Monday, November 25, 2013

Turkey for Two!

Turkey is a must at Thanksgiving! But who wants to buy an entire turkey for only two people? It is just to much food and such an expense. This quick and easy dish will solve all your problems. If you wish, you can purchase a much larger turkey breast in order to have leftovers. Just remember the cooking time will increase as well.

Turkey Cutlets with Herbed Reduction Sauce

Serves: 2        Cook Time: 25 min        Prep Time: 5 min

  • 2 boneless skinless turkey breasts, seasoning with salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/4 turkey broth
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs sage
  • 2 tablespoons minced onions
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Heat saute pan until oil shimmers and smokes. Add turkey breast skin side down. DO NOT TOUCH for 3-4 minutes and repeat on other side. Transfer turkey to sheet pan. Place in oven and bake 5-7 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Deglazing with Wine
Adding Herbs and Stock
Final Reduction

Add wine to deglaze the pan. Reduce by wine half and add onions. Next add broth, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and cream. Reduce by about half or until it coats the back of the spoon. Serve with Turkey. Don't forget these classic sides: Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Herbs and Herbed Infused Mashed Potatoes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A starchy side fit for Thanksgiving!

I can't imagine a Thanksgiving that didn't have mashed potatoes on the menu. Every year I would help my mom make them in the kitchen with our hand mixer or potato masher. They were very simple, milk, potatoes, salt and pepper. Then one year, we decided to use a ricer to make this delectable side. The resulting mashed potatoes were light and airy. I haven't made them any other way since. This technique makes a huge difference in texture. It prevents you from getting that gluey mashed potato. The best part is a ricer only costs 5 or 10 dollars. Which is not much to pay for perfect mashed potatoes! So enjoy these mashed potatoes and change it up with any herbs you'd prefer or have on hand.

Herb Infused Mashed Potatoes

Serves: 8-10        Cook Time: 35 min        Prep Time: 15 min
  • 1 1/2 lbs. yukon gold whole
  • 1 1/2 lbs russetts whole
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/4 cups cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste


Cover potatoes with cold water. Place on medium high heat and cook until easily pierced with a knife.
Meanwhile, place butter, milk, cream and herbs in a saucepan. Bring to simmer and reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Drain potatoes. Cut in half and push through a ricer. Removing the potato skins from the ricer as necessary. Add heated milk mixture to potatoes and combine thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My family's favorite stuffing!

This stuffing recipe has become somewhat legendary in my house hold. It has been perfected over the years. I usually quadruple it so there is enough leftovers. This stuffing even gets better the next day. I know this recipe seems strange without dried bread. I have found that stale bread absorbs too much liquid and makes it incredibly soggy. If you prefer your stuffing that way, then add more broth. Once you try this stuffing, you will never go back to anything else!

Stuffing with Dried Cranberries and Herbs

Essential Ingredients
Serves: 8-10   Cook Time: 45 min      Prep Time: 15 min
  • 2 cup diced onion
  • 3 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup butter
  • 4 springs thyme
  • 4 springs sage
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 loaf  brownberry white bread, cubed
  • 1 loaf kings hawaiian bread, cubed
  • 3/4 cup chicken, turkey or vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon powdered sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


Sizzling Aromatics
Cranberries add great color
All Ingredients Combined

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, celery, thyme and sage. Let cook 10-15 minutes covered or until tender. Add dried cranberries and cook another 5 minutes covered. In very large bowl, combine bread and onions, celery, and cranberry mixtures.  Gently mix and add broth, dried thyme, powdered sage and salt and pepper to taste. Cook stuffing in  9x13 dish covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Turn oven up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 15 minutes more or until golden brown. Enjoy this stuffing! I guarantee you won't forget it!

Delicious Stuffing

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A new spin on a Thanksgiving favorite!

Cranberry sauce is a classic for the holiday feast. I don't know anyone that celebrates with out it. I know this is not the jellied can stuff, but it tastes exceedingly better. I wanted to put a spin on the classic version, so changed it up a bit with using the lambic. Apple cider maybe used, if you don't want the alcohol. I encourage you make this dish for your Thanksgiving feast. It's a very easy dish to make and tastes wonderful!

Sauce Ingredients

Apple Lambic Cranberry Sauce

Simmering Cranberries

Serves: 4-6   Cook Time: 15 min      Prep Time: 5 min

  • 1 12 oz. bag cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup apple lambic or apple cider
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in sauce pan except ground cinnamon. Bring to simmer and boil for 10-15 minutes. After it is done cooking add ground cinnamon and stir to combine. Remove cinnamon stick and allow to cool before serving.

Final Presentation

Monday, November 18, 2013

Baked potato or gourmet side?

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional power house in the kitchen. They contain high amounts of Vitamin A&C, B6, Potassium and Manganese. Plus, they are easy to bake and add great color to any plate. Normally, a baked potato is not a stunning side dish. This recipe brings them to an entirely different level. The piped compound butter and maple pecans elevate this dish. It makes a gourmet presentation. Keep the compound butter in the freezer for future use. The pecans can be used on salads, cheese plates, or eaten as a snack.

For another plating option, you could scoop out the flesh of the potatoes and combine it with some of the butter. Then place in a casserole dish. Heat up and top with pecans before serving. This would make an excellent dish to prepare for Thanksgiving day!

Sweet Potatoes with Spiced Butter and Maple Glazed Pecans

Serves: 5           Cook Time: 1 hour        Prep Time: 15 min

Sweet Potatoes

  • 5 Sweet potatoes, washed

Spiced Butter

  • 1 stick butter,softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • half of orange zested
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • salt

Maple Glazed Pecans

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes on parchment lined sheet tray evenly apart. Cook for 1 hour or until soft when pierced with a fork.

Combine butter, spices, salt, zest and juice. Then either pipe on sheet tray or place in saran wrap and form into a roll.

Bring maple syrup up to a boil. Then add pecans. Cook until thick and syrupy about 3-5 minutes. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and let cool. Break apart and store in cool dry place.

Tip- Compound butter is a a butter that has spices, herbs or even fruit added. This adds extra flavor and the combinations are endless. It is often used as a sauce on steaks or fish. I encourage you to experiment with this in your own kitchen!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

An elegant dessert that's perfect for entertaining!

Poached pears are an elegant dessert that can be made ahead of time. Therefore, it's wonderful for entertaining. Just make the pears the day before and let it sit overnight to chill. When your guests come over, impress them with this beautifully plated dessert.

As well as being an exquisite dessert, it sneaks in some nutritional benefits too. The amount of calories in poached pears is far less than the average dessert. They are high in fiber, vitamin C and potassium for a nutrient boost. Enjoy this dessert without all the guilt.

Raspberry Lambic Poached Pears


Serves: 5           Cook Time: 40 min        Prep Time: 10 min

  • 5 pears, peeled and stem in
  • 1 750 ml bottle raspberry lambic
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pure cranberry juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 strips orange zest
  • 3 cloves
  • 4 ounces creme fraiche
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • mint and fresh raspberries for garnish


Reduce to a syrup
Simmering pears

Combine lambic, sugar, vanilla, bean, orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, and cranberry juice in sauce pot. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture simmers. Add pears and simmer pears 20-25 minutes or until tender. Make sure to immerse all sides of pear in liquid to color evenly. Remove and let cool. Meanwhile reduce the sauce until thick and syrupy, about 20-30 minutes. Remove cloves, cinnamon and vanilla bean. For creme fraiche, combine it with powdered sugar, cream and vanilla. Slightly whip with whisk. Plate with raspberries, mint, creme fraiche and reduced sauce.

Beautifully Plated Pear

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thanksgiving side!

Green beans and Thanksgiving are like peanut butter and jelly. It's hard to have one without the other. Instead of the canned green bean casserole, give this a try. This dish is healthier than the original. It lacks all the preservatives and sodium, which provide off flavors and aftertastes. It is sure to impress your guests and it can be elevated to another level with homemade onion straws for garnish. When making it for company, blanch the green beans first and store in the fridge. On the day of the big event, saute the mushrooms an add your green beans to the mix.

Blanched and Shocked Green Beans

Sautéed Green Beans with Cremini Mushrooms

Sauteing Mushrooms

Serves: 4-6           Cook Time: 5 min        Prep Time: 5 min

  • 3/4 lb of green beans, end trimmed                          
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced                                
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil,divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt and pepper to taste


Steam green beans until al dente or they still have a little crunch. Cool rapidly under cold water. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in skillet until smoking. Add mushrooms and do not stir for 2-3 minutes. This creates a caramelization on the mushrooms, which gives a great boost of flavor. Once caramelization has occurred, stir your mushrooms and continue to cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat remaining tablespoon of grapeseed oil until smoking. Add green beans and saute until heated through. Add mushrooms and season.

Beautiful Beans

Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's easier than pie!

Apples are abundant in the fall and lend themselves to baking.  But who wants to make an apple pie?   Apple crisp is a wonderful substitute, because it's quick and easy.  It only takes a couple of apples and just a few staple ingredients.  This apple crisp has a few extra spices,but feel free to omit or substitute for what you have on hand. It's sure to warm your home as well as your heart with the bubbling, soft apples and crumbly topping.

Chai Spiced Apple Crisp

Serves: 4           Cook Time: 15 min        Prep Time: 10 min

  • 3 tart medium to large apples, peeled and diced(such as granny smith and jonogold)
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping Ingredients


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/8 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup, pecans toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, minced


Apple Mixture
Combined Topping Ingredients
1. Fill with apples
2. Cover with topping
3. Fresh out of the oven

Combine apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and vanilla. Set aside. Combine all ingredients for topping. Fill four six ounce ramekins with apples. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of topping. Bake 375 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with ice cream or whipped cream and crystalized ginger. You can freeze leftover topping for future use.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A powerful green smoothie!

Have you heard all the rage about green smoothies? They are the latest and greatest food craze. It is basically a smoothie made mostly of kale, spinach, lettuce, parsley, celery etc. Given that there are many benefits to eating deliciously green veggies. My friend in dayton was nice enough to come over and experiment with me to come up with a delicious green smoothie. This is a slight variation of what we came up with. If you like to drink your veggies, give this green smoothie a try!

Smoothie Ingredients

Finished Smoothie

Green Smoothie

Serves: 2       Cook Time: 0 min       Prep Time: 5 min

  • 1 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 11 oz coconut water
  • 2 cups kale or spinach


Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth and there are no chunks left.  Enjoy the health benefits and the great taste of this green drink!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Better than your average rice!

This rice is inspired by a restaurant I frequented in Athens, Ohio, Casa Nueva, it was one of my favorites during my time spent there. They focused on local and seasonal ingredients. They make amazing mexican food such as tacos, enchiladas and beans and rice. Many of their dishes are served with a fabulous herbed rice. It is simple, elegant, and elevates any dish. Now that I live in Dayton, I had to make my own version to bring me to back to that fantastic restaurant in Athens.

Herbed Jasmine Rice

Serves: 4          Cook Time: 25 min          Prep Time: 5 min

  • 1 cup Jasmine Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Chives,chopped
  • 3 tablespoon Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Basil, chiffonaded


Heat water until boiling. Add rice and salt. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and cook covered for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Let sit covered 5-10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork and add herbs and butter.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A delicious way to serve brussel sprouts!

Brussel sprouts are an amazing vegetable. I don't think they get much credit in food world. I used to hate sprouts as a young child and even throughout high school. Then I had them roasted. It changed everything. It made them sweet,tender and gave a depth of flavor with crispy edges. Now this is the main way I prepare these wonderful tiny cabbages.

Roasting is a must learn technique. It makes so many vegetables shine, especially those that are earthy. It caramelizes the sugars to bring out an amazing sweetness. So I encourage you to give these veggies another try. You might be surprised at the results.

Don't be afraid to try them using other techniques as well. They are great shaved or chiffonade in salad. A quick saute with some pancetta. So enjoy these wonderful veggies and all their nutrients.

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
Prepped Sprouts

Serves: 2-3           Cook Time: 20 min        Prep Time: 10 min

  • 11 oz brussel sprouts,cut in half and trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • thick balsamic to drizzle
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


Roasted Sprouts
    Toss sprouts in oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until tender. While still warm, drizzle with balsamic and garnish with toasted pine nuts.

    Sprouts in all their glory!

    Friday, October 11, 2013

    A short cut chicken noodle soup!

    Nothing says comfort food like chicken noodle soup. This was the first food my mom would make when I was sick as a child. As I was laying in bed, I could smell the hearty broth and chicken cooking. The warmth of the savory broth and the chunks of vegetables always made me feel better. It became a tradition when I get sick. While at college with a cold or flu, being taken care of was not an option. So I found a shortcut way to make this classic and comforting soup. I changed it slightly from my moms version. But I am still convinced that this soup will cure any cold or flu. This is my go to soup, that I eat all week when I am sick. This recipe can comfort you too. The best part, it takes little to no time to make and tastes great. It is best with homemade chicken stock.

     Soothing chicken noodle soup

    Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup

    Serves: 4-6       Cook Time: 35 min       Prep Time: 15 min

    • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
    • 1/2 large onion, diced
    • 2 carrots, sliced
    • 4 stalks celery, slice
    • 8 cups chicken stock
    • 2 bay leafs
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded
    • 6 oz dried egg noodles, cooked and cooled
    • 1/4 cup italian parsley, roughly chopped


    Heat stock pot and add oil. When oil shimmers add onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Then add carrots and celery and cook 3-4 minutes more. Add stock and bay leaves. Let simmer until vegetables are cooked. Add chicken. At the last moment add parsley. To plate, place a small amount of cooked noodles in the bottom of the bowl. Then add enough hot broth to fill the bowl.

    A classic chicken noodle soup

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Feasting on Fall Foods

    Fall is a fabulous time in Ohio. The leaves are changing color and the weather is slightly cooler. The orange, reds and browns are surrounding you.  Leaves are falling to ground and covering the streets. Fall foods are hearty and warm.  They invite you to eat them with their earthy flavors. It is a time of comfort food, which warms you from within. So make some hearty dishes with these amazing fall foods. I will be focusing on utilizing these ingredients for the season and I hope you do too!
    • butternut squash
    • acorn squash
    • spaghetti squash
    • apples 
    • carrots
    • broccoli
    • cauliflower
    • pumpkins
    • parsnips
    • grapes
    • collards
    • kale
    • potatoes
    • sweet potatoes
    • pomegranate
    • cabbage
    • collard greens
    • lima beans
    • okra
    • peppers
    • potatoes
    • pears

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    A visit to Thailand!

    The smell of lemongrass, ginger and peppers fills the air. You can hear sizzling and sautéing in the back kitchen. There are bowls of jasmine rice and curry sauces, with mounds of different veggies and meat. The brightness of fresh cilantro and basil is on every plate. This is the sight and sounds of one of my favorite types of restaurants, Thai. The food is so flavorful and vibrant on the plate. Its hard to resist the sour, sweet, salty and spicy flavors of these delightful dishes. The menus beam with choices from sushi, stir fry and a multitude of curries.

    Thai food is a favorite in the Dayton area. We have many Thai restaurants, which all have great dishes and their own personality. They each make their curries slightly different and offer unique dishes, as well as sushi. Soup is a staple at all of these restaurants with a least a few choices on the menu. Each are good in their own right. Thai soup is full of fresh vegetables and thinly sliced meats. Its garnished with fresh herbs, which makes the dish complete. They are light in calories but high in flavor. Here is my take on a thai favorite. Make this thai dish and take a trip to your favorite thai restaurant.

    Thai Vegetable and Shrimp Soup

    Serves: 6-8           Cook Time: 45 min        Prep Time: 30 min

    • 6 Cups chicken or vegetable broth
    • 3 stalks lemongrass, pounded and chopped
    • 2 inches fresh ginger, minced
    • 2 jalapenos or thai chilies, sliced (optional)
    • 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
    • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 1 cup carrots, sliced on bias
    • 6 oz shitake mushrooms, sliced
    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 4 oz rice noodles, cooked and cooled
    • 1 baby bok choy, blanched and shocked
    • 10 20/25 count shrimp
    • 1/2 lime juiced
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughtly chopped
    • 1/4 cup basil or thai basil, chiffonaded


    Step 1: Sautéing Aromatics
    Saute lemongrass, ginger and peppers in oil.
    Step 2: Adding Carrots
    Add carrots and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes.
    Step 3: Cooking mushrooms in broth
    Add stock and fish sauce and continue to simmer for
    20 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 3 minutes more.

    Step 4: Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes and remove. Before serving, squeeze in lime juice to taste. Garnish with cilantro, basil and bean sprouts. You may also strain the soup before you add the mushrooms for a cleaner broth. To assemble, place 2 bok choy leaves in bowl on opposite sides. Place a small pile of noodles in the middle. Then place broth around noodles and on bok choy. Then top with shrimp, bean sprouts, cilantro and basil.

    The finished soup!
    A beautiful presentation!
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