Homemade Ranch Dressing

Yields: 9 ounces
 
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 tablespoons buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic (grated on a microplane)
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
 
Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Fennel-y Sausage with Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Kale

Yields: 4 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium

¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons ground fennel

1 pound (mild or spicy) Italian sausage, preferably not in the casing

1 large sweet potato (approximately 1 1/3 pounds), peeled and diced medium

4 medium carrots, diced medium

5 curly kale leaves, stems discarded, leaves roughly chopped

1 pint (3/4 pound) grape tomatoes, halved

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 packed cup fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Combine the olive oil, onion, ¼ teaspoon salt and the pepper in a small pot over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Remove the lid.

Add the garlic and ground fennel, stir to combine, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the sausage to the pot, and, using the back of a wooden spoon, break it up into small pieces and let it cook until no pink remains, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the sweet potato, carrots, kale and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Cover with a lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.

Remove from heat. Stir in the apple cider vinegar and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Finally stir in the spinach. Season to taste. Serve as is or with a crusty, toasted piece of sourdough bread.

“Blackened” Arctic Char Tray Bake with Roasted Tomatoes, Broccolini and Red Bell Pepper

Yield: 4 servings

Spice Rub:

2 teaspoons ground sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground fennel

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl.

Roasted Vegetables:

1 pint (3/4 pound) grape tomatoes, halved

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced small

1 bunch broccolini (1/2 pound), stems chopped into ¼-inch pieces, florets torn into bite-sized pieces  

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Combine tomatoes, bell pepper and broccolini in a large bowl. Drizzle over olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Mix to combine.

Arctic Char:

1 and 1/3 pounds arctic char filets, skin on, cut into 4 equal sized portions

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Rinse fish under very cold water and pat dry. Lightly coat fish (all sides) with a little olive oil – just enough to coat. Sprinkle spice rub over the flesh side of the fish to coat, about 4 teaspoons in total.

Instructions:

Set an oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil.

Spread vegetables out evenly on the aluminum-lined sheet tray.

Place fish, flesh side up, evenly spaced on top of the vegetables and bake approximately 15 minutes, until the flesh just begins to flake at the thickest point.

Serve immediately.

Vanilla-Orange Cranberry Sauce

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup freshly pressed apple cider

⅓ cup honey, preferably orange blossom

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries 

2 tablespoons orange zest (yield from 2 large oranges), grated on a Microplane

1 small orange, peeled, seeded, and chopped roughly, juice reserved

1 cinnamon stick

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a Microplane before measuring

½ vanilla bean, seeds and pod: slice down the length of the pod, spread open, and scrape out the flesh by pressing with a butter knife or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir the apple cider, honey, cranberries, orange zest, chopped oranges and their juice, cinnamon stick, ginger, and vanilla bean seeds and pod in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Cover the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries burst.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean pod.

Pour into a serving bowl. Any remaining sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Chances are there isn’t going to be any left, because this stuff goes fast.

Note: This recipe also works great with frozen cranberries.

Summer Succotash with Bacon

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel

Summer Succotash with Bacon

Yield: 4 servings

3 slices bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut into ¼-inch slices, crosswise

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (1/2 cup)

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn (approximately 2 cups) or 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 cups (frozen) lima beans, thawed

2 medium zucchini or summer squash (3/4 pound), diced small (3 cups)

15 (3-inch) sprigs fresh thyme

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¾ cup white wine (preferably chardonnay)

¼ cup water

¾ pound grape tomatoes, halved

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1 large lemon)

20 medium fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives, for serving

Add the bacon to a large sauté pan. Place the sauté pan over medium-low heat. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off, and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.

Add the shallot and garlic. Stir and cook until the shallot is soft and translucent, approximately 3 minutes.

Add the corn, lima beans, squash, thyme, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just beginning to caramelize, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the white wine, water, tomatoes and butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until much of the liquid has evaporated and thickened and the tomatoes are starting to break down, approximately 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, remove the thyme sprigs and stir in the lemon juice and basil.

To serve, divide succotash among shallow bowls. Sprinkle over chives.

Note: to make vegetarian, simply omit bacon and begin with the (shallot and garlic) second step.

Shrimp Ceviche with Tortilla Chips

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Shrimp Ceviche with Tortilla Chips

Yields: 2 to 4 servings

1 pound frozen shrimp, (16-20 count), thawed, shelled and deveined – choose sustainable seafood from grocery stores like Whole Foods

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 serrano pepper, halved and seeded to taste

2 large garlic cloves, peeled

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus 1 quartered lime, divided

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium tomato, cored and diced small

½ cup small diced red onion (1/2 of a small onion)

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, pitted and diced medium

Tortilla chips

Add 4 cups of water and 1 tablespoon kosher salt to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling, turn off the heat. Add the shrimp and poach, stirring occasionally, keeping the shrimp submerged, for 90 seconds.

Strain shrimp and transfer to an ice bath. Let shrimp cool completely, approximately 5 minutes.

Remove 3 shrimp and transfer the 3 shrimp to a blender. Add the serrano pepper, garlic, 1/3 cup lime juice, lemon juice and remaining 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Blend on high until smooth.

Add the olive oil and blend on low for 5 to 10 seconds until emulsified in the liquid.

Set aside.

Strain shrimp from the ice bath and transfer to a cutting board. Chop until you have a small uniform texture of shrimp pieces. You are looking for pieces the size of a corn kernel but not chopping into a shrimp paste. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the contents of the blender to the medium bowl with the shrimp. Add the tomato and onion. Stir to combine thoroughly. Transfer to the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes (no more!) remove from the refrigerator, add the cilantro and stir to combine once more. Season to taste with salt.

Divide among shallow bowls, top with avocado and serve with lime wedges and tortilla chips.

Chicken Marsala with Mushroom Ragout and Buttered Noodles

Chicken Marsala with Mushroom Ragoût and Buttered Noodles

Yield: 2 servings

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (9 ounces each)

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup plus 1 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose flour, divided

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

8 ounces fresh button or cremini mushrooms, sliced ¼ inch thick

2 medium shallots, peeled and diced small (6 tablespoons)

½ cup sweet Marsala wine

1½ cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1. Pat the chicken dry and sandwich each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap.

2. Using a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a saucepan, pound each chicken breast until it is ¼ inch thick.

3. Season each side of each chicken breast with ⅛ teaspoon salt (for a total of ½ teaspoon) and a few good grinds of pepper.

4. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of the flour with 1 teaspoon of the butter and mix well.

5. Add the remaining flour to a shallow bowl; dredge the seasoned chicken breasts in the flour, shaking each piece to remove any excess.

6. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 tablespoon butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the butter turns a light golden brown.

7. Add the chicken breasts and cook for approximately 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

8. Transfer the chicken from the pan to a large plate.

9. Begin preparing the Buttered Egg Noodles (recipe below), so grab a small pot and start boiling some water.

10. With the pan still on the burner at medium-high heat, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to the same sauté pan.

11. Add the mushrooms and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.

12. Add the Marsala wine and chicken stock to the sauté pan. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

13. Stir in the kneaded butter/flour mixture. Cook on high heat for 4 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.

14. Reduce the heat to medium, then return the breasts to the pan. Continue to cook for 2 minutes, flipping after 1 minute, or until they are warmed through and the sauce has thickened.

15. Add the lemon juice and season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional lemon juice.

16. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and cut into bite-size pieces.

17. Serve the sliced chicken over the buttered noodles, swirl the chopped parsley and lemon juice into the sauce, then spoon over the chicken. Enjoy.

Buttered Egg Noodles:

2 tablespoons kosher salt

5 ounces egg noodles

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil, then add the salt.

2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender.

3. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cooking water, and then drain, but do not rinse the noodles. Return the drained noodles to the same pot.

4. Add the butter and the reserved cooking water. Mix together and cover to keep warm.

Pineapple Fried Cauliflower Rice with Chili Crisp

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Pineapple Fried Cauliflower Rice with Chili Crisp

Yields: 4 servings

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided

4 whole large eggs, whisked in a small bowl

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

10 large garlic cloves, minced (3 tablespoons)

3-inch piece fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane (1½ tablespoons)

1 (12-ounce) bag frozen cauliflower rice

2 cups (8-ounces) frozen peas

1 bunch of scallions, sliced thinly (1½ cups)

3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on a bias (1¼ cups)

1 large red bell pepper, diced small (1½ cups)

2 cups small diced pineapple

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/4 cup chili crisp condiment

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 1 large lime)

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, for serving

1 cup roasted and salted cashews, for serving

Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and heat until oil begins to shimmer, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Add the whisked eggs and let cook, undisturbed, until they just begin to set, about 20 to 30 seconds. Stir with a spatula to break up the eggs into small pieces until they are cooked through/scrambled, approximately 1 minute. Transfer eggs to a plate and set aside.

Return the sauté pan to the heat and add the remaining (2 tablespoons) grapeseed oil, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the frozen cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is thawed, 3 to 5 minutes.

Increase the heat to high. Add the peas, scallions, carrots, red bell pepper, pineapple, sugar and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked through but not soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Add the soy sauce, chili crisp, lime juice and scrambled eggs. Stir to combine and season to taste with additional salt.

Divide amongst bowls and top each serving with cilantro and cashews.

Gluten Free Crepe with Fresh Thyme and Lemon Zest

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 10 7-inch crepes

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup water

1 cup garbanzo bean flour

¼ white rice flour

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Place the eggs and olive oil in a large bowl and whisk until combined. Add the water and whisk until well combined. Add the flours, thyme, zest, salt and a few grinds of pepper and whisk thoroughly until well combined.

Allow the batter to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Place a crêpe pan or small nonstick sauté pan over medium-low heat. Once hot, measure approximately ¼ cup batter (you can use a 2-ounce ladle for this), and pour into the center of the pan.

Quickly rotate and tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Cook for 30 to 45 seconds, then flip the crêpe over with a plastic spatula. The crêpe should be cooked, maybe even very lightly golden brown in colored, but not dry or crispy.

Cook the second side for approximately 30 seconds, then transfer to a plate.

Perfect Salmon Method

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 pound salmon fillet, 1½ inches thick, center cut, skin on, cut into 4 equal pieces

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 1 large lemon), grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Mix the salt and sugar together in a small bowl.

Season the flesh side of the salmon with the salt/sugar mixture and let salmon sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes and no longer than 15 minutes. This step ensures the salmon is properly seasoned as well as firms up the flesh.

While the salmon is resting prepare your lemon zest and thyme. Chop them together a few times in order to evenly mix them. Set aside.

After 15 minutes, rinse the salmon under very cold water and pat the salmon dry with a paper towel.

Pat the flesh side (only) with the lemon zest and chopped thyme. (You do not need to cover the sides of the salmon with the mixture.)

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add the olive oil and butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute the butter once it has browned, then add the salmon, flesh side down (skin side up).

Cook for 1 minute undisturbed and then flip to skin side down and continue cooking undisturbed for 30 seconds.

Cover the sauté pan and immediately push the sauté pan off the heat. Turn off the heat and allow the salmon to rest undisturbed for 15 minutes. Note: For salmon that is ¾-inch to 1-inch thick, let the salmon rest for only 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove salmon from the pan and serve. For a delicious pairing, serve salmon atop my Sauteed Brussels Sprouts Caesar Salad.