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!

Boozy Apple Clafoutis

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Yield: 8 to 10 servings

2 cups whole milk

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

5 whole large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup Gran Marnier

1/3 cup white miso

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

3 medium apples (1¼ pound) (any apple you like eating), peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Add milk and 2 tablespoons butter to a small saucepan set over low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture just begins to steam. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the flour and ¾ cup of the sugar to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, Gran Marnier and miso. Whisk until well combined. While whisking continuously, slowly stream in the warm milk mixture into the medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup of sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a large (12-inch) oven safe nonstick pan. Set over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, stir to combine with a rubber spatula. Distribute the apples atop the mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes.

Immediately pour the batter from the medium mixing bowl over the apples. Do not stir.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The dish will soufflé and the edges should be lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and let sit in the pan, undisturbed, for 10 minutes. It will deflate and the clafoutis will pull away from the edges.

After 10 minutes, place a large cutting board on top of the nonstick pan, then holding both the cutting board and pan, invert the clafoutis.

You can slice and serve while it’s still hot (it may be a bit messy, but it’s still delicious) or you can serve at room temperature. It will firm as it cools.

Serve as is (inverted) or if room temperature or chilled (aka easier to work with), you can flip the clafoutis to be apple side up.

Optional toppings: powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream

Spice Roasted Cauliflower with Coconut Rice and Thai Style Sauce

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Yield: 2 servings

Coconut Rice:

1 cup Jasmine Rice, rinsed until the water runs clear

¾ cup full fat coconut milk

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Rice Cooker Version:

Add rice, coconut milk, salt and 1 cup of water to a rice cooker. Cook on regular white rice setting. Fluff with a large fork before serving.

Stovetop Version:

Add rice, coconut milk, salt and ¾ cup water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a large fork before serving.

Thai Style Sauce:

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

7 large garlic cloves, peeled

30 large thai basil leaves

1 medium bunch fresh cilantro

1 thai chili

3 tablespoons minced lemongrass (remove outer layer of lemongrass to access the tender inner layers)

2 scallions, light and dark green parts only

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

5 ounces full fat coconut milk

Combine all ingredients except the coconut milk in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add coconut milk and blend until combined.

Cauliflower:

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into ½ -inch slices, lengthwise

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1½ teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoon ground coriander

1½ kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ cup toasted, salted cashews

Add cauliflower to a large mixing bowl. Drizzle over the grapseed oil and toss to combine. Sprinkle over spices, salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on an aluminum-lined sheet tray. Arrange an oven rack to the upper middle position and set the oven to broil. Wait until the heating element is hot and then place the sheet tray in the oven and broil for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly charred. Flip cauliflower and continue broiling for an additional 4 minutes, or until charred.

To serve, add coconut rice to a bowl. Top with cauliflower and then a healthy drizzle of sauce and some cashews.

Level your dish up by adding a fried egg on top and a dash of your favorite hot sauce or chili oil.

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

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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.

Flank Steak Tacos with Roasted Pineapple and Cilantro Lime Sauce

Flank Steak Taco with Roasted Pineapple and Cilantro Lime Sauce

Yields: 10 tacos

Ingredients

Steak

1½ pound flank steak

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

Cilantro Lime Marinade/Sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of 2 limes)

1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

1 bunch fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons worcestshire sauce

½ teaspoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon fish sauce

¼ cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon adobo sauce

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pineapple:

1 3 to 4-pound pineapple, ends, outer rind and eyes removed, sliced lengthwise into 1/2–inch slabs

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Tacos

10 Corn tortillas

2 avocados, halved and pits removed

Handful of fresh cilantro leaves, for finishing

Pat the steak dry with a paper towel. Pierce, in rows, both sides of the steak with a fork.  Cut the steak into four equal-sized pieces, cutting with the grain. Season all pieces/sides with the salt and pepper. Place meat in a zip-top bag.

Combine marinade/sauce ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides a few times during the processing.

Transfer 1/3 of the marinade into the zip-top bag containing the steak. Seal and massage bag so that the steak pieces are coated in the marinade/sauce. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Adjust an oven rack to the upper position. Turn the oven to broil.

Combine granulated sugar, cumin and salt in a small bowl and stir. Sprinkle mixture evenly over both sides of pineapple pieces.

Transfer pineapple pieces to aluminum-lined sheet tray and broil for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping once halfway, until lightly caramelized.

Remove steak from bag and wipe off excess marinade with a paper towel. Place a large nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add grapeseed oil and heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Lay steak in pan and cook on all sides until well caramelized. Use your digital thermometer to achieve the perfect medium-rare, 125 to no more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit. The total cooking time will be 7-9 minutes.

Remove steak from pan and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.

Cut cooked steak pieces in thin slices against the grain.

Heat corn tortillas directly over medium-low heat on your stove. Flip every 10 to 15 seconds with tongs to achieve a lightly toasted tortilla.

Assemble your tacos! Add steak, roasted pineapple, sliced avocado, cilantro leaves and a drizzle of the remaining cilantro lime sauce to your tortilla and enjoy.

Cranberry and Coconut Gluten Free Granola Bars

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

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).

Bulgur Porridge with Cardamom, Chia and Mango

Watch me make this on my YouTube Channel!

Yield: 4 servings

1 cup bulgur

¼ cup chia seeds

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup coconut cream or heavy cream

2 teaspoons orange zest (1 medium orange), grated on a Microplane

Toppings: shredded coconut, toasted cashews, mango, banana, drizzle of coconut cream

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. 

In a medium bowl, combine bulgur, chia seeds, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and dark brown sugar.

Once water is boiling, whisk in bulgur mixture and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring frequently with a spatula, for 15 minutes, until bulgur is cooked through and softened.

Add coconut or heavy cream and orange zest and continue cooking, stirring frequently, for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, divide porridge among 4 bowls and add toppings.

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.