Eggplant Parmesan

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Hey food fam! I hope all is well in your lives as well as in your belly. Because I know that a great meal can put you in a great mood, but the opposite is also true when it comes to a bad meal! So I hope you all are eating good food that will nourish and strengthen your body. Like this dish with the eggplant Continue reading Eggplant Parmesan

Glazed Carrots

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Hello food family! I apologize for the long gap between posting. I’ve been busy with work, kids, and trying to advance myself as a chef in the world. None the less it’s springtime! Time to plant your herbs and vegetables then use them to make good wholesome meals for your family! Like this dish made with carrots. I love carrots, they’re full of fiber, vitamin A (for eyes), K (for clotting), C (for immunity). What’s not to love?! I like mine Continue reading Glazed Carrots

Kale Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing

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Hello food fans and culinary enthusiasts, I hope you all have been well! I also hope you all are trying new foods, and new flavors, so that you can develop your pallet and truly appreciate food. I’ve been trying to incorporate more salad and vegetables in my families eating lifestyle, and what better way to start off then using kale. I’ve always incorporated it sneakily, whether it’s putting spinach in berry smoothies or mincing spinach and arugula and putting it in spaghetti. these ideas do work but I want my kids to see what they’re eating and appreciate it. Kale is know as a power green (others are spinach, arugula, collard greens and chard) they’re called this because of all the nutrients they contain. power greens contain vitamins A, C, and K, as well as other healthy things that will make your body say “I love you”. You can chop it up and put it in soups, you can blend it with other ingredients for a healthy smoothie, you can sauté it, or enjoy it raw. Either way have fun with it. Please enjoy, cause when you take a power green like this and mix it with a couple other vegetables and a great dressing, you have a great salad to accompany any meal you create. Say it loud, let the words flow; Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

Dressing

¼ cup honey

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (more if you like)

¼ cup olive or canola oil

Whisk together everything but the oil, then drizzle in the oil as you continuously whisk until its incorporated

 

Salad

3 cups kale (chiffonade)

1 ½ cups purple cabbage (chopped small)

3 cups broccoli florets (chopped small)

¼ cup raw sunflower seed kernels (for garnish)

Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl, toss with the dressing, plate and garnish with the seeds.

Minestrone Soup

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It’s cold, who wants soup?! Me, me, I do! Whenever I go out to eat I can’t find a minestrone I like. when that happens when I eat out, I just come up with my own version of things. And this version I give to you, for free.All I ask is that you comment if you like it or not, if you don’t we can come up with a solution together so that you do like it. Increase the herbs by 1 teaspoon each if you’re using fresh. I have some good quality dried spices that I use so they work great for me. And the canned tomatoes and beans I used were organic. Not that you have to, I just try to avoid having unknown preservatives and artificial flavors in my food. I also feel that “no sodium” or “low sodium” stock with no msg is better for cooking. MSG if you don’t know is a flavor enhancer, it gives foods a savory taste, and sometimes allergic reactions. Well my food is naturally savory so it doesn’t need it. Lastly minestrone soup typically is topped with parmesan cheese, but I like the stringiness of mozzarella once it melts. Either way try it out and let me know what you think. Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

1 lb ground Italian sausage

1 cup minced yellow onion

6 cloves garlic (minced)

1 cup small diced celery

1 cup small diced carrot

2 cup zucchini (quartered then diced small)

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon parsley

3 teaspoons basil

2 teaspoons oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

2 14-15oz cans diced tomatoes

1 15oz can red kidney beans (drain and rinse)

9 c vegetable stock

1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1/2 lb medium shell pasta

2-3 c fresh shredded mozzarella for topping

Heat a large pot on medium heat and sauté the sausage for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes. If any of the cooked meat is sticking to the bottom of the pot, after the 3 minutes with the onion in there you will be able to easily scrape it off the bottom with a wooden or rubber spatula. Now add all the seasonings, the carrot, celery and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes, beans, stock, zucchini and butter. Stir and cover for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Next remove the lid, add the pasta and cook until the pasta is at your desired tenderness (8-10 minutes). Once plated top with the shredder mozzarella and serve with a firm bread, such as baguette or pugliese.

Candied Almonds a.k.a. Oh My Deliciousness!

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Hey fellow food lovers, I hope this winter season isn’t too hard on you. If it is, try making some nice warm soup to comfort you, or a sweet snack! Just like you, I’ve been to malls and other places during the winter and getting a waft of something sweet, nutty, and full of cinnamon and when you find it you’re ecstatic! Seeing those golden almonds crusted in sugar, glazed in cinnamon, warm and ready to be devoured. You wish this Christmas someone would fill your bathtub with these glorious nuts so you can swim and eat until your teeth fall out… Maybe that’s just me! Either way try this recipe, you’ll never overspend at the mall again for them. And please tell me what you think, I don’t mind criticism or comments lets chat a bit. Now I’m going to go drink a glass full of water to wash the almonds bits out my mouth before I get a canker! I’m gargling as I say this…Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

 

½ cup water

¾ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 ¼ cup whole raw almonds

In a saucepan on medium heat mix everything but the almonds and when this liquid starts to simmer stir in the almonds. Continue to cook on medium heat stirring occasionally until all the liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes). When the syrup starts to crystallize give it one final stir to coat the nuts then pour them onto some parchment or wax paper. Spread the nuts evenly and separate the nuts to prevent clustering. Cool for 15 minutes then enjoy and share…share a little!

Culinary Basics XII: Basil Pesto

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Ahh pesto, is there a finer herb paste out there? If there is I don’t want to know about it because I wouldn’t agree it’s better than basil pesto! But we all have our favorites, but few are as versatile and useful as basil pest. So here’s my basil recipe, I hope you like it. It goes good with chicken, beef, seafood and pasta, or just on toasted bread. Try it out, it freezes great and with this recipe that makes 1 pound, you can wrap up half of tightly and use on two separate occasions! Nice huh? What’s that you said? Ah… Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

 

6 cups packed fresh basil

5 cloves garlic

1/4 c toasted pine nuts

5 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

4 oz Pecorino romano cheese

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

First toast the pine nuts and set aside to cool. In a food processor, process the cheese and garlic for 10 seconds, blend in the nuts for 5 seconds, then the salt and basil for 15 seconds. Next slowly drizzle in the oil while processing until all the oil is used up. Put in the fridge to cool, or in a sealed bag and freeze. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week but put a thin layer of olive oil on top of it to keep it fresh.

Broiled Tomatoes

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Man, my garden is looking good this year! I love growing my own produce, it hasn’t been bruised from other produce laying on top of it at a grocery store, nor has it been sprayed with chemicals to stop its growth for shipment! Oh hey friend, I didn’t see you there reading, I was just ranting to myself about my garden. Continue reading Broiled Tomatoes

Crispy Rolled Tacos

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Hello everyone. Let me ask you, are you in the mood for Mexican inspired flavors? I am. Tacos are really easy to make in my opinion. So I wanted to try something a little different. Something like a giant taquito, or a small chimichanga. No matter what you call em they’re good and in my house we use uncooked tortillas to make them. They’re easy to use, they taste better, and they’re more versatile. So try this recipe for yourself, you can always use ground chicken or ground turkey for variety, but make sure you use my guacamole recipe. Why? Because it’s delicious! Adios food friends, Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

1lb ground beef

3 cloves minced garlic

½ cup minced onion

4oz cream cheese

¾  teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½  teaspoon smoked paprika (normal is fine)

2 Tablespoons fresh minced oregano (or 2 teaspoons dry)

½ teaspoon ground cumin

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley minced (or 2 teaspoons dry)

4 oz cream cheese

¾ c shredded cheddar cheese

8 uncooked flour tortillas

2 Tablespoons water

Canola oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pan you’re cooking in, about ¼-⅓ c)

Heat a nonstick pan on medium high heat and cook the meat until it’s ¾ of the way done. Now turn the heat to medium, add the onion, garlic, and all the seasonings and cook for another 5 minutes. Next add the meat to a bowl and stir in the cheeses. Take a tortilla and put ¼ cup of the meat mixture on one end, roll part if the tortilla over the meat, fold in the sides and continue rolling. When you get to the other side dip you finger in the water and moisten the end and complete the roll pressing lightly to make sure it adheres. Heat the oil on medium heat and cook 2-3 at a time, rolling to make sure all sides brown. Place on paper towels when they’re done and serve with your choice of dips or with some rice.

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing and Candied Walnuts

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Greetings food fanatics I hope you all are doing well, and I hope you are all in good food health! Meaning that you are (if not already) cutting back on artificial processed foods as well as canned foods that hold little to no nutritional value when compared to their fresh counterparts. But it’s your life and your choice, I am but a culinary bug in your ear, Continue reading Spinach Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing and Candied Walnuts

Culinary Basics XI: Balsamic Dressing (temporary emulsions)

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Who doesn’t like a good vinaigrette? They’re easy to make, and allow you to be creative with what you put in them. A vinaigrette, is what’s known as a temporary emulsion, an emulsion of a fat and acid. It’s temporary because after it’s mixed it only stays mixed for a short period of time. This is because oil and vinegar (fats & acids) are two different to stay permanently mixed. Unless of course you buy some at the store that comes with chemicals and gums to keep it mixed, but we don’t do that stuff right? Continue reading Culinary Basics XI: Balsamic Dressing (temporary emulsions)

Pickled Carrots

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Love the summer, the heat, the sky, swimming, picnics, it’s truly a wonderful thing. The best part for me is growing a garden! I love making food in my house then going to the garden to grab some extra basil, or coriander, it’s great. Speaking of great, have you had pickled carrots. Continue reading Pickled Carrots

Chicken Pot Pie

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Good afternoon food lovers! I just got through making some crepes for dinner tonight and remembered that I have to post my recipe that I came up with this week. People often tell me that they want recipes that are easier, and quicker to execute, so like the simple recipe I came up with last week I have another one here for you today!

Continue reading Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Fajitas

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Good morning world, I hope I find you all in good health I also hope you all are eating good wholesome food! Food that will give you energy, nourishment and an overall appreciation for the vastness of ingredients we’ve been given on this planet. Like fajitas, they come from the earth, well not directly but in a way even though a fajita bush would be amazing! Continue reading Chicken Fajitas

Layered Apple Crisp

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Hello again everyone! I hope your thanksgiving was a good one, filled with many delicious recipes. I hope that the recipe you brought to the thanksgiving table was better than that other persons! C’mon we all have a family member or friend who always brings something that we wish they didn’t but no one ever tells them, I know I do! Anyway I want to share Continue reading Layered Apple Crisp

Collard greens

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Mmm mm boy do I love my bitter greens! Collards, kale, beet, I grew up on these delicious greens and I hope you try them. Growing up my family would use ham hocks for the meat, but I like to use bacon! If you like them spicier add crushed red chilis once they’re plated. And when you place them in a pot it may seem like a lot but you will be amazed at how much they will shrink. Tell me if you like them. Oh yeah, Just taste as you go and the flavors will show!

Continue reading Collard greens

Roasted Turkey

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Hey friends I don’t know if any of you noticed that I didn’t post yesterday like I do every Sunday. I hope someone noticed…it’s nice to be noticed! Okay man up self, I was cooking all day and I want to share one of the things I cooked, a turkey! There are many ways to make it and this time I went with simple and delicious. I used a 20 lb turkey so adjust your cooking time to your turkey weight.  Don’t forget to remove the organ bag from inside the turkey and cook the neck along with the turkey, that’s good chewing…don’t judge me! Anyway; Just taste as you go and the flavors will show! 

1 20lb turkey

4 bay leaves

1lb carrots (large dice)

12oz celery (large dice)

1lb yellow onion (large dice)

10 cloves garlic (cut in ½)

½ Tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 Tablespoons dried parsley

6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the gravy you’ll need the drippings, water and a beurre manie ( beurre manie is explained on my culinary basics page)

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack on the lowest setting. Spread all the vegetables out in a 13×18 pan with raised sides (smaller pan if you have a smaller turkey). Mix the salt, pepper, and parsley together, and blot the turkey dry with paper towels. Use 3 Tablespoons for each side of the turkey oiling it all over. Season the back, lay it down on the veggies breast side up and season the top. Put 2 bay leaves and leftover season in the cavity of the turkey and the other 2 bay leaves around the turkey. Bake for 2.5-3 hours or until the temp is at 165 degrees when inserted into the breast. When it’s done pour the drippings in a pot add ¾ water and bring to a simmer. Once it’s simmers add the beurre manie and whisk until incorporated. When it simmers you see how thick it will be, if you want it thicker add a cornstarch slurry 2 teaspoons at a time.