It may seem like “slim pickens”, when you look at what fruit is available in the winter in your market. With a second look, however, there are plenty of choices and they great choices for cooking or baking. Look for citrus fruit, apples, bananas, pears and dates. These are all good choices for salads, pancakes and muffins or to garnish main dish meats and fish.
Meyer Lemon Bread
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
1 cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons finely shredded Meyer lemon peel
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pan; set aside.
In a medium bowl stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, the baking powder and salt. Make a well in center of the flour mixture; set aside.
In another medium bowl or measuring cup combine the egg, milk, oil, lemon peel and the 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture.
Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To make a glaze: Combine the glaze ingredients until smooth and spread over the cooled cake. Let harden before wrapping the ;oaf.
Turn this salad into a main course by adding cooked shrimp or chicken. I especially like shrimp in this salad.
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 shallots, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Grated zest of 1 orange,
1 bulb fennel, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
1⁄2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk the shallots, raspberry vinegar, honey and salt and pepper together in a mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil in while whisking. Add the orange zest. Set aside
Peel the fruit and cut into segments.
In a large bowl, cover the fennel and onion with ice water and let stand for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to paper towels to dry thoroughly.
Transfer the fennel and onion to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Lift the fennel and onion from the dressing and transfer to a serving platter.
Arrange the citrus segments evenly over the fennel and onion. (If adding shrimp, arrange it on top of the salad.) Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Baked Apple Sauce
Applesauce can be flavored with maple syrup or cinnamon. You can also add cranberries to the cooking apples to make a cran-applesauce. It makes wonderful tasting pancakes and muffins and is a great side to roasted pork.
Makes 12 servings.
4 lbs. (about 10 medium) assorted apples, such as Macoun, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Jonagold and Honey Crisp, peeled, cored, and quartered
1/3 cup fresh apple cider or apple juice
4 lemon slices, cut paper-thin
2 tablespoons honey, optional
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place apples, cider or juice and lemon slices in a large heavy, ovenproof casserole with a cover and mix well.. If using honey add it in and toss again.
Bake apples, covered, for 60 to 75 minutes, until very soft and moist. Stir to combine. If it is too wet, bake applesauce, uncovered, for 15 minutes longer.
Cool to room temperature before serving; applesauce thickens as it cools. The applesauce keeps, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days or 6 months in the freezer.
Coconut Banana Pudding
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 dash salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon butter
1 banana, sliced into ¼ inch slices
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon hot water
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the mashed banana.
In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the salt, eggs and coconut milk. Stir well and add to the banana in the saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; cook until thickened.
Remove from the heat; add vanilla and mix well. Pour into a storage bowl or 4 individual dessert dishes.
To make the honey bananas:
Melt the butter in a small skillet.
Arrange the banana slices in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly brown.
Whisk together the honey and 1 tablespoon of water.
Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the honey mixture over the bananas. Shake the pan to distribute.
Divide the bananas and syrup over the top of the pudding. Chill for several hours before serving.
Root Vegetables, Citrus Fruit, Leeks and Onions, Greens, such as kale, Potatoes and Beets are all available in January and make great tasting meals.
Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost-effective way to approach food shopping. Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale or offer buy one; get one free.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head of celery, diced including leaves
1 large onion, diced
1 bunch scallions (green onions) or use a leek, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup half & half (cream and milk)
Garnish with chopped chives and sour cream
Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 30 minutes.
Add the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree with an immersion blender.
Return the pot to the heat. Stir in the cream and heat on low. Garnish individual servings with chopped fresh chives and sour cream, if desired.
Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken Breasts
Use any herb you like. When cold nights come in, I bring my herb pots indoors, so I always have fresh herbs on hand.
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 whole fresh basil stalk, leaves removed and sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the baking dish
2 bone-in, medium chicken breast halves, skinned
Salt and ground black pepper
6 very small potatoes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
¼ of a fennel bulb, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a shallow baking pan with olive oil.
Place the chicken breasts in the prepared pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice.
Scatter the potatoes, fennel, carrots and garlic around the chicken.
Bake, uncovered, spooning the pan juices over the chicken once or twice, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the basil and return the pan to the oven.
Bake 10-15 minutes more or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 170°F and the juices are clear.
Beets, Red Onion & Orange Salad
Makes 2 servings
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
4 small, cooked beets, sliced
1 navel orange
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cup washed, dried, whole Bibb lettuce leaves
Soak onion slices in cold water for 10 minutes; drain.
With a sharp knife, peel the orange, removing white pith. Slice the orange between the membranes over a mixing bowl to catch the oranges and any juice.
Pour any juice in the bowl into a measuring cup. Add more orange juice to equal ¼ cup.
Whisk together the orange juice, oil, mustard, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in the measuring cup.
Place lettuce leaves on individual salad plates. Arrange beets, onions and orange slices on top. Drizzle with some of the dressing and serve.
This month the market offers lots of festive ingredients in anticipation of the coming holidays. I find it is a great time to perk up your winter dishes with lots of fruit flavors. This week I picked up fennel and apples to enhance some pork cutlets and oranges to give swordfish a new look. Carrots make a great side dish and there are so many recipes you can make with hearty greens. Cranberries add a beautiful red color to breakfast cake that could easily be served on Christmas morning. Check the list above and try something new this week.
Swordfish with Smoked Paprika and Orange Sauce
Swordfish is a cornerstone food throughout the Mediterranean and swordfish is not endangered anywhere around the United States. The various fish watchdog organizations all give consumers the green light to eat as much swordfish as they want, provided it was caught in North American or Hawaiian waters. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch gives American swordfish either a “best choice” or “good alternative” rating, depending on how it’s caught.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound swordfish or tuna fillets
¼ cup flour
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
Cut the swordfish into 2 inch cubes. Salt the fish well and dust the cubes in flour. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold all the swordfish chunks in one layer. Sear them well on at least two sides. Give the first side 1-2 minutes, then sear other sides for 30 seconds to 1 minute each.
When the swordfish is cooked, remove it to a bowl and reserve. Add the garlic slices and sauté 30 seconds or so — the second it begins to brown, add the orange juice, zest, parsley, nuts and paprika. Toss to combine and cook 1 minute, then add the swordfish back to the pan, toss to combine and cook another 30 seconds or so. Serve at once.
Crispy Pork Cutlets with Fennel Apple Sauce
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Four boneless pork cutlets, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 apple, peeled and thinly sliced
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a shallow dish, mix the flour with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, beat the egg. In a third shallow dish, spread the panko and season with additional salt and pepper. Dredge the pork in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the pork in the egg, then dredge in the panko to coat. Place the cutlets on a large plate.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pork cutlets and cook over moderately high heat until golden, 2 minutes. Turn the cutlets over, and cook until just golden on the outside and white throughout, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and butter to the skillet. Add the fennel and onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until light golden and crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and apple slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Place the cutlets back in the pan and let them heat in the fennel mixture for a few minutes. Place the cutlets on a serving platter and top with the fennel mixture. Serve with lemon wedges.
3 medium carrots, peeled
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
Cut the carrots diagonally into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place the carrots, 2 tablespoons water, the salt and pepper in a medium skillet and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the butter and marjoram and saute for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter.
Cranberry Orange Breakfast Cake
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2-1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the dusting the pan
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen cranberries
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup softened unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Combine the walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a mixing bowl. Using your hands form the mixture into crumbs.,
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the cranberries and orange zest and mix.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a medium mixing bowl, mix the ½ cup butter on low-speed with the stand mixer’s paddle attachment or on medium-low speed with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and continue mixing on low until slightly fluffy. Scrape the bowl and beater. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until smooth after each addition.
Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl and beater, and add half the flour mixture. On low-speed (for either mixer), mix until the flour drifts disappear and then add half the buttermilk; mix until just blended. Repeat with the remaining flour and buttermilk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until smooth.
Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Cake can be served warm. Dust with powdered sugar for a pretty presentation.
Spinach and Cheese Pie
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons dried dill
8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1 1/2 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 lb. frozen phyllo dough, thawed
Melted butter or butter cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and cook 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
Stir in lemon zest, dill and feta cheese into spinach mixture. Combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and egg in a small bowl. Stir until well blended. Add to the spinach mixture. Add salt, pepper and stir well.
Working quickly so that phyllo doesn’t dry out, line the baking pan with 10 sheets of phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter after you place it in the pan. Fan the sheets out towards the edge of the pan, making sure the bottom is covered. Allow excess to hang over the sides. Spoon filling into pan. Drape remaining layers of phyllo over filling, one at a time, brushing each with butter. Brush top with butter, then neatly fold overhanging phyllo over the top, and brush with remaining butter. Bake until golden, about 1 hour. Cool for 30 minutes before serving.
The reason grass-fed meat is generally healthier for you is because it is lower in overall fat and saturated fat and it provides a higher amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed meat.
Opt for organic. The use of growth-promoting hormones and antibiotics is not allowed in certified organic beef production. Nor is feed made from animal by products..
Go for grass. Choose beef from cattle that were 100 percent “grass-fed”. ” These animals are raised on their natural diet of grass from birth to market and are not given antibiotics and hormones. Look for a grass-fed label from the American Grassfed Association.
Look at labels. Check for phrases like “Naturally Raised,” “No Hormones Added,” “Raised Without Antibiotics” and “Never Fed Animal Byproducts.”
Portion control: 5-6 oz of meat is more than adequate to satisfy. Serve vegetables and salad for menu balance.
Grass-fed meat requires less time to cook than grain-fed meat. Since it is generally leaner, with less fat to keep it moist, it will cook faster at the same level of heat. Grass-fed meat is best cooked medium rare to medium, or it will become tough. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part. At 135°F the meat is still rare. At 145°F to 155°F it will be medium. Above that the meat may lose its moisture and tenderness.
Let the meat rest for a few minutes after cooking it to help redistribute the juices inside. Do not cut it immediately since the juices will spill out, leaving a drier texture. For the same reason, turn meat with a spatula or tongs rather than a fork.
Pan-Seared Steak Pizzaiola
- 2 rib-eye steaks (preferably grass-fed and organic) (about 12 oz. each and 1 inch thick), all fat removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onions, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 small bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Cut each steak in half lengthwise (to make four steaks) and pat them dry with paper towels. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Place a 12-inch heavy frying pan over medium high heat and add the oil. When hot, place the steaks in the pan and sear until deeply browned on both sides and medium rare, 2 minutes per side (no more than that). Transfer the steak to a serving to a plate.
Add the onions and bell pepper to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re softened and but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Pour the wine into the pan. As it comes to a boil, deglaze the pan by stirring the bottom of the pan well with a wooden spoon. Add the steaks; pour in the marinara sauce and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Sprinkle the mozzarella over the steaks, cover the pan and heat just until the cheese melts, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
Grilled Onion Burger
- 10 oz. grass-fed organic ground beef
- 1 teaspoon steak seasoning
- Half red onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 hamburger rolls
- Olive oil cooking spray
Divide the ground beef in half. Using a hamburger press form 2 burgers.
Sprinkle with the steak seasoning and refrigerate until cooking time.
For the onions: heat the oil in a small skillet and add the sliced onions. Cook until tender and set aside while you grill the burgers.
I prefer to grill burgers instead of cooking them on top of the stove, so heat an outdoor grill to medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium.
Spray the burgers on both sides with cooking spray and place them on the grill. Cook 4 minutes and turn them over. Cook for another 4 minutes. Toast the rolls on the grill.
Serve the burgers on the toasted rolls and divide the cook ed onions between the two burgers. Add ketchup, if desired
Pot Roast with Onion Gravy and Mustard Sauce
For a leaner pot roast, choose a bottom round or rump roast. Chuck roast is a bit more tender, but fattier.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced (4 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- One 3-pound (organic and grass-fed) rump or bottom round roast, trimmed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for the gravy
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more for the gravy
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
To prepare pot roast:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 4-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.. Add the beef; cook, turning from time to time, until well browned on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove beef to a plate and reserve.
Add the onions; cook, stirring often, until softened and starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary and orange zest; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
Return the beef to the pot, nestling it among the onions. Add the wine to the skillet; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F..
Cover the pot with a lid and transfer to the oven and bake until the beef is tender, 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Turn the meat several times during the cooking process.
To prepare the mustard sauce:
Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard and pepper in a small serving bowl. Reserve in the refrigerator until serving time.
To make the gravy:
Transfer the roast to a clean cutting board. Cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
Skim fat from the liquid in the pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; add to the liquid and cook, whisking, until the gravy thickens Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy and the mustard sauce.
The roast is delicious served with roasted carrots, parsnips and asparagus
Make Ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the sliced pot roast with gravy in a skillet over medium-low heat. The mustard sauce can be covered and refrigerated separately for up to 2 days.
It’s harvest time and the last of summer’s fresh fruit and vegetables are coming to market. Salad ingredients, beets, cucumbers and peppers are all still available. And there should still be plenty of zucchini, green beans, spinach and corn to play a supporting role on your dinner plate.
The first autumn/winter vegetables are putting in an appearance now in the shape of Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, cabbage, pumpkins and mushrooms,
Apples and pears are plentiful, too. It’s also time to enjoy the last of the berries, plums and tomatoes. Comfort food is back.
Spinach Bacon Quiche
- One 9 inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
- 4 slices bacon
- Half a sweet onion, diced
- 2 cups leftover cooked spinach or frozen and defrosted
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup half & half
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
Fit the pastry into a 9 inch pie plate and crimp the edges. Place in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook the bacon until crisp in a medium skillet. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. Crumble when cool.
Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan and saute the chopped onion in the remaining bacon fat. Add the spinach, thyme, salt and pepper. Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool.
In a measuring cup, combine the eggs and half & half.
Take the pie shell out of the refrigerator and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie crust. Then sprinkle with the crumbled bacon. Spread the spinach onion mixture over the bacon.
Slowly pour the egg mixture over the spinach. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake the quiche for about 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy and the quiche does not “wobble” in the center when gently moved
Let the quiche rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Fall Beet Salad
- Olive oil for coating the beets
- 3 golden beets
- 1 Valencia orange, peel removed and sliced into thin rounds
- 1/4 fennel bulb, sliced thin
- 2 tablespoons shallots, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing: Whisk the orange zest, raspberry vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
For the beets:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Place the beets on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil. Roast for about 45 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool. Peel and cut into thin rounds.
Arrange the beets, orange slices and sliced fennel on a serving dish and sprinkle with the chopped shallots. Drizzle with half of the dressing of the dressing and reserve the remaining dressing to serve with the salad,
Cover the salad with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.
Chicken with Corn Salsa
Corn Salsa (see recipe link here)
For the rub:
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (see recipe link here)
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine to make a paste
- Rub the paste over both sides of 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
For grilling on a gas grill:
Prepare a gas grill for indirect heat: Turn all burners to high and close the lid. When the temperature inside the grill reaches 400°F, lift lid and turn off one of the burners.
The area over the turned-off burner is the indirect heat area.
Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Place chicken skin side down over the indirect-heat area; close the lid and cook 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, close the lid and cook another 10 minutes.
Move chicken over direct heat and cook, turning once, until skin is well browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Watch carefully; dripping fat or any added oils catch fire easily (a small spray bottle filled with water is handy for taming flames).
Place the cooked chicken on individual plates and place corn salsa on the side.
Zucchini Vegetable Kebabs
The kebabs go well with any grilled meat or fish.
For the Marinade
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoons pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small measuring cup.
For the Kebabs
- 2 skewers
- Vegetables cut into one inch pieces:
- 1 cup zucchini
- 1 cup red bell peppers
- 1 cup red onion
Combine the marinade and vegetables in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Remove vegetables from the marinade and thread on skewers, alternating the vegetables. Place the skewers on the grill and cook 7 to 10 minutes on each side or until tender.
Mac & Cheese
This makes a wonderful side dish for grilled meat or fish.
- 1 lb dried short pasta (mezze penne, elbows)
- 4 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup butter, diced
- ½ cup instant flour (Wondra)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried yellow mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 8 oz 2% milk Velveeta processed cheese, cut into cubes
- 8 oz mild cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup dried plain breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In the same pot mix the cold milk with the instant flour; add the butter and place the pan on medium heat.
Stirring often, bring the sauce to boiling, reduce heat and cook until thickened, whisking often. Add the salt, mustard and cayenne. Add the velveeta cheese and heat until melted.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.
Mix the breadcrumbs and shredded cheddar together and sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
(The casserole can be made ahead to this stage and refrigerated until baking time. Add 15 minutes to the baking time if the casserole is refrigerated.)
Bake for about 25-30 minutes until heated through.
A quick dinner isn’t so quick, if you’re stuck washing a dozen pots and pans when you’re through. To me, nothing is worse than facing a mountain of dishes in the sink when dinner is over.
However, here is one solution – cook everything on a foiled-covered baking pan. This method ensures you won’t get stuck in the kitchen and it produces a great tasting dinner.
Orange Flavored Baked Chicken, Onions and Potatoes
The recipe is easily doubled or tripled depending on how many diners are at your table.
- 1 orange
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon. dried chili flakes
- 4 small potatoes, peeled and halved
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- One large sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves minced
- 4 boneless chicken thighs (about 6 oz. each), trimmed of excess fat and skin removed
- 3/4 to 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Heat the oven to 425°F. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray.
Finely grate 1 teaspoon orange zest and squeeze 1 tablespoon of orange juice from the orange. Stir together the juice, zest, oil, salt and the chili flakes in a small bowl.
Place the potatoes and onions on the baking sheet and brush them, on all sides, with some of the orange mixture.
Place the chicken in a medium bowl and pour the remaining oil mixture over the chicken thighs. Turn to coat well. Dredge the chicken in the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken.
Place the chicken on the foiled-lined baking sheet and sprinkle the thighs and vegetables lightly with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the vegetables and chicken with the minced rosemary.
Note: The recipe can be prepared ahead up to this point and refrigerated until time to cook dinner.
Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the potatoes and onions over. Continue to roast about for 20 minutes more, until the chicken is crisp and golden and the potatoes are lightly browned in spots.
When the chicken is done, remove the potatoes and onions to serving plates and top with the chicken.
Remove the foil from the pan, carefully, and guess what……no pan to wash tonight.
Cucumbers in Sour Cream Dressing
Note: Salting the cucumbers draws out excess moisture and helps keep the salad from getting watery.
Makes 2 servings
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 1 scallion, white and green parts, sliced
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Scoop out the seeds from the halved cucumbers with a spoon and slice into ¼ inch thick half-moons.
Place cucumber and scallion slices in a colander; sprinkle with salt, tossing to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber and scallion slices and toss to coat.
Let salad stand for at least 5 minutes before serving, or chill in the refrigerator until serving time.
Reggio Calabria is a province in the Calabria region of Italy. It is the southernmost province in mainland Italy and is separated from the island of Sicily by the Strait of Messina. The Aspromonte mountain range dominates the western part and, with its long coastline, the province is a popular tourist destination during the summer. In 2018, the province will become the Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria.
The province features three types of terrain. The west is mountainous with creeks and rivers flowing through the area. The lower hills are terraced for the cultivation of citrus fruits, olives and vines and the wooded areas are covered with chestnuts, beeches, holm oaks, pines and Sicilian firs. The southern part of the province has a coastal plain that extends from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Ionian Sea.
Eggplant is a favorite vegetable crop and it is prepared in a variety of ways: sautéed in olive oil with garlic and parsley; coated in egg and breadcrumbs and fried or and stuffed with salted anchovies and breadcrumbs. Sweet peppers, artichokes, zucchini, onions and mushrooms are all abundant.
Coastal waters are rich in tuna, swordfish, sardines and anchovies and in the mountain areas pork is the main meat of this area. There are countless salamis and sausages, as well as all types of homemade pastas. Pecorino is made by every family that owns sheep. The luxury of sweets is usually reserved for holidays.
The food is simple: pastas and vegetables, complemented by olive oil and sausages. Think of various shapes of dried pasta like spaghetti or penne topped with colorful sauces made with combinations of tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. All these ingredients frequently make their way into hearty soups.
The province was devastated by the 1908 Messina earthquake. This was followed by a series of tsunamis that brought further damage. In the 1950s there was a mass migration of rural people from Reggio Calabria and other provinces in southern Italy to the cities of Rome, Milan and Turin in the north. They were driven by poverty, the poor soil of the region and the chronic lack of employment opportunities. The Italian government responded by making Catanzaro the regional capital and arranging for the regional assembly to be held at Reggio. A new port was built and it has become a busy container terminal that processes more than three million shipping containers each year. New roads have been built to handle the resulting increase in traffic.
The region is famous for the production of the Bergamot orange. The bergamot orange (pronounced /ˈbɜːrɡəˌmɒt/) is a fragrant fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow color similar to a lemon. Citrus bergamot is commercially grown in southern Reggio), where more than 80% is produced. Bergamot peel is used in perfume for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas which complement each other. About one-third of all men’s and about half of women’s perfumes contain bergamot essential oil. Bergamot essential oil is popular in aromatherapy. Bergamot is also used in many skin care creams.
An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavor Earl Grey tea. It is often used to make marmalade, particularly in Italy. Carpentierbe, a company based in San Giorgio Morgeto, near Reggio Calabria, makes a digestive liqueur derived from bergamot marketed under the name Liquore al Bergamotto.
The juice and zest can be used to flavor cookies, cakes, yogurt and custard. Bergamot oranges pair well with other citrus fruits, seafood, ricotta, mild salad greens, avocado and fresh herbs such as dill, basil and tarragon. Bergamot oranges will keep up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes 2 (450 g/1 lb) jars
- 1 lb (500 g) bergamot oranges (about 3 medium)
- 2 cups (400 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) water
Separate all the seeds from the fruit and place in a muslin bag or in cheesecloth and tie closed.
Puree fruit, skin included (but not the seeds), in a food processor.
In a large heavy bottom pot, add the citrus fruit mixture, juice, bag with seeds and water.
Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until the peels are translucent, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let the mixture rest for 2 hours. (It helps to release the pectin and essential oils from the rinds).
Add the sugar to the citrus fruit mixture, bring it to a boil again and reduce to slow simmer. Stir from time to time to make sure that the fruit doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
The marmalade will take about 15-20 minutes. Scoop out the muslin bag, squeeze any liquid out of it and give the marmalade a good stir. Remove from the heat and check if it is set.
To test, spoon a teaspoon of hot marmalade onto a small plate. Transfer it to a freezer for 1 minute. Then, tilt the plate to see if the jam “wrinkles.” If so, it’s done.
(If you use a candy thermometer, the temperature should be around 221 F/105 C).
Once the marmalade is cooked, ladle into clean jars and twist on the lids tightly. Cool and store in the refrigerator.
Bergamot Orange Custard Cups
- 4 ounces sugar
- 1 tablespoon grated Bergamot orange zest, plus extra for garnish
- 4 large eggs
- 4 ounces freshly squeezed Bergamot orange juice
- 10 ounces heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sugar and orange zest on low until thoroughly mixed.
Add the eggs, then the orange juice and then the cream, mixing on low for several seconds after each addition until just combined.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Divide the mixture among 6 ramekins and place them into a roasting pan.
Add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake for about 25 minutes, or until just set.
You can tell that the custards are done when they jiggle like gelatin.
Remove the custards from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until firm. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream garnished with orange zest.
Orange Roasted Chicken
- Zest of 5 bergamot oranges
- 1 cup bergamot orange juice
- 3 finely minced garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped herb mixture (rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, bone-in, skin-on
- ¼ cup butter, softened and room temperature
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 bergamot orange, cut into thick slices for garnish
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Herb sprigs for garnish
In a mixing bowl, combine half of the orange zest with the orange juice, garlic, herbs and olive oil. (Set aside the remaining zest for later.)
Stir to combine and pour into a very large zip-lock bag. Add the chicken pieces and move them around to ensure they’re all coated with the marinade.
Seal the bag and place into a bowl (in case it leaks) and then into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter with the paprika and the remaining orange zest.
Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place them in a 9 X 13 X 2-inch baking dish. (Set aside the marinade in the bag.)
Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and then using your hands rub the butter mixture under the skin of each chicken piece and on top of the skin.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and add the orange slices. Place the baking dish in the oven and roast the chicken until it’s cooked through, about 45 minutes.
Baste the chicken several times during cooking.
Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Use additional in season fruits, if you would like to add them.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons bergamot orange zest
- 1/4 cup fresh bergamot orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 cups fresh bergamot orange segments
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted, optional
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, orange zest, orange juice and water.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the pan from the heat, strain through a sieve into a small bowl. Let cool completely.
In a large serving bowl, combine the fruit and mint. Add the orange syrup, stirring to combine. Cover and chill for at least an hour.
Sprinkle with almonds, if using, before serving.