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Caramelized Bean Dip

What’s great about bean dip is that it tastes good, easy make and guilt free! A few months back, I attended a wonderful superfoods cooking class at Ninety Acres Culinary Center in Peapack, NJ where we prepared some delicious dishes, one of which is this Caramelized Bean Dip!

Click on quick recipe to enlarge and print

Begin by adding 3 tablespoons of olive oil into pan on medium heat.  Add the onions and stir around on medium to low heat.

When you plan to make this dip last minute, you may have to use canned beans, but just a side note, I always recommend buying your beans dried and soaking them yourself overnight. If you need to buy the beans canned, buy organic.  Drain and rise the beans thoroughly.

Add the beans to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add the caramelized onions until a pureed mixture forms.

Make sure you have the appropriate amount of spices/herbs prepared for the dip (refer to recipe print out). Too much flavor to the below ingredients will kill the taste.

Add olive oil…

Herbs and spices…

Then check to dip for consistency. If its too dry, add a teaspoon of olive oil and a bit more lemon juice.  

You can get creative and serve this dip in a bell pepper just by cutting off the top of the pepper and scooping out the seeds inside.

Or place it neatly in a bowl..

Either way, your guests will thank you for this guilt free tasty dip! Enjoy 🙂

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Beef Bourguignon

If you haven’t already picked up on it, french food is my ultimate favorite. I made Julia Child’s  famous Beef Bourguignon. This recipe does take some time to make, but it is worth it, as well as the aroma it gives off. Julia Child will remain one of my favorite and aspiring cooks as her work taught me how to enjoy and celebrate food. Therefore, enjoy making this recipe and celebrate your creation of it! 30

Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon

  • One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  •  8 ounces button mushrooms
  • 18 to 24 white onions, small
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
  • Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons. Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 mins to brown lightly. Remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Dry beef in paper towels.Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
  • In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
  • Return beef and bacon to casserole. Toss with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.
  • Sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
  • Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes
  • Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  • Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock. Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
  • While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
  • Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
  • Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
  • Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
  • Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, add mushrooms.
  • Shake pan for 4 to 5 mins. Once they have begun to brown, remove from heat.
  • When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  • Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
  • Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2.You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  • If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
  • Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
  • Serve in casserole and pair with a crusty whole grain baguette.

32Be sure to dry off the beef. 1

Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. 
2 Drain and dry4

Add the beef and saute until browned on both sides
5 Should look like this with the bacon6 Add the vegetables7 10 Sprinkle on the flour and toss in pot12 Pour in the wine…13 Add tomato paste14Pepper..
16 Now you could create an herb bouquet, but if you keep an eye on the herbs you are removing, you don’t need to wrap in a cheesecloth17 Add the bay leaves18 Raise heat the high-medium19 Cover and place in the oven for 3-4 hours20 Add pearled onions to pan once butter melts21 Add 1/2 cup of stock22 Remove pearled onions once fully cooked24
Add mushrooms26 27Remove pot from oven after fully cooked and drain (saving the sauce)
28 Add beef back into pot and set aside until ready to serve. 29 Then take the sauce and drizzle generously


Look how pretty and delicious that looks! 31

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Pappardelle Pasta with Chestnuts, Mushrooms and Bacon

All lovers of food say it: “Everything in moderation. Well, that applies to this recipe. This rich dish is perfect for a family dinner, but is also dressed up enough to feed a dinner party on a cold winter’s night. The flavors are great, it can be made in advance and looks pretty too! Just make sure you don’t over do it on hors d’oeuvre  prior to this main entree! You don’t want your guests leaving with their buttons bursting 😉

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Click on quick recipe below to enlarge and print.


First, score a cross on one end of each chestnut and back for 10-15 minutes.


After you take them out of the oven. Most will have splits in them for you to easily peel the shell off. Chop them coarsely and set aside.


Complete your prep work of chopping up mushrooms and garlic.


Place oil and butter in skillet on high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and thyme, reduce heat to medium.  Add the wine to the skillet and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.


Add the cream, reduce heat. 006

I always use Applegate for my meats. They are USDA certified organic and the best quality. Cook the bacon to your liking, chop and add to the mixture.


Add the spinach. You can steam this ahead of time or allow it to cook in the mixture.


Casually stir in the ingredients so all is incorporated. 011Add the chestnuts…012

Follow directions on how to prepare pasta in a large pot. Make sure not to over cook. Drain the pasta and add to the mixture. 014

Incorporate the pasta with all other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Once plated, shave some cheese on top for additional flavor. 015

Voila! Enjoy! This recipe is great as leftovers as well!


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A Great Present!

Are you a foodie or know someone who is? Why not give them a subscription to the awesome magazine Edible Manhattan! Even better, when you sign up for a subscription, you get discounts at some great local businesses, such as  Liddabit SweetsCity WineryBrooklyn Brewery and so many other fun places! Check it out here!

Get your subscription today and you will thank yourself or your foodie friend will too 😉  here

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Harvest Vegetable Lasagna

A good friend gave me this amazing cookbook, which I’m a huge fan of! Chef Keith Snow created The Harvest Eating Cookbook that covers foods that are fresh and in season. He stresses the importance on how harvest eating is a lifestyle, rather than a diet. Amen Keith! Pick up a copy of The Harvest Eating at your next visit to Barnes and Noble!

Today, I”m making their Harvest Eating Lasagana! Check out my steps to this delicious recipe from The Harvest Eating Cookbook

As I’ve mentioned before, the Fall has some of the best seasonal ingredients. What’s more amazing is packing all these seasonal foods in one delicious dish! I give you, Keith Snow’s Harvest Eating Lasagna!

First, if you did not buy your cheese already shredded, I’d advise doing this as the start of your prep work. 3 cups of shredded Gruyere cheese and 2 cups of Pepper Jack cheese.

Next, you are going to make the bechamel sauce for the lasagna and then set aside. Bring 1/2 cup of flour, 1 stick of organic butter to  pot on low heat and stir for 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of organic whole milk and whisk.

Stick 2 bay leaves in 1/2 organic white onion and add to mixture. 

Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper to your liking, bring to a simmer and cook until sauce is thick enough to coast the back of spoon. Like this!

Next,  wash and steam 8 -10 kale leaves  (roughly chopped) for 10 minutes until softened.

Then, cut 2 whole sweet potatoes julienne style (looks like carrot sticks).

See what I mean?

Next, chop up  3 leeks (regardless of the amount you see in the picture below.. sorry for the confusion!) Then wash the leeks by submerging them in warm water, pour out water and repeat the process 3 times. 

Bring leeks and potatoes to saute pan with  2 tablespoons of pure olive oil on medium heat. Add 2 garlic cloves and saute for 3-5 minutes.

Next, cook lasagna as directed on box. Then, assemble the lasagna in layers in 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Start with lasagna and cover the bottom of the dish. 

Add some sauce on the bottom of each layer.

Then spread a portion of steamed kale on each layer

Then the sauteed potatoes and leeks

Finish topping each layer with the mixed cheeses

Layer until the baking dish is full to the top and finish with a little cheese top off. Like such!

Bake for 35-40 minutes

Cut the lasagna into individual portion sizes

Look at the beautiful layers of vegetables!

Depending on much you enjoy condiments, you can add some additional bechamel sauce on top. If you would rather stay a bit healthier, you can always hold off on the extra sauce 🙂

Enjoy this delicious Harvest Eating Lasagna and a big thanks to Chef Keith Snow for introducing this wonderful recipe to us all!

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Cashew Crusted Cod

Don’t be fooled by the different ingredients placed on this plate. This is an easy recipe made with little shortcuts to save you time! The flavors of this dish are so incredible. From the ginger on the sauteed vegetables to the cashews crusted on the fish, it really is a unique and delicious experience!

Click on quick recipe to enlarge and print

When you purchase your fish from any monger, ask them to de-bone the fish for you. This will save you time and a mess. BUT, you should always check the fish even after it’s been de-doned for any stragglers. I found 1-3 in mine.. no biggie, it happens 🙂

Make your own marinade (dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic). See recipe for measurements and then whisk together.Place marinade on top of fish and sprinkle with your seasoning of choice. I chose sea salt, black pepper and Old Bay seasoning.

After the fish has marinaded for 45 minutes, coat in finely chopped raw cashews. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes.

As the fish is cooking, begin chopping/slicing your vegetables. I used baby bok choy, onion, carrots and ginger for flavor.

Cut the carrots in half length wise and width wise. They should look like the below.

Begin sauteing the carrots and ginger in a heated pan with water. Note- when you saute with olive oil to cook vegetables, it removes a lot of the nutrients, therefore saute using water then coat the vegetables in olive oil after they have cooked for flavor.

Trim the baby bok choy and cut width wise in half. Slice the onion. 

Bring the onion and baby bok choy to the saute pan and cook for 10-12 minutes until all vegetables are tender. 

Remove fish from oven once it is nice and crusty.

Plate vegetables and fish. Then using good quality store bought (don’t hate) Taboule place on top of fish. I used the brand Yorgo, which combines fresh finely chopped parsley, garden tomatoes, onions, fresh squeezed lemon juice, virgin olive oil, natural herbs and specially blended spices with a hint of natural sea salt. Spare yourself the time and buy this Taboule instead of making it yourself. It tastes great and made with fresh organic ingredients. 

How good does that look?

And it took only 35-40 minutes to make!  Enjoy this lovely light recipe!

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Greek Chicken Rollatini

This is a classic recipe for those who don’t have a lot of ingredients on hand and pull the excuse “I don’t have time to cook”.  This recipe is super easy and great way for you to get your intake of protein, vegetables and carbs. 

Click on quick recipe below to enlarge and print

As the weather begins to warm up, I take advantage of afternoon breaks and head to the Union Square Farmer’s market to see what fresh food they are offering this season. Shopping at your local farmers market is really the best way for you to get the freshest ingredients. You are also conserving fossil fuels because your food isn’t traveling far AND your dollars also stay within the community to help support our farmers! It’s a win, win, win situation folks! I purchased the spinach and feta cheese from  the USQ Farmers’ Market for this recipe 🙂

Take 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs and spread on a flat surface or plate. Mix in 1 tablespoon of rosemary for extra flavor
Place 1 cup of feta cheese in a bowl and set aside. 

Using your handy steamer, place the spinach leaves in steamer and cook for 6-8 minutes. It may seem like you have way too much spinach, but trust me, it wilts down to a little amount.  Add spinach to the bowl of feta and mix until all is incorporated.

You should marinade the chicken for a half hour-2 hours, depending how much flavor you want. I marinaded mine in lemon juice, olive olive, sea salt and pepper. Once it is done marinating, take your first chicken breast and place in breadcrumbs. Make sure you cover both sides of the chicken with the breadcrumbs. 

Spread the feta and spinach on top of the chicken

Then roll the chicken up lengthwise so it looks like such. If you have extra cheese and spinach leftover, you can stuff it on the side openings of the chicken rolled up. 

Repeat the process for each piece of chicken and then place in casserole dish. Some people place toothpicks in the center of the chicken to hold together, but it really is not necessary because they hold together if you wrap the end of the chicken and place on the bottom. 

Slice the plum tomato and place on top of chicken 

Bake for 25-30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Two rollatinis make a great dinner and the leftovers you can dress up for dinner tomorrow night. 

Just add some steamed broccoli and a side of roasted potatoes. Just 2 more ingredients you’ll need to create another great dinner with leftovers! Enjoy!

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