Pan Seared Salmon with Dijon Crème Fraiche and Lentil Frisée Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Lentils:

1 cup beluga lentils, rinsed well and drained

3 cups vegetable stock

1 dried bay leaf

5 sprigs fresh thyme

Mix the lentils with the stock, bay leaf, and thyme in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring the saucepan to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy. Drain. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the vinaigrette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

Salad:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small (⅔ cup)

2 medium carrots, peeled and grated (1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) 

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint

1 small head frisée, rinsed and dried, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces (2 cups)

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Add the olive oil, onions and carrots to a medium sate pan over medium-low. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

In a large bowl, combine the contents of the sauté pan along with the lentils.

Grab the vinaigrette and give one more good shake or whisk, then pour it over the warm salad and gently mix with a large spoon.

Fold in the parsley, mint and frisée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Salmon:

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

1 tablespoon lemon zest (zest of 3 lemons), grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pat the salmon dry, then pat the non-skin side with the lemon zest and chopped thyme, season lightly with salt and pepper, and allow the salmon to sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Heat a large sauté pan over high heat until hot; add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the butter to the sauté pan. The butter will bubble up, turn brown and perhaps even smoke. Swirl the sauté pan to distribute, then add the salmon, skin side up.

Cook for 1 minute, flip to skin side down and continue cooking 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.

Dijon Crème Fraîche:

1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard

¼ cup crème fraîche

Place the mustard and crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir until combined.

Serve salmon topped with a dollop of Dijon crème fraîche and on a bed of the lentil frisee salad.

Note: I recommend preparing this recipe in the following way in order to maximize your time. Cook lentils first. While lentils are cooking, make the vinaigrette, followed by the Dijon crème fraiche. Start the salmon and then work on the salad. And, as always, mise out/prep your ingredients first!

Lemony Spaghetti with Cannellini Beans, Arugula and Brown Butter Breadcrumbs

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

Brown Butter Breadcrumbs:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup panko

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium sauté pan, over medium heat, heat the butter until it foams up, subsides, and begins to turn golden brown.

Add the panko, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are toasted, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Set aside.

Lemony Spaghetti:

2 tablespoons + ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

½ pound spaghetti

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon lemon zest, zested on a Microplane

1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, roughly chopped

1 packed cup baby arugula

¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (not pre-grated)

Add 16 cups water to a large pot. Add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the spaghetti to the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While the pasta is cooking, in a Dutch oven, add the remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, butter, olive oil, shallot, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon zest and beans. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent and the garlic is fragrant, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

When the pasta is al dente, lift the pasta out of the water with tongs, and add it to the Dutch oven. Add in 1 cup of pasta water and the lemon juice. Stir until the liquid has thickened. Add in the parsley and arugula and stir to combine. If you feel that the sauce has gotten too thick, add additional pasta water.

Serve immediately by dividing the pasta among bowls and topping each serving with generous helpings of breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Steamed Mussels in a Coconut Lemongrass Broth

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 2 servings

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

12 (2-inch) pieces lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife

3 (3-inch) pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

10 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced

¼ red pepper (chili) flakes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 large makrut (Thai) lime leaves, each leaf torn into quarters

1 cup chicken stock

1 cup water

½ pint (5 ounces) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 (13.5-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (not lite, no guar gum)

1 small bunch cilantro, stems finely chopped, leaves reserved/set aside

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Sourdough bread, sliced and toasted

In a 5.5 quart dutch oven add the oil and set over medium heat. Heat until oil is shimmering, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, black pepper and lime leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, water and cherry tomatoes. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to pull up any brown bits aka deglaze.

Add the coconut milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is slightly thickened and reduced by half, approximately 20 minutes.

Add the cilantro stems (do not add the leaves) and stir.

Stir in the mussels. Cover and let cook for 4 minutes, shaking the pan every minute for even cooking, until the mussels are cooked through and have opened.

Turn off heat. Transfer mussels, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl.

Add the lime juice to the coconut milk broth and stir. Taste and season with additional lime juice and/or salt and pepper as needed.

To serve, distribute the mussels among large shallow bowls. Spoon over broth and a sprinkle of the cilantro leaves. Serve with copious amounts of toasted sourdough bread to sop up the liquid gold coconut lemongrass broth.

Note: this makes a nice appetizer or light lunch, but if serving for dinner, you may want to add a serving of rice and double up on the recipe!

Spicy Gochujang Meatloaf

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Gochujang Glaze:

5 tablespoons gochujang, divided

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

¼ teaspoon grated fresh ginger, grated on a Microplane

3 tablespoons (unseasoned) rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Add 4 tablespoons gochujang, the Worcestershire, soy sauce and sesame oil to a small pot. Whisk to combine. Transfer ¼ cup of this mixture to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of gochujang, the ginger, rice wine vinegar and sugar to the small pot. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Meatloaf:

¼ pound frozen bacon, roughly chopped (it must be frozen!)

1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 pieces

5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 large whole eggs, whisked

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (white or black)

2 cups panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2¼ pounds ground beef, 80% lean

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 325ºF.

2. In a food processor, pulse the frozen bacon until it’s finely chopped. Transfer chopped bacon to a small bowl and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

3. In the same food processor (no need to clean) pulse together the onion and garlic until very finely chopped. Transfer to the large mixing bowl with the gochujang mixture.

4. Add the mustard, egg, pepper and sesame seeds to the large bowl. Mix together thoroughly.

5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the mixture.  Sprinkle the ground beef (breaking it up as you go) over the mixture. Finally, sprinkle the bacon over. Fold together (get in there with your hands) until combined. Avoid squeezing the meat.

6. Press the meat into a 9” x 5” loaf pan, pressing the top to make it level. Using a pairing knife, run the blade along the inside edges of the pan to loosen the meat from the sides of the pan. Turn the raw meatloaf out (flip it) onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. If your oven has a gas (flame) broiler, use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper. (Remove the loaf pan.)

7. Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Rotate the sheet tray and continue cooking for an additional 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 150ºF.

8. While the meatloaf is cooking, place the small pot of glaze over medium-low heat. Reduce the glaze, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula, until it is thick like a barbecue sauce.

9. Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Turn oven to broil. Glaze the top and sides of the meatloaf using a brush, with half of the glaze. Place sheet tray back in the oven on the middle rack and broil for 1 minute. Keep your eyes on it and set a timer – the high heat may cause the parchment paper to brown (which is why you should use aluminum foil if your heating element is gas/a flame).  Remove the sheet tray and glaze again with the remaining liquid. Broil again for 1 minute.   

10. Remove and let the meatloaf rest for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

Pairing suggestion: serve meatloaf with a vegetable, such as green beans, as well as rice and kimchi. Go crazy and top your slice with a fried egg!

Chicken Teriyaki Pilaf with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

TeriyakiChix

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Teriyaki Chicken:

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons mirin

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

¼ teaspoon freshly grated garlic, grated on a Microplane

1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

Add all ingredients, except chicken, to a medium saucepan (do not put over heat) and stir until sugar has dissolved. Add chicken and stir to coat. Let sit at room temperature while you prep the pilaf.

Pilaf:

2 tablespoons neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, grated on a Microplane

1½ tablespoons minced garlic

1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 cup Jasmine rice, rinsed and drained well

1¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons white miso

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced medium

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced on a bias, white and green parts

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the oils, ginger, garlic and shallot to a 5.5 quart dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until shallots are soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and are soft, approximately 5 minutes.

Add rice, stir to combine and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add stock and rice wine vinegar. Stir to combine. Add miso and stir until incorporated fully. Add squash and pepper and stir to combine. Level rice mixture with a spatula. Add the chicken thighs (but not the sauce – keep the sauce in the saucepan!) in a single layer on top of the mixture. Cook, uncovered, until mixture is simmering all the way through (center and sides – everywhere!). Once a simmer is achieved, cover and transfer to oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven (keep covered) and let rest, covered, for 20 minutes.

While the pilaf is resting, put the teriyaki sauce over low heat and reduce, stirring occasionally, until 1/3 cup sauce remains. Remove from heat. (You may want/need to reheat sauce if you wait a long time before serving pilaf).

Pour teriyaki sauce over the chicken. Top with scallions and sesame seeds and serve!

Tray Bake Sausage with Cabbage and Roasted Cherries

sausagetray2 copy

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yields: 4 servings

 

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small cabbage (1¼ pound cabbage) cored, quartered and thinly sliced (7 packed cups)

1 large shallot, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

4 (5-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

1½ pounds fresh Spicy Italian Sausage (4 links), poked with a sharp knife (5-10 times per)

1 pound frozen, pitted cherries, thawed

½ cup roughly chopped toasted and salted pecans

¼ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the cabbage, shallot and rosemary and mix thoroughly to combine.

Spread the cabbage mixture over 2/3rds of a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.

Evenly space the links on top of the cabbage mixture.

In the remaining 1/3 space on the sheet tray, spread out the cherries.

Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the sausages.

Continue baking until the internal temperature of the sausages reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, approximately 15 minutes.

To serve, place some of the cabbage in a shallow bowl. Top with a sprinkle of pecans and parsley. Spoon roasted cherries around the cabbage and top with a sausage.

Za’atar Pasta Salad

zaatar pasta salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube!

 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

 

Pasta:

16 ounces small pasta of your choice (such as fusilli, geminelli, cavatelli)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced on a Microplane (1 teaspoon)

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small (1/3 cup)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chili) flakes

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

 

Salad:

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10-ounce) jar pitted Castelvetrano olives, drained and roughly chopped

2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

4 persian or English cucumbers, halved and sliced thinly on a bias

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley

4 teaspoons za’atar, plus more to taste

 

Add 16 cups water to a pot. Add 2 tablespoons of salt and bring to a rolling boil.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

While pasta is cooking, add vinaigrette ingredients to a very large bowl. Whisk vigorously until emulsified just before adding pasta.

When pasta is done, drain (do not rinse) and add to the large bowl with the (now whisked) vinaigrette. Mix thoroughly.

Let pasta vinaigrette mixture rest at room temperature until it has cooled. Stir occasionally.

While cooling, add all salad ingredients except za’atar to a medium bowl.

Once pasta is room temperature, add salad ingredients to the pasta and gently fold to combine.

Sprinkle za’atar over salad and fold again to combine. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper and za’atar.

Serve and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Artichoke Pesto Sandwich

artichooke pesto sammy

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1 (14-ounce) can or jar artichoke hearts, packed in water, drained and squeezed of excess water

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup whole milk ricotta, drained

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 slices whole wheat bread, toasted

1 (12-ounce jar) roasted red bell peppers, drained

2 cups spinach

2 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly

4-ounces whole milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

 

Place artichoke hearts, basil, ricotta, pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth, approximately 1 minute, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.

Place an oven rack on the top rack and line 2 sheet trays with aluminum foil. Turn your oven to broil.

Assemble 4 sandwiches by spreading 2½ tablespoons of the pesto on each piece of toast. Layer spinach, red bell pepper and tomato on one side of the sandwich (atop the pesto). Add mozzarella on the other side of the sandwich. Place sandwiches, open-faced, on the foil-lined sheet trays (2 sandwiches per sheet tray).

Place 1 sheet tray under the broiler until the cheese is nice and melty. (This may happen quite quickly depending on your oven!) Remove from the oven and repeat with the remaining sheet tray.

Brown Butter Sweet Corn Pancakes

corn pancake

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yields: 12 pancakes

Spice Mix:

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon chipotle powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

 

Pancake Mix:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted until browned, cooled slightly, plus more for greasing the pan

½ cup low-fat buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles in adobo)

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup stone-ground whole-grain cornmeal (not coarse)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoon spice mix

3 scallions (green onions), very thinly sliced (½ cup)

2 cups fresh corn or thawed frozen corn

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, buttermilk, eggs and adobo sauce.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and spice mix. Add the liquids from the small bowl into the large bowl. Fold together until just combined. Fold in the scallions and corn with a rubber spatula.

Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat for 1½ minutes.  Add a small amount of butter to pan, just enough to lightly coat. Scoop batter into ¼ cup measure cup. Add the batter to the pan using a spoon to get it out of the measuring cup. Gently press the pancake batter with the back of the spoon to flatten it and form a 3-inch pancake. (Cook 3 to 4 pancakes at a time.) Cook for 2 minutes on each side. Pro tip: start your timer after the last pancake is added to the pan. Repeat until all pancakes are cooked.

Transfer pancakes to a cookie rack until all are made and you are ready to serve.

 

Pancake Topping Options:

Sour Cream

Fresh Cilantro, roughly chopped

Cotija Cheese, crumbled

Avocado, sliced

Green onions, thinly sliced

Spice mix

To serve, place 3 pancakes on a plate. Top with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of the spice mix and all of your favorite toppings.

Herb Encrusted Chicken Paillard with Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad

paillardquinoa

 

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Chicken:

4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 2 pounds)

3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, oregano or thyme (or a combination of all three)

2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of 2 lemons), grated on a Microplane

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

 

Line a sheet tray with aluminum foil. Adjust an oven rack to the upper position.

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Using a mallet, rolling pin, or the back of a saucepan, pound each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap until ⅓ inch thick.

Remove the chicken from the plastic wrap, then drizzle lightly with the olive oil, just enough to coat both sides, rubbing to coat evenly. Season equally with herbs, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper.

Set your oven to broil. Place chicken on sheet tray and broil for approximately 8 minutes, flipping the breasts halfway through, until the internal temperature is 150 degrees Fahrenheit. (Keep your eyes on that chicken under the broiler – things can happen fast!)

Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing / serving over the quinoa salad.

 

Spicy Lemon Quinoa Salad:

Citronette:

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a small container with a tight fitting lid, combine the citronette ingredients, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

½ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

3/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

1 (15-ounce) can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped kalamata or green olives, pits removed

 

Cook quinoa according to package instructions.

Transfer the quinoa to a medium sized bowl. Add the chile flakes, parsley, pine nuts, garbanzo beans and olives. Drizzle the citronette over the salad. Fold to mix everything together. Season to taste with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice.