Lentil Sloppy Joes

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1¼ cups French green Puy lentils, rinsed and picked over for stones

1 large clove garlic, peeled and crushed plus 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 medium dried bay leaf

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 medium stalks celery, diced small

1 large red, yellow or orange bell pepper, cored and diced small ­

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 cup unsweetened ketchup

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes

¼ cup water

4 toasted hamburger buns

Add 3 cups of stock, lentils, bay leaf and the 1 crushed garlic clove to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer lentils for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from heat, drain lentils and discard bay leaf and crushed garlic clove.

In a medium saucepan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, onion, celery, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the last tablespoon of olive oil, chopped garlic, chili powder and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute to cook off the raw flavor of the tomato paste.

Add the Dijon mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dark brown sugar, vinegar, fire-roasted tomatoes and water in addition to the drained lentils. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture has thickened to sloppy Joe consistency.

Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on burger buns.

Note: you might want to offer spoons for this recipe – it can get a little sloppy!

Ras al Hanout Spiced Flank Steak Skewers with Couscous and Spicy Orange Citronette

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

Flank Steak

1¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic paste, cloves grated on a microplane

2 tablespoons ras al hanout

1½ teaspoon ground coriander

1½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

1 pound flank steak, cut into ¼-inch slices against the grain

Neutral oil for cleaning the grill

Mix the salt, pepper, garlic, ras al hanout, coriander, cumin, brown sugar, olive oil and orange juice in a medium bowl until a paste is formed.

Add the steak and mix thoroughly to coat all the steak in the paste.

Thread steak on skewers, fitting approximately 2 pieces per skewer.

Turn your grill burners to high, to preheat your grill, for 15 minutes.

(Tip: while your grill is preheating, continue with the recipe)

After 15 minutes, clean the grill, then, using tongs, lightly dip a cloth in neutral oil and wipe to coat the grill rack.

Transfer skewers to the grill and cook, uncovered, over high heat, for 7  minutes, flipping the skewers once halfway through. Transfer skewers to an aluminum-lined sheet tray (for easy clean up) and tent with foil to keep warm until service.

Alternatively, you can cook skewers on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray under your broiler, for approximately 7 minutes, flipping once halfway through.

Orange Citronette

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon harissa spice paste

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl.

Couscous

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, peeled and diced small

1½ cups couscous

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup roughly chopped dates

½ cup roughly chopped dried apricots

2/3 cup golden raisins

½ teaspoon orange zest

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup roughly chopped mint leaves

¼ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

2/3 cup pomegranate seeds

½ cup roughly chopped roasted, salted pistachios

Heat the butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat until the butter foams up, subsides, and begins to turn a light golden brown.

Add the shallot, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Add the couscous and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, until the couscous is warm and thoroughly coated with the butter. Add the cinnamon, coriander, salt and pepper, stir and cook for approximately 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the dried fruit and orange zest and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Add the stock, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

To serve, drizzle half of the orange citronette over the couscous and then fluff the couscous with a large serving fork. Transfer couscous to a serving dish and top with the mint, parsley, pomegranate and pistachios. Top with the steak skewers and pass around the remaining citronette for people to drizzle over their serving.

Cranberry and Coconut Gluten Free Granola Bars

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Yield: 1 (13×9-inch) container

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, toasted*

1½ cups toasted, salted almonds

1 packed cup roughly chopped dates

¾ packed cup dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF.

*Place oats (evenly spread) on a sheet tray and transfer to the oven until lightly toasted, approximately 15 minutes

Create a foil sling (for easy removal of the granola bars) to fit into a 9×13-inch pan. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick spray.

Add almonds to a food processor with the blade attachment and process until very finely chopped. (No visual chunks remaining)

Transfer processed almonds to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add dates, brown sugar and salt to the food processor (no need to clean it out) and process until the dates are finely chopped. With the processor running, stream in the vanilla extract, water and melted butter. Process until a smooth thick paste is formed. Set aside.

Add the toasted oats, cranberries, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut to the large mixing bowl that contains the processed almonds. Stir to combine. Add the date paste (be sure to scrape the bowl and blade of the food processor to get every last drop!) to the bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly using your hands, squeezing and folding the mixture to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.

Evenly distribute the granola mixture into the prepared pan. Press down the mixture to make sure it’s compact and evenly distributed. Transfer to oven and bake for 25 minutes. It will be very lightly toasted.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour so the mixture can firm up.

Once cool, transfer the granola bar to a cutting board and cut into squares and enjoy!

Harissa Braised Chickpeas with Potatoes and Spinach

Watch me make this on my YouTube channel!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced small

3 large carrots, peeled and diced medium

3 celery stalks, diced medium

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated on a Microplane

3 tablespoons harissa, plus more to taste

1 pound potatoes (your choice), cut into ½-inch cubes

1 (15.5-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)

4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 (16–ounce) bag frozen spinach (loose leaf, not a block)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup plain Greek yogurt, sour cream or crème fraiche

Add the olive oil, onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper to a 5.5 quart Dutch oven or small pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the garlic, lemon zest and harissa. Stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add the potatoes, chickpeas (with their liquid) and stock. Cover and increase the heat to high to bring to a boil. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the frozen spinach until fully incorporated and thawed. Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper and additional vinegar.

Serve in bowls topped with a dollop of yogurt and, if you’re game, stir in additional harissa.

Seared Chicken Thighs with Coconut, Tamarind and Spiced Vegetables

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1 teaspoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed oil

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed and pat dry

2 tablespoons minced garlic, grated on a Microplane

2 tablespoons minced ginger, grated on a Microplane

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1 teaspoon coriander seed

1 teaspoon brown mustard seed

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise

3 large carrots, peeled and medium diced

3 medium delicata squash (2 pounds), ends trimmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1/3-inch half moons

1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream

3 tablespoons tamarind concentrate

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon of salt.

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

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add the oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Swirl the pan to distribute the oil and place the chicken thighs skin side down in the pan. Cook until the skin turns golden brown, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate, skin side up.

Reduce heat to medium. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, mustard seed, turmeric, cayenne and black pepper. Stir continuously until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the onion, carrots, squash and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and place the chicken atop the vegetables, skin side up.

Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the thighs reach an internal temperature of at least 175 degrees, approximately 30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, add the coconut cream, tamarind, brown sugar, lime juice and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt to a small bowl. Stir to combine until the brown sugar and salt have dissolved. Set aside.

After 30 minutes, remove the Dutch oven from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a plate, skin side up. Stir the coconut tamarind sauce into the vegetables.

To serve, add a scoop of vegetables to a shallow bowl. Top with cilantro leaves, followed by a chicken thigh (skin side up).

Braised Pork Shoulder (Ragu) with Fennel and Mushrooms

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 6 servings

2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1½ inch cubes

1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced medium

3 celery stalks, diced medium

4 large carrots, peeled and diced medium

1 medium fennel bulb, end trimmed and diced medium

1 pound baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2 tablespoons tomato paste (preferably double concentrate)

10 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly

1/8 teaspoon crushed red (chili) flakes

1 tablespoon toasted whole fennel seed

1 cup red wine (red zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon)

2 cups chicken stock

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 cup water

2 dried bay leaves

7 sprigs fresh thyme

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary

3 (4-inch) sprigs fresh oregano

4 teaspoons soy sauce

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Ragu Base: pasta, polenta, gnocchi (your choice!)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre grated

Season the pork (cubes) all over with the salt and pepper.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle-lower position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Open a few windows and/or turn on the oven hood/fan; it might get a little smoky!

Heat a heavy 5.5 quart Dutch oven over medium-high until hot, then add 1 tablespoon oil. It will most likely start to smoke. Evenly distribute the pork and brown on all sides, about 1 minute per side. (Work in batches if need be to not overcrowd the pan) Transfer the pork to a medium bowl. (You should have about 2 tablespoons of oil left in the Dutch oven. If not, add some extra-virgin oil to make up the difference.)

Add the onion, celery, carrots, fennel and mushrooms. Stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, chili flakes and toasted fennel seed. Stir. Cook uncovered for approximately 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid has thickened.

Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, loosening up any brown bits stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan. Cook for 5 minutes more; it will begin to thicken and you will see large bubbles.

Stir in the stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, oregano, soy sauce, Worcestershire, sugar and pork with any of its juices left in the bowl.

Bring the Dutch oven to a simmer throughout (not just the sides), cover partially (opening the lid about an 1-inch) and transfer to the oven. Cook for 90 minutes, stirring once after 45 minutes, until the pork is tender and can be easily shredded with a fork.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes, covered (lid on fully). Remove the pork and transfer to a large bowl. Shred the pork with two forks. Discard the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary and oregano. Return the pork to the Dutch oven. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle pork ragu over pasta, polenta or gnocchi. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts Salad

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield:  4 servings

1 pound Brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any discolored outer leaves discarded

1 large shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise

¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 small apple diced small

1/3 cup toasted and salted pecans, roughly chopped

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1/3 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Feed Brussels sprouts and shallot through the food processor chute with the slicer attachment.

Add the sliced Brussels sprouts, shallot, cayenne pepper, coriander, salt and pepper to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Add olive oil and stir to combine.

Spread Brussels mixture evenly on an aluminum foil-lined sheet tray.

Place an oven rack in the upper position. (Approximately 5-inches below the heat source.) Place sheet tray under broiler for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stir and broil for an additional 3 minutes. (Keep your eye on things!) Remove from oven and set aside.

In the same bowl you used to mix the brussels sprouts, add the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Whisk to combine.

Transfer the brussels sprouts mixture from the sheet tray to the bowl with the vinaigrette. Stir to combine.

Add the apple, pecans, pomegranate, parsley and Parmigiano and stir to combine.

Serve while still warm.

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!

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.

Sesame Crusted Salmon Rice Bowl

Salmonbowl

Watch me make this recipe on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

 

Sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

4 teaspoons unsweetened rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

 

Mix together in a small bowl. Set aside.

 

Bowl Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (your choice e.g. sushi, brown, forbidden)

4-ounces small carrots, (approximately 2 small carrots) peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

3-ounces cucumbers (Persian or English), (approximately 1 cucumber) thinly sliced

12 seaweed squares (your favorite brand or seaweed snack)

2 teaspoons Nori Komi furikake (use toasted sesame seeds if you don’t have it)

4 teaspoons pickled ginger

1 avocado, cut in half lengthwise, pitted and cut into slices

1-ounce scallion, (1 scallion), dark green part and root end cut off, sliced thinly on a bias

 

Salmon

1 pound wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, preferably Copper River Salmon, skin on, pin bones removed, cut into 4 equal sized pieces, 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

 

Pat the fish dry (all sides) with a paper towel.

Lightly oil salmon with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Use fingers to ensure oil is evenly coating the flesh. Season flesh side of salmon pieces evenly with salt and pepper.

Place sesame seeds on a plate.

Gently press flesh side of salmon into plate of sesame seeds to coat the flesh.

Add remaining 1½ teaspoons oil to a medium nonstick sauté pan and place over medium heat. Let pan heat until hot, approximately 2 minutes. Swirl to coat bottom of pan with the oil. Place fish (cook all 4 pieces at a time if pan is large enough), sesame seed side down into pan and let cook until golden brown, approximately 2 minutes. Flip fish and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy and salmon changes in color from bright pink and translucent to opaque and coral.

Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Remove skin before serving if you wish.

 

Bowl Assembly

To assemble the bowl, divide the rice among 4 bowls. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of furikake over each portion of rice. Arrange carrots, cucumbers, avocado, scallions and pickled ginger on top of the rice. Drizzle sauce over each portion, to taste. Place 3 seaweed sheets upright against the side of the bowl and lay a piece of salmon atop each bowl, sesame seed side up.

Serve immediately.