasted red pepper hummus! Don't bother buying the pre-made stuff, it is so easy and so much more delicious to make hummus yourself! Serve with fresh crudité such as bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and baked pita bread drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika and salt. Be sure to make extra hummus to enjoy on sandwiches and in wraps.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
An easy and healthy appetizer or snack!
Makes 3 cups

3 cups drained cooked chickpeas
1 jarred roasted red bell pepper, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons water
Juice from 1 lemon, to taste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Ground black pepper, to taste                                                                    
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
In the bowl of a food processor, place the chickpeas and red bell pepper. Add the garlic, salt, crushed red pepper, tahini, water, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, cumin, and pepper and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and additional lemon juice, if necessary, to taste. Transfer to a wide shallow bowl for serving and use the back of a serving spoon to form a well in the center of the hummus. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle the top with the parsley, and paprika. Serve at room temperature, with pita chips and fresh veggies for dipping.

Recipe adapted from Food Network

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi

In honor of my upcoming trip to Italy, I'm sharing one of my new favorite Italian recipes- Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi. What is gnudi, you ask? Well, it's naked ravioli! Imagine ravioli without the pasta, and that's gnudi (pronounced "nudie"). Ricotta and parmesan cheese combine with spinach and herbs to make a delectable, creamy bite atop a fresh tomato-basil sauce. Served with a big salad and crusty bread, this is a fantastic Italian meal. Don't forget the chianti!

Spinach and Ricotta Gnudi
Ravioli "undressed" this creamy, cheesy baked Italian dish is delicious!
Serves 4

1 large bunch raw spinach, washed, dried, trimmed and chopped
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for smearing hands
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound fresh ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
All-purpose flour, if needed
20 cherry tomatoes, halved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute the spinach with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 the quantity of the garlic for a few minutes until soft. Let cool. Then in a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, Parmigiano and salt to taste. Add a small amount of flour, a little at a time, only if ricotta if filled with too much moisture. Combine the mixture thoroughly and set aside.
In the same saucepan, heat up the remaining olive oil, then add the remaining garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil and cook for 5-10 minutes. Spoon the sauce into a baking dish. 
Smear some olive oil on your hands. Scoop ricotta mixture, in the amount of an egg , onto the palm of your hands and form into a compact ball.  Add the "gnudi" balls on top of the sauce. Sprinkle with Parmigiano cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.