Blogs, Recipes

Honey Garlic Salmon

I love salmon! This is one of my go to salmon recipes.  It’s garlic, sweet and sticky with simple ingredients. 

This salmon recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar’s 2018 LITTLE JANE PINOT NOIR. Little Jane Pinot Noir is elegant and complex with red plum, black cherry and fresh raspberry balanced by garrigue, Asian spice, and a hint of coffee bean with soft tannins and a lingering finish.

Ingredients:

Sauce: 

  • 4 tbsp honey 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar, distilled 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Salmon

  • 2 salmon filets 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper 

Instructions 

Take salmon out of the fridge, 20 minutes before cooking. 

Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. 

In a skillet, drizzle olive oil and gear over medium high heat. 

Place salmon in a hot pan and cook the first side for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. 

Pour sauce over salmon. Cook for 1 minute until the sauce starts to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much before the salmon has cooked to your temperature then just add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and stir. 

Remove to plates & drizzle with sauce and serve. 

Tip: 

To determine the wellness of the salmon, check the side of the salmon to tell how cooked the salmon is- I like my salmon medium rare inside, if it’s coral inside (rare to medium rare). You can use a thermometer too. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon- 120 F for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium

Remember the salmon will continue cooking for a minute after removing it from the skillet

https://scoutandcellar.com/?u=whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Blackened Chicken Wings with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

These Blackened Chicken Wings are tender and juicy on the inside. The blackened seasoning spice mixture almost forms a crust on the chicken to seal in the juices. Of course, you have to serve the chicken wings with homemade Blue Cheese dressing! This easy homemade blue cheese dressing is better than anything you can buy at the store. 

My friend, Adam lives in Asheville, NC during one of this hikes he came across some Ramps, wild leeks. He dried and powdered the leaves and mailed Brian and I some to get creative in some of our recipes. I thought I’d sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon into my Blackened seasoning, it was AMAZING! But don’t worry if you can’t find Ramps, the seasoning is still delicious!

I can not wait for football season so we can make these at our tailgate!

Thanks Adam for the special deviltry!

To make the blackened chicken, I mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and then generously coat the chicken wings with the seasoning on all sides, using my fingers to press the seasoning on to the chicken. 

The bright green seasoning is the Ramps from Adam.

Heat your skillet until it is searing hot skillet (use your cast iron skillet if you have one!). Drop 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. Then place the chicken wings into the HOT skillet and cook until the chicken is blackened on each side and fully cooked inside. 

I used butter for this recipe to give the chicken a richer flavor, but you can certainly use a healthier oil, such as canola oil or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil because the skillet needs to be searing hot, and olive oil smokes at high temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of chicken wings 
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning, divided

BLACKENED SEASONING

  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½  teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the spices and herbs in a small bowl. Mix well. 

Place the chicken wings into the spice mixture on both sides to coat the chicken. 

In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter. 

Carefully place the spice-coated chicken wings into the butter, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked. 

If the chicken is blackened but not fully cooked, just lower the heat and cover with a lid, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Serve the blackened chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 ounces Blue Cheese crumbles, chunky
  • Milk, buttermilk or water to thin out the dressing, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the blue cheese. Whisk until combined. 

Crumble in the blue cheese and fold together. 

Store in the refrigerator.

Recipes

Family Pizza Night

Did someone say Pizza? Brian and I love making homemade pizza with the girls! 

Now of course, you can just go to the grocery store and buy the pre-made pizza dough but what’s the fun in that! While we practice the Stay at Home Order, get in the kitchen and make your own pizza dough. It’s super fun especially to do with loved ones! 

I have two recipes listed below; one for your regular pizza dough and one for deep dish pizza dough. They both are delicious!

Basic But Delicious Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus some for bowl to rest dough
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups All purpose flour, plus more to roll dough

Mix 1 cup warm water with the package active dry yeast and let the yeast bloom and foam, 5 minutes. Add EVOO, honey and salt and whisk together. 

Whisk together the 3 cups of flour and salt. 

If you have a food processor, slowly pour the honey mixture, to the food processor and pulse until the dough comes together in a sticky ball, about 20 to 30 seconds. No food processor, no worries, you can use a rubber spatula! 

Place the dough onto a floured work surface and knead, using the heel of your hand, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. This can totally count as your arm workout for the day!

Using a paper towel, pour a small amount of EVOO into a large bowl and coat the bottom and sides. Add the dough, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let the dough stand until it is doubled in size, about ten minutes to one hour. The longer you allow it to stand and rise, the more flavor you will have.  I totally just sounded like Yoda! LOL! Okay back to the recipe. 

After ten minutes, plop the dough onto a floured cutting board. Punch the dough, literally, punch down on it and then puff it back up. 

We like to make several different types of pizzas so we usually make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas. If you want just one big pizza, skip this next step. 

To make 3- to 4-inch mini pizzas, cut each dough ball into 4 piece wedges, then press or stretch into shape into a ball.

Want one big pizza? Press the dough out on the work surface into a 9 to 12 inch round, a long rectangle or an oval. Now if you used to work at a pizza place like Brian, you can get fancy and toss the dough up in the air. Or you can be like me and start at the center and work outwards, using your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick.

Here’s a little tip: let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter. 

Use your fingertips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Let rest another 10-15 minutes.

Looking for Deep Dish?

Brian is from Chicgao and he absolutely loves Malnatis! So one night, we tried to recreate their famous pizza. I’m not saying we nailed it but we came pretty close! If you are looking for a Deep Dish Chicago style pizza, here you go!

Ingredients

  • 3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups slightly warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened to room temperature)
  • olive oil for coating

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If you do not have a stand mixer, use your hand mixer and a very, very large bowl. If you do not have any mixer, you can do this all by hand. 

Make sure you are using a LARGE bowl! The first time, we made this pizza dough, flour flew everywhere, which the girls and I turned into a flour food fight! I’m pretty sure Brian is still finding flour in places in his kitchen that flour should not be. 

Give those ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon. 

Into the flour mixture, slowly pour the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter. Make sure it is not very hot or it will kill the yeast. Likewise, make sure the butter isn’t boiling hot. If you melt it in the microwave, let it sit for a few minutes before adding into the bowl. On low speed, beat (or stir) the dough ingredients until everything begins to be moistened. Continue on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand if you do not own a mixer), beat the dough until it is soft and gently pull away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook- about 4-5 minutes. If the dough is too hard (it will be textured from the cornmeal), but if it feels too tough, beat in a teaspoon of warm water. Alternatively, if it feels too soft, beat in a tablespoon of flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

While we wait for the basic or deep dish dough to rise, we usually make the sauce but I’ll tell you more about the sauce soon, below.

After an hour, remove the dough and place it onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a 12-inch circle. You want to stretch it out as much as you can to make a large circle. The dough needs to be stretched out enough to cover the bottom and sides of the baking pan. Remember we are making a deep dish dough! 

Using a rolling pin as a guide, place over a 9×2-inch (23×5 cm) deep dish cake pan or cast-iron skillet. We use our cast iron. We love cast iron, check out my blog in the Tips & Tricks section and you’ll understand. : )

Using your fingers, press the dough into the skillet or pan. Make sure it is nice and tight fitting inside the pan. Trim any excess dough off the edges with a small knife. Brush the top edges of the dough with a little olive oil. 

Now for the sauce!

The sauce is just as important as the dough! Yes, you can buy the jar stuff but come on! Why not go all the way! I’m going to share with you my Sicilian Pizza sauce and then I’ll share with you the best replica Malnati’s sauce. 

Sicilian Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp butter 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic, chopped
  • 3 14 oz cans Italian tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb
  • 1 bay leaf

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Ingredients. 

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes*
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Sicilian Sauce Directions

Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.

When all the butter is melted, add the onions and garlic, salt well, and saute over medium heat for about 7 – 8 minutes, until the onion rings begin to lose their shape and soften.

Add the canned tomatoes (with their juices) and bring to a simmer.

When simmering, reduce the heat and maintain a slow simmer for about two hours, stirring frequently.

Add the sugar, tomato paste and Italian herbs (if using dried herbs add now, if using fresh, add about 10 minutes before blending), stir and continue to simmer for about another hour.

Best Replica Malnati’s Sauce Directions

Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat and allow it to melt. Once melted, add the grated onion, salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Once the onion has slightly browned after about 5 minutes, add the garlic, tomatoes, and sugar. Turn the heat down to low-medium and allow it to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick- about 30 minutes. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of sauce at this point. If you have more than that, keep simmering until the amount has reduced. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used. 

Now for the Pizza toppings, get creative! Brian and I have tried several combinations, I listed our favorites but honestly anything goes! 

Malnati’s Toppings

  • ½-1 cup of Malnati’s sauce, or more depending on how thick you like your sauce 
  • 2  cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled Italian sausage (about ½ lb)
  • Thinly Sliced Pepperoni 

Margherita Toppings

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parmesan cheese
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Veggie Toppings 

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

Prosciutto Pizza

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • A few big handfuls of arugula

Lemon Arugula- no red sauce for this one.

  • EVOO, for drizzling
  • 6 ounces grated fontina cheese
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4-6 Prosciutto slices 
  • 2 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 2 1/2 packed cups baby arugula
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon zest, for garnishing

Recipes

Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved going to Disney World. It is definitely my happy place!

I have so many amazing memories, from camping at Fort Wilderness to birthday celebrations at Epcot’s Food & Wine festival. 

Epcot is my favorite park to visit especially when they are hosting one of their festivals; Food & Wine Festival, Art Festival or the Flower & Garden Festival. 

Epcot’s festivals combine my love for Disney, food and wine. Honestly, what could be better than hopping around the World Showcase and sampling new foods, drinks and rubbing elbows with Disney fans? 

Brian and I always enter Epcot, in the back by the United Kingdom. We have a beer at the Rose and Crown while I flip through the festival’s passport, which contains the menus for each World Showcase Booth and a sticker to use to mark off that you have visited. Yes, I am a complete passport geek, every time we stop at a World Showcase booth, I have to check off the foods and drinks we have tried. 

So when I saw Disney had a cookbook with recipes from all their festivals including the festivals at Disneyland, I couldn’t resist. I had to have it. 

After purchasing the cookbook, Brian and I took a margarita break in Mexico like we normally do. I’m a huge fan of the Three Caballeros ride and the margaritas in Mexico. As we sipped our margaritas, we looked through the cookbook. I was so excited to see so many of our favorite dishes from the festivals and some new ones I couldn’t wait to make at home! 

During the Food & Wine festival, we absolutely loved the Jerk-spiced Chicken with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt at the Islands of the Caribbean booth. And guess what the recipe was in the cookbook! And here lays the inspiration for the recipe below! 

My parents are retired and love to travel. They recently bought me a Island Jamican Jerk Spice seasoning back from one of their cruise vacations. So this is the Jerk seasoning, I used but you can find a number of different types of Jerk seasonings at your local grocery store. 

In a large ziploc bag, toss chicken, 3 tablespoons of the Jerk seasoning and 1 tablespoon canola oil until chicken is completely coated. Refrigerate for one to two hours, the longer you allow the chicken to marinate the more flavor you will have. After the chicken has marinated, preheat the grill to medium-high heat, and remove chicken from the ziploc bag. Place chicken on grill grates and grill for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Rest for 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Mango Chutney

You can use a store bought Mango chutney or you can make your own. It is simple and turns out delicious. Chutney is made much the same way as you would make a fruit jam, but with vinegar to offset the sweetness, making it more appropriate for savory dishes. This chutney is spicy from ginger, garlic, and red chili pepper flakes. It gets its tangy-ness from the acidity in the mangoes and added vinegar, and it gets its sweetness from the mangoes and sugar. It pairs great with almost anything from his chicken, to a spread on a cheese board.

To make the sugar vinegar syrup, combine sugar and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the peeled chopped mangoes, and chopped onion, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Leave the saucepan uncovered and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until syrupy and slightly thickened. Stir occasionally during cooking.

Mango Chutney Yogurt

Whisk 1 cup plain yogurt and 2 ½ tablespoons of the Mango chutney with chopped cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Place in the refrigerator until dinner time. 

Sweet Plantain Salad

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and brush a baking sheet with canola oil. 

Your plantains have to be ripe. The best thing to do is buy them a few days before you are going to make this dish. Plantains may look like bananas but they do not peel like one. Ripe plantains are a lot easier to peel. To peel a plantain, you will need to cut off the ends of the plantain, run your knife lengthwise through the skin of the plantain without cutting into the flesh, and finally, use your hands to pull the skin off. If some of the skin doesn’t peel off, use a vegetable peeler to remove the “stuck” skin. Place your peeled whole plantains on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, then flip and roast for an additional 15 minutes. After a total of 25-30 minutes, plantains should be lightly golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Cut into bite-size chunks. 

While the plantains are roasting, prepare the rest of the salad. In a small bowl, combine Apple Cider Vinegar and chopped garlic, whisk together. Slowly add the canola oil, whisking as you add it to the bowl. Chop your red onion, peppers, cilantro and place into a large bowl with the plantain chunks. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until everything is well combined. Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal. 

Once everything is done, it’s time to plate it up! In true Epcot fashion, take a scoop of the Sweet Plantain Salad and place it in the middle of a plate. Lay the grilled chicken on top and serve with a dollop of the Mango Chutney Yogurt. I also drizzled some of the Mango chutney over the top of the chicken and sprinkled chopped cilantro on top. 

During the Stay at Home Order, I have definitely been missing trips to Epcot but this meal made me feel like I was taking a trip around the World Showcase. 

This is a great recipe to make for a summer cookout yet it’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner. Trust me, you will love it!

INGREDIENTS

Jerk Chicken

  • 4 Chicken thighs and 4 Chicken drumsticks or 8 Chicken Breast
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite Jerk Spice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Sweet Plantain Salad

  • 3 medium or 2 very large ripe plantains (they should have some black spots and be slightly soft) 
  • ¼ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil, plus more for roasting the plantains
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup red pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Jalapeno, chopped (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Mango Chutney, or you can buy the jar stuff

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 cups mangoes (2 to 3), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch pieces 
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped 
  • ½ tablespoon ginger
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes 

Mango Chutney Yogurt

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Mango chutney
  • 2 ½ tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Jerk Chicken Instructions

  • Toss chicken, jerk seasoning and canola oil in a large ziploc bag, until chicken is coated. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. 
  • Remove chicken from the refrigerator and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature before grilling. 
  • Preheat the grill to medium- high heat. 
  • Remove chicken from the jerk marinade and place on a medium to high lightly oil grill. 
  • Grill chicken for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also broil, or roast the chicken in a hot oven (425 degrees F).
  • Rest for 10 minutes. Remove chicken thighs to a plate or serving tray, cover lightly with foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Sweet Plantain Salad

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and brush a baking sheet with canola oil. 
  • To peel plantains, cut off the ends from both sides. Then cut a long strip down the length of the plantain without piercing the fruit. Remove the fruit from the peel. 
  • Place peeled whole plantains on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown on both sides, about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through. 
  • Combine Apple Cider Vinegar and chopped garlic, whisk together. Slowly add the canola oil, whisking as you add it to the bowl. 
  • Chop your red onion, peppers, cilantro and place into a large bowl with the plantain chunks. Pour the dressing over the top and toss until everything is well combined. 
  • Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the meal. 

Mango Chutney, if not using store bought

  • Combine sugar and vinegar in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until syrupy and slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally during cooking.

Mango Chutney Yogurt

  • Stir together yogurt, mango chutney and cilantro. 
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper. 
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  • Serve Jerk Chicken on top of Sweet Plantain salad with a scoop of Mango Chutney Yogurt and garnish with chopped cilantro. 
Recipes

PAN-SEARED CHICKEN PAILLARD WITH ARUGULA AND SHAVED PARMESAN

When the weather starts to warm up, I like to make lighter dishes. But I never sacrifice flavor! I love to use citrus in my recipes during the spring and summer.

This Pan-seared Chicken Paillard with Arugula and Shaved Parmesan embodies light and flavorful perfectly.
Paillard is when you take a piece of meat that is pounded out thin and cooked quickly.

This recipe keeps the seasonings simple. You top the lemon marinated chicken with delicious, peppery arugula drizzled with a truffle balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s fresh, and full of flavor. It’s the ideal spring or summer lunch or dinner. Pair it with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white wine), and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal!

First you want to start by pounding out the chicken. Place the chicken onto a cutting board and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Now take out all your aggression and pound the chicken with a mallet or you can use a rolling pin, that’s how my Meme used to do it. Pound the chicken until it is about ¼ inch thick.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.

In a mixing bowl combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder. I love using lemon zest in my dishes, especially homemade rubs or salad dressings.
Grab your zester, if you do not have a zester, you can use a box cheese grater on the fine side.
Zest half of a lemon, and juice half of a lemon in the bowl with the spices. Whisk all ingredients until well combined. Rub the mixture all over both sides of the chicken. Let the chicken marinate while you make the salad dressing.

The salad dressing calls for truffle oil which can be a strong flavor. I love truffle oil, but I know it’s not a favorite for all. So if you are not a fan of truffle oil, you can replace it with EVOO.
In a small bowl, add 1 chopped shallot, zest and juice of half a lemon, ½ teaspoon truffle oil, 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper, whisking until combined. Set aside.

Drizzle about a tablespoon of EVOO into the hot skillet. Place each flattened chicken breast into the hot oil. Cook on each side for 2-3 minutes or until fully cooked and golden brown.

Now for the plating!
This turns into a fresh beautiful plate!
Place the cooked chicken breast onto a plate and pile on the arugula. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan cheese over top of the arugula and chicken. Drizzle the Truffle Balsamic Vinegar over the arugula.

Enjoy!!

INGREDIENTS

For the Chicken:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Zest of ½ of a lemon
  • Juice of half a lemon

For the Salad:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 6 cups arugula
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS
Place the chicken breast on a cutting board and top with plastic wrap.
Pound out the chicken breast until it’s about a ¼” thick.
Place the chicken on a platter and brush a little olive oil on each side.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and garlic powder. In the same bowl add the zest and juice of half a lemon.
Generously rub the seasoning on each side.
Preheat your skillet with a swirl of EVOO. Turn down heat to medium-high and cook chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.

For the salad dressing
In a small bowl, add chopped shallots, truffle oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Place the chicken in the middle of a plate. Squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top of the chicken.
Top the warm chicken with a nice big portion of the dressed arugula.
Take a block of Parmesan and, using a vegetable peeler, shave pieces right on top of the arugula.

Drizzle the truffle balsamic vinegar dressing over top.
Serve immediately.

Recipes

Pear & Pecorino Ravioli with Pancetta and Walnuts

Ravioli stuffed with a fresh pear and cheese filling and sauteed in a buttery sauce with crispy pancetta, this ravioli recipe is a fancy dinner made easy!

The sweetness of the pears complements the salty and creamy cheese filling of these easy ravioli. It’s sweet and savory, my two favorite flavors! 

As you know by now, I love making homemade pasta and that doesn’t stop with the basics like spaghetti and fettuccine – I also enjoy making homemade ravioli. 

First, you will want to make the filling. 

Peel and core the pears. Then using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl and combine. Add ¼ cup of  the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the chopped parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set to the side. 

If you are making your own pasta, which I highly recommend, follow my Homemade Pasta recipe blog post. 

If you don’t want to make your own pasta dough, you can also use store bought wonton wrappers to cut down on time.

Roll pasta dough into long strips.  I used a pasta machine attachment on my stand mixer to make it easier.

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis or wonton wrapper. Place on a prepared lightly floured cookie sheet. 

This is a ravioli cutter, I purchased from Williams Sonoma.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air. 

Repeat this process until all ravioli is made.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

In a large pot of boiling water, add ravioli and once they float to the top, cook another couple of minutes, save about ¼ cup of the water and drain the rest. You will want to use the reserved pasta water to help thicken the sauce later.

For the sauce, melt the butter and sauté the shallots and garlic. I love shallots, while similar in taste to an onion, I think they have a bit more “refined” flavor and are more delicate, and softer. 

Once the shallots and garlic are slightly brown, add in the chopped pancetta. Pancetta is an Italian salami made of pork belly meat that is salt cured. You can find pancetta in the deli at most local grocery stores, like Publix. If you can not find Pancetta, bacon will work too. Cook the pancetta until crispy. 

Add the stuffed ravioli to the same pan, and coat with the buttery sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the reserved pasta water, a tablespoon at a time into the pan, this will thicken the sauce slightly. Continue to sauté the ravioli for about 2 more minutes, you want to heat the ravioli all the way through. Lastly, stir in the chopped parsley. 

Place the cooked ravioli on a plate, spoon the buttery sauce over the top and sprinkle with toasted chopped walnuts. Yum! 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 lb. Bartlett pears, peeled and cored
  • 8 oz. Pecorino Toscano cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. fresh pasta
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped pancetta
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 Tbs. chopped toasted walnuts

DIRECTIONS

Using the fine side of a box grater, grate the pears and Pecorino into a bowl. Add the mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. of the parsley, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Kitchen Aid Pasta Roller: Using the roller attachment, roll the pasta into a thin sheet and cut into 12-inch-long pieces.

Hand method: Roll out the pasta and cut into 12-inch-long pieces. 

Press a ravioli cutter stamp or circle cookie cutter into the flour and then press down firmly to cut out raviolis. Place on a prepared floured tray.

Scoop about 2 tsp. of the filling into the center of the ravioli. Place another ravioli round on top. Using a pastry brush dipped in water, moisten the exposed pasta around the filling. Starting in the center, gently press and shape the dough around each mound, working out to the sides and forcing out any air.

Transfer the ravioli to a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.

Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add half of the ravioli and cook until they float and are al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the ravioli to paper towels to drain. Repeat to cook the remaining ravioli. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

In a large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sauté the chopped shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes. In the same pan, add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ravioli and gently stir to coat with the butter. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to create a sauce. Stir in the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley.

Transfer the ravioli to a warmed serving bowl, sprinkle with the walnuts and serve.

 Inspired by Lidia Bastianich

Recipes

Zucchini Taco Boats

Looking for an alternative to your Taco Tuesday?

These Zucchini Taco boats are made with fresh zucchini stuffed with seasoned ground beef, bell peppers, and topped with cheese and salsa. But the filling could literally be anything, from chicken and corn, to meatballs with tomato sauce! 

They are low carb and keto diet friendly. 

Start with 3 or 4 small zucchini. 

I used a small cookie scoop to scoop out the middle of the zucchini, but you can also use a small spoon. I got a little close to the edge on one of them, but don’t worry about it. The meat filling will cover it up. I love using the insides of the zucchini I scooped out to add filler, so place the insides to the side.  

Pour 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa in a baking dish- I used Pace. Lay the boats on top of the salsa and sprinkle each with salt. 

Now it’s time to make the filling.  Heat a pan over medium-heat and cook the meat. You can use any ground meat, I used ground beef.  Once the meat is cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the same pan and add a drizzle of EVOO.

Sauté the insides of the zucchini. Make sure to cook it down to reduce the liquid. Then add bell peppers,- any color,  I used red and yellow. Sprinkle it with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together and cook for about two minutes. Add the red onion and garlic. It should start to smell like it’s almost Taco time! 

Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has absorbed. Lastly, add the meat back to the pan, and stir together. Once it is combined, it’s time to fill up the boats. Go ahead and fill those babies up- don’t be shy! Let the meat spill over if you need to.

I love cheese and, what’s a taco if it doesn’t have any cheese on it? Cover the filled boats with shredded cheese. I used Cheddar but Monterrey Jack or a Mexican blend would work great, too. 

Place the baking dish in the 400°F preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. 

This recipe  is great if you’re looking for a low-carb option for tacos, or need to get more veggies into your diet. Try them out for Taco Tuesday and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Zucchini
  • 1lb Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Mixed Red & Yellow Bell Peppers, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup Red Onion, diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced  
  • 1 tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 8 ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Salsa

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°F

Prepare your zucchini, cut each zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a measuring spoon (teaspoon) to hollow out the zucchini forming a boat… save the insides and set aside. 

Pour salsa into a baking dish.

Place the zucchini boats in the same baking dish and sprinkle a small amount of salt over them.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. Once cooked, transfer to a bowl. Wipe out the same pan and add a drizzle of EVOO.

Add the inside of the zucchini, water will release. Let it cook down to reduce the liquid, then add bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Stir together and cook for about two minutes. Then add the red onion and garlic.

Continue to cook until vegetables are softened and water has absorbed. Add the meat back to the pan, stir together. 

Once combined, fill each zucchini boat with the beef and vegetable mixture.

Top the zucchini boats with cheddar cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes or until zucchini has softened and cheese is melted.

Serve hot! 

Recipes

Everything Bagel Cloud Eggs

I love when my friends text me pictures of the food they have made! This morning, my friend Adam texted Brian and I a picture of his breakfast and in his words, “Cloud Eggs. Holy ****! Delicious.”

Since I was trying to decide what I should eat for breakfast, I decided to give it a try and Adam was right, DELICIOUS!

Cloud Eggs are egg whites whipped to stiff peaks, seasoning folded in, formed into nests, baked with yolk in the center and covered with shredded cheese. 

All you need are 3 ingredients—egg, seasoning of your choice, and cheese. Per Adam’s recommendation, I used Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning! 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Make sure there are no little pieces of egg yolk in the whites or you will have difficulty getting the whites to beat properly. I find it is easiest to crack the whole egg into a bowl and then using your hand, pull the yolk out and place in a separate bowl. 

Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl. Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment in a mixer (or using a hand mixer), starting on low speed and then slowly increasing to high speed, until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold in the seasoning, making sure not to deflate the peaks. 

Spoon two mounds of the egg white mixture on the lined baking sheet. Form the mounds so they look like nests, using the back of a spoon create an indent in the middle of the mound. Carefully, pour the yolk into the center of the indent and sprinkle shredded cheese on top. 

Bake for 7 minutes. 

INGREDIENTS (per serving)

  • ¼ teaspoon seasoning of your choice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 yolks
  • 1 tablespoon cheddar cheese, shredded

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Separate egg whites from egg yolks
  3. Whips the egg whites until stiff peaks form
  4. Gently fold in the seasonings of your choice
  5. Spoon one portion of the egg whites onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
  6. Use the back of the spoon to create an indent in the middle of the egg white “cloud”. 
  7. Repeat for additional servings. 
  8. Gently place an egg yolk into each egg white “cloud” indentation. 
  9. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. 
  10. Bake for 7 minutes.

Please comment, if you tried a different seasoning. The possibilities are endless!

Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian comfort foods.
The one thing to keep in mind when cooking eggplant, is eggplants hold onto moisture, like a sponge. So if you’re not careful you can end up with a mushy mess.

So the best method to make eggplant parmesan is to pull the moisture out of the eggplant prior to frying it.

How do we pull moisture out of the eggplant?

You sprinkle salt on the eggplant slice and let them sit for 45 minutes to one hour.The salt pulls out the moisture from the eggplant. 

It also helps to cut the bitterness of the vegetable and makes it “sweat”. You will notice little drops of moisture on the surface of the disks. Removing the moisture from the eggplant will prevent it from releasing it during cooking. 

After the 45 minutes, all you have to do is just pat them dry and dust off the excess salt and then you’ll be ready to start making your eggplant parmesan! I guarantee you will have a much crispier and less soggy eggplant parmesan dish! 

Now of course, you can bake or roast the eggplant for eggplant Parmesan, and they are tasty but frying the eggplant gives the dish a deep caramelized flavor that can not be mimicked by baking. 

I like my eggplant a tad thick so I slice mine about ¼ thick, using a sharp knife. Grab two shallow dishes, crack two eggs in one dish and whisk. I like to add some seasoning, like granulated garlic and black pepper, to my whisked eggs but that is totally up to you. Pour 1 ½ cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs in the other dish. I love cheese and feel you can never have too much so I sprinkle ¼ cup of grated Parmesan into the breadcrumbs and whisk until combined. 

Take each slice, dip it into the egg mixture, roll in the bread crumbs and shake off any excess. Place the breaded eggplant slices on a plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. I always use my cast iron skillet but any skillet will work. I have become a big fan of cast iron in the last year. Check out my Tips & Tricks page for why. 

Once the skillet is hot, slowly slide two-three breaded eggplant slices into the oil. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, they should be a nice golden brown. The first batch will take longer than the rest as the oil heats up. You will want to keep a close eye on them and watch out for oil splatters. 

Line a large sheet pan with foil, this will make for an easy clean up. Add a layer of eggplant slices then dollop 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn’t to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. The more cheese the better, in my opinion. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I use the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown – you don’t have to, but if you do, watch it carefully!

There is nothing better than the smell of fresh basil. It reminds me of my grandparents’ backyard when I was a child. My grandfather, Papa, always had a basil plant in his backyard. Here’s a great tip for cutting basil. Stack the basil leaves on top of each other and roll up like a cigar. Then make thin slices from one end of the basil cigar to the other. Sprinkle on top of your eggplant parmesan and serve. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for lightly pan-frying
  • 2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
  • 2 cups whole milk mozzarella shredded
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves sliced, for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Salt both sides of your eggplant slices and place them in a large colander in the sink. Let the liquid drain for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When your eggplant slices have finished draining liquid, brush off the excess salt.

In 2 shallow plates, add breadcrumbs to one and whisk eggs and in the other. Dip both sides of the eggplant slice into egg mixture then cover with breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess. Place on a plate or large baking sheet and repeat until all eggplant slices have been coated.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil into the skillet. Once the skillet is hot, add two-three eggplant slices at a time to the skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, remove and set on a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat until you’ve pan-fried them all.

On a large sheet pan, add a layer of eggplant slices then using dollop 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce on top of the eggplant slices. The idea isn’t to smother the layers with sauce. On top of the eggplant slices, sprinkle a generous amount of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top. I use the broiler for 5 minutes to get the cheese nice and brown. 

Serve hot and top with sliced basil.

Recipes

Kona Coffee Crusted Steak

My friend, Amy travels for work so when she texted me that she just ate one of the best meals of her life and wanted me to learn how to recreate it, I felt like I had to accept the challenge. 

This steak recipe will have you licking your plate and asking for more! 

The coffee rub is quick and easy to whip up. You may be thinking, “Really? Coffee on steak??” YES! It gives the steak such a rich, bold flavor. After trying this coffee crusted steak rub you will likely want to keep a jar of it in your cabinet at all times. 

First, you’ll need to choose the coffee, I personally love to use Kona Vanilla Macadamia Nut. It gives the steak a slightly sweet but savory flavor. But you can choose any coffee! 

Whisk in a bowl: the coffee, granulated garlic, ground black pepper, grated parmesan cheese, salt and dry mustard powder. 

Here’s a tip I learned, it is best to take the steaks out of the fridge about half an hour before you plan to cook them. Why? In the words of Food Network’s Bobby Flay “freezing-cold steak won’t cook evenly!”

Remove the wrapping from the steak, roll the steak in the coffee rub pressing to create a crust. Place on a plate and let the steak come up to room temperature on the kitchen counter while you make the Shallot butter. 

I love making different types of butter so when I saw this recipe called for a Shallot butter, I was super excited. You will need to allow 2 sticks of butter to soften to room temperature. While the 2 sticks are getting to room temperature, take 2 additional tablespoons of butter and melt, I usually use a coffee mug in the microwave for 30 seconds. 

Warm a sauté pan over high heat, slowly pour in the melted butter, and heat for about two minutes, this is called the smoke point. Add the sliced shallots and caramelize for two minutes, seasoning with salt. Continue to caramelize as shallots start to brown, add the garlic and sauté for one minute. As the shallots and garlic start to brown deglaze with white wine and lemon juice. Once the mixture starts to boil, take off the heat and let cook for one minute. Place the two softened butter sticks into a bowl, pour the shallot mixture on top and whip together. 

I fell in love with this butter and keep a small amount in my fridge at all times. I use it for almost anything from scrambled eggs, sauteing vegetables to pasta dishes. 

Preheat the grill. 

Place the steak at the hottest part of the grate, and let it sear for two to three minutes, then flip the steak and sear the other side for two to three minutes. If you try to lift the meat before it’s ready, it’ll stick to the grates. 

After the steak is seared on both sides, use tongs and move it to the warm side of the grate (not directly over the coals), brush with Shallot butter. Close the lid and continue to cook the steak until it’s at your desired temperature. Here’s another tip, do not stab them with a fork, or press down on them with a spatula, this will release their flavorful juices into the flames below. Just let them cook until your desired temperature. I like to use a digital instant-read meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak while it’s still on the grill. 

130°F for rare, 135°F medium-rare, 145°F medium, 150°F medium well and 160°F for well done.

Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook a few degrees more when it’s removed from the grill.

Using the tongs, remove the steak from the grill, place on a cutting board, and brush with the Shallot butter, loosely cover it with aluminum foil, and allow it to “rest” for five minutes (the temperature will continue to rise a few degrees).

After 5 minutes, brush Shallot butter onto a plate, place the steak on top and serve. 

I served my steak with a twice baked potato and garlic wilted spinach. Yum! It was the perfect steak night meal! I included the garlic wilted spinach recipe below. 

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 6 oz filet mignon steaks, trimmed of fat

Coffee Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon coffee, grounded                         
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic                                       
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper    
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon seasoning salt                                           
  • ½ tablespoon dry mustard powder

Caramelized Shallot Butter: 

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature                                      
  • 1 cup shallot, sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced                     
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted                                         
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt                                                
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper                             
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice     
  • 2 tablespoons white wine                                                

Warm a saute pan over  high heat. Add the melted butter, heat to the smoke point, and add the shallots.

Caramelize the shallots for two minutes and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Continue to caramelize the shallots, add the garlic and deglaze with 2 tablespoons of white wine and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat for one minute.

Combine shallot garlic mixture and softened butter in a mixing bowl and whip to combine. 

Roll the sirloin in the coffee rub pressing upon rub to create a “crust”. 

Grill the steak to the desired temperature being careful not to burn the crust. Brush the sirloin with the butter and allow the sirloin to “rest” for 5 minutes. 

Brush Shallot butter onto a plate, place the steak on top and serve. 

Inspired by Capital Grille Recipe.

Garlic Wilted Spinach

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb baby spinach 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 

DIRECTIONS 

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and garlic. Saute garlic in oil for 2 or 3 minutes. Add spinach to the pan in stages. Fill the pan with leaves and turn leaves in warm oil until they wilt. Add more spinach to the skillet and repeat the process until all of the spinach is incorporated. Season the wilted spinach with salt and pepper, then serve.