- September 2017 –

THIS MONTH’S UNIQUE INGREDIENT COMBINATION; Rice Vinegar-marinated Apricots with celery and fresh sage

Enjoy this very special treat as a palate teaser with a glass of wine!

Ingredients:

12 dried apricots
1/2 rice vinegar
2 stalks of celery
24 leaves of fresh sage

Cut dried apricots in half flatwise (so they look like little disks), soak the apricot disks in rice vinegar for 20 - 30 minutes. Cut the celery stalks into little skewers about 2″ x 1/4″. Lay one fresh sage leaf in the center of each apricot disk. Stick a celery spear through the top of the apricot disk/sage, then through the other side and back through the bottom of the apricot disk/sage. The result should look like a little skewered sail.

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-  August 2017 –

LEMON CURD WITH BLACKBERRIES AND GRAND MARNIER

A wonderful, refreshing and rich summertime dessert.

Ingredients:
1/4 lbs unsalted butter, soft

Grate the lemons with a zester. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and process until the zest is nicely incorporated into the sugar.

Using a whip, mix the butter and the sugar until well mixed and somewhat fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice and salt. Whip well.

Pour this mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat until it begins to thicken stirring constantly. This will take about 8 - 10 minutes. The lemon curd will start to get thick before it simmers. As it thickens remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature for 20 minutes, then refrigerate.

For serving, marinate fresh blackberries with some Grand Marnier. Place the marinated blackberries in individual serving bowls, top with some chilled lemon curd, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy (I like to serve additional lemon curd on the side to add more as desired).

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- July 2017 –

GRILLED MARINATED BEEF STRIPLOIN STEAKS

A delicious steak really hits the spot during the summer months … and grilling outside means I am not heating up the kitchen.

Ingredients:
One 12 ounce beef striploin steak per person

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Trim excess fat from each steak and lay out in a Tupperware container large enough to hold all the steaks (without having to stack them).

Mix the mayonnaice, brandy, soy sauce, honey, vinegar and mustard in a bowl, and brush each steak well.  Turn the steaks over and brush the other side, making sure that every piece of steak is covered with the marinade.  Pour any leftover marinade evenly on top of the steaks.  Marinate for 4 – 6 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove the meat from the marinade, scrape off the marinade, pat them with some paper towel and season with salt & pepper (or Fio’s Meat Rub).

Place on a hot grill for three to four minutes on each side +/- based on thickness of the steaks and desires doneness. I like to make an incision in one of the steaks as I’m going along to see if the meat requires additional cooking. If the meat is not cooked enough I can always cook them “more”, I can never cook them “less”. Once rare to medium-rare, let the meat rest on a platter (covered with some foil) for 5 minutes, allowing the juices in the center of the meat to return back to the entire steak.  The meat will continue to cook during this resting period, so keep in mind that it is important not to overcook the meat.

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-  June 2017 –

SAUTEED CHICKEN LIVER SALAD

If you enjoy chicken liver, than this appetizer will amaze you.

Ingredients:
16 ounces of fresh chicken liver
1 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 package of fresh alfalfa sprouts
1 small shallot
1 small garlic clove
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Place the shallot, garlic, parsley, mustard, vinegar and oil in a blender and process well until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Prior to sautéing the chicken liver, lay out the alfalfa sprouts on four individual plates in a “nest” design (leaving room in the center of the nest for the sautéed chicken liver).
Trim any connective tissue from the chicken liver, and dry each piece well in paper towel.
Toss the chicken liver pieces in the flour, shaking off all the excess flour. Each chicken liver piece should have a dusting of flour.
In a large sauté pan heat the butter until slightly brown and hot, add the chicken liver and sauté turning often, until desired doneness (usually medium to medium-well). Be careful as the chicken liver may splatter and pop as moisture is released. Season the chicken liver with salt and pepper during the sautéing process.
Remove the chicken liver and immediately place in the alfalfa nests that have been prepared. Drizzle both the liver and the alfalfa with the dressing and serve.

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-  May 2017 –

PINEAPPLE-JALAPENO RUMAKI APPETIZER

Becoming popular in the 1940s, this appetizer dish can be prepared using a multitude of ingredients.

Ingredients:

16 pieces of fresh pineapple (approximately 1″ cubes)
8 slices bacon
16 pieces of fresh jalapeno pepper (cut into approximately 1/2″ pieces)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger

Soak 16 toothpicks in cold water for 15 minutes. Place the soy sauce, the sesame oil, the honey, and the ginger in a bowl and mix well. Lay the bacon out on a cutting board, cut each bacon strip in half and place one pineapple cube and jalapeno pepper on one end of each bacon strip. Roll up the bacon, wrapping the pineapple and jalapeno, secure with a soaked toothpick, and place on a baking sheet. Brush the outside with the marinade mixture. Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (brushing every 3 - 5 minutes with more marinade), until the bacon is fully cooked and crispy. Remove the pan from the oven, place on a platter and enjoy!! Optional substitution ingredients for the Rumaki filling; pitted dates, chicken liver, water chestnuts, prunes, etc..


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-  April 2017 –

FIO’S PICKLED EGGS

A delicious appetizer, salad garnish or snack.

Ingredients:

12 large eggs (room temperature)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp molasses
1 cup water
hot sauce to desired taste
salt and pepper to taste

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a simmer, carefully add the room temperature eggs making sure not to crack any of them. Simmer for eight minutes. Remove from the pot, place in a bowl and cool immediately (to stop the cooking process), by running cold water on them for five minutes. Once cool, carefully peel the eggs making sure to leave each egg unbroken. In a bowl combine the soy sauce, the vinegar, the molasses, the water, some hot sauce, the salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. This marinade should be relatively strong tasting, in order for the flavors to penetrate the eggs during the pickling process. Add more hot sauce, salt and/or pepper as needed. Now place the eggs in a seal-able container (Tupperware, jar or other), preferably laying flat (so they are not stacked too high). Pour the pickling mixture over the eggs, cover and refrigerate for four days (I like to open the container everyday and slightly turn the eggs in the marinade so they pickle evenly). When ready to eat, remove one egg from the marinade, slice in half, place on plate, drizzle with a teaspoon of the pickling marinade and enjoy!!  The eggs can keep in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.


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-  March 2017 –

THIS MONTH’S UNIQUE INGREDIENT COMBINATION;  BANANA-HORSERADISH SAUCE

A unique blending of items produces an amazing sauce; great on grilled pork, chicken, lamb, beef and game!!

Ingredients:

1 large ripe banana
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup sherry
1 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp fresh horseradish
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Place the butter and the onion in a saucepan and saute until golden brown. Add the sherry and cream, bring to a simmer for one minute. Remove from heat and place in blender. Add the banana, the horseradish, and the water. Blend well until pureed, add salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy with your grilled meat.

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-  February 2017 –

TUSCAN POTATO SOUP WITH GOAT CHEESE

A perfect winter treat.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 cups peeled Yukon gold potato, cut into small cubes
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh kale
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts
4 tablespoon fresh goat cheese
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until lightly brown stirring frequently (2 - 4 minutes). Add the onion and sauté until golden stirring frequently (2 - 4 minutes). Add the garlic and continue to sauté stirring frequently for one more minute. Add the potato and the chicken broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat and MASH the soup using a potato masher or stiff whisk until the potatoes are a chunky puree. Add the kale and return to medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with goat cheese, walnuts and sage. Optional; drizzle with truffle oil.

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-  January 2017 –

NEW YEARS PASSION MARTINI

A refreshing cocktail of Light Rum, Cointreau, Orange Juice,
Grapefruit Juice, and a splash of Grenadine
Ingredients:
1 shot light rum
1 shot white Grapefruit juice
1 shot Orange juice
1/2 shot Cointreau
1 splash of Grenadine
Orange peel twist, for garnish

Directions;
Combine all ingredients except orange peel twist in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into martini glass. Garnish with orange peel twist.

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-  December 2016 –

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE

An excellent side dish for any holiday dinner.

Ingredients:
1 medium butternut squash
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt
pepper
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Peel squash and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds from the center and discard. Cut squash into large chunks. Coat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes until well caramelized.
Peel onions and cut into large chunks. Coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread on a second baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes until well caramelized. When squash and onions are done, mix them together with the fresh sage. Optional - top with dried cranberries and/or toasted pecan pieces. Serve immediately.

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-  November 2016 –

CHOCOLATE LEBKUCHEN COOKIES

These cookies are traditional during the European holidays.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup candied mixed fruit, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
FOR THE FROSTING
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

Combine sugar, honey and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. In a bowl, place the honey, chocolate chips, almonds, candied fruit, eggs, and orange juice, and mix well. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, baking soda and baking powder; stir the dry ingredients into the fruit-nut mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 3 days. When ready to bake, remove the dough from refridgerator and let warm to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and sugar a 10×15 inch baking sheet. Spread the dough evenly onto the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool. Top with the orange frosting.

To make the orange frosting, place the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl, and whip well. Spread over the cooled bars. Cut bars into diamond shapes.

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-  October 2016 –

GRILLED SALMON WITH
MAPLE-SRIRACHA-LIME GLAZE

This combination of flavors marries well with salmon, can be either grilled or baked.

Ingredients:

four 6 ounce pieces of skinless/boneless salmon
3 teaspoon olive oil
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1.5 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (add more if you like it spicy)
Salt
non-stick food spray

Lay out salmon on a baking sheet, pat both sides dry with a paper towel. Heat grill to it’s highest heat setting. In a bowl mix all glaze ingredients except the food spray. Rub salmon on both sides with this glaze. Spray the salmon well with non-stick spray. Lay salmon pieces on the grill, at an angle to the grill grates and immediately turn heat to medium-high. After about 3 minutes, rotate fish to the opposite angle across the grill grates. (The fish should lift up easily without sticking when it’s ready to rotate.) Carefully turn the salmon over. Brush on more glaze after you turn it over. Continue to grill the salmon 1-2 minutes on the other side, or until fish feels firm (but not hard) to the touch when you press on it with your finger. (Total cooking time is 8-10 minutes.) Serve hot, with extra glaze on the side.

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-  September 2016 –

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

Early autumn often provides us with an abundant zucchini supply.  This recipe makes for a wonderful appetizer or side dish.

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs fresh shredded zucchini
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
2 chopped cloves of garlic
1 egg
salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place shredded zucchini in a bowl and season lightly with salt. Now place the seasoned zucchini in a strainer over the sink and let sit for 10 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini by hand removing as much water as possible. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic and egg; season with pepper, mix well and taste. Add additional salt and pepper as needed.

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Scoop tablespoons of fritter mixture in the pan, flattening with a spoon, and saute until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Serve immediately topped with some sour cream and chopped chives.

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-  August 2016 –

PEACH-HABANERO PEPPER CHUTNEY

A great accompaniment to grilled poultry.

Ingredients:

4 lbs. ripe peaches
1½ cup sugar
1 to 2 teaspoon fresh chopped habanero pepper (adjust amount based on desired heat level)
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Wash the peaches, cut into quarters, remove the pit and place in a large sauce pot. Add remaining ingredients, mix and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring regularly. Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature and place in smaller tupperware or canning jars and refrigerate.

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-  July 2016 –

MOZZARELLA AND BASIL CROSTINI

This snack offers a wonderful opportunity to utilize fresh basil when it is in season.

Ingredients:

12      1/4 inch slices of baguette bread
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional; replace the olive oil with truffle oil)
12 large fresh basil leaves
12     1/4 inch slices of fresh mozzarella (use premium quality)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lay out the baguette slices on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 425 degree oven until crisp (about 5 minutes +/-). Let cool to room temperature. Brush each baguette slice with the extra virgin olive oil (or truffle oil). Place one fresh basil leaf on top of each baguette slice. Place a slice of the fresh mozzarella on top of the basil. Season lightly with sea salt and the fresh cracked black pepper. Place in preheated 425 degree oven until the mozzarella is lightly melted (not too runny), serve immediately.

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-  June 2016 –

CURRIED COCONUT LOBSTER SALAD

Colorful and delicious, makes the perfect appetizer.

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh cooked Maine lobster meat (cut into bite sized chunks)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (shaved off the cob)
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoon fancy curry blend (use high quality)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
Optional; 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

In a large bowl mix the mayonnaise, celery, onion, corn, coconut, cilantro, curry and lemon juice well. Chill for 1 hour to let the flavors blend. Add the lobster, some salt and pepper and mix again. Taste the salad and adjust salt & pepper, and possibly more lemon juice as necessary. Fold in the avocado carefully (so it doesn’t turn to mush). Portion on plate garnishing with a large sprig of fresh cilantro.

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-  May 2016 –

Blackberry Mojito

A refreshing cocktail full of berry flavor.

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh blackberries
1 small handful fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup white rum
Crushed ice
club soda
In a bowl, muddle the mint and sugar well. Add blackberries and crush lightly (not too mushy). Add rum, and lime juice and stir to combine. Fill glasses to half full with crushed ice.  Add the Mojito mixture, top with club soda and garnish with mint leaves and more uncrushed blackberries.


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-  April 2016 –

Chilled Mediterranean pasta

Excellent warm weather lunch, or as a dinner accompaniment to grilled chicken.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound of cooked Pennette pasta (shorter/thinner penne pasta)
Shredded Parmesan
In a large pasta bowl, mix together the olives, tomatoes, mint, capers, garlic, red pepper flakes, orange zest, lemon juice, Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Stir the ingredients well to incorporate flavors. Let sit for at least one hour or longer. When ready to serve, mix in the cooked pasta and toss well. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and serve.

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-  March 2016 –

Thai Red Curry Sauce

This sauce is excellent on salmon, tofu and chicken … and vegetable stir-fry.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp curry
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
2 tbsp brown sugar
Thai hot sauce to taste
Salt to taste
In a medium saucepan heat the peanut and sesame oil, add the garlic and ginger and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the curry, paprika, coriander and cumin and saute for another minute.  Add the red curry paste, coconut milk, stock, tomato paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, and bring to a simmer (do not boil).  Remove from heat, add hot sauce and salt to taste and serve with your favorite protein.  Keeps well in refrigerator for weeks.

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-  February 2016 –

Apricot-Mustard Glaze for pork chops

Ingredients:

1 cup apricot jam
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
Tabasco
salt
optional; 2 - 3 tbsp crispy bacon bits
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, adding the salt and Tabasco to taste.  Keep in mind that this glaze should be very well seasoned, as the pork chops need a powerful accompanying flavor profile.  Trim pork chops of any excess fat, tendons and ligaments.  Season pork chops with salt and pepper.  Grill, roast or saute the pork chops until medium-rare.  Remove from the heat, place on baking sheet and brush generously with the glaze (lots).  Place in pre-heated oven on broil or 500 degrees for 5 - 6 minutes, until the glaze begins to lightly bubble and brown.  Serve and enjoy!!

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-  January 2016 –

Espresso Almond Chocolate Torte

Ingredients:

2 cups unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 extra strong double espressos
8 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate
6 eggs
4 oz. ground almonds
Brush the sides of a 9″ spring form pan with some butter. Line this same pan with parchment paper. Combine the flour and almonds and mix well, keep seperate. Melt the chocolate over double-boiler. Once melted add the butter, sugar and espresso, and whip with a whisk. Place the eggs in a mixer and whip until fluffy & thick. Pour the chocolate mixture into the whipped eggs and fold carefully with a rubber spatula for 30 seconds. Add the flour/almond mixture and continue folding with the rubber spatula until blended. Pour into the spring form pan. Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 45 - 60 minutes. Cool, remove from pan and serve with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Optional; drizzle Bailey’s Irish Cream over each slice.

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-  December 2015 –

Carlo’s famous meatballs

I like using a blend of ground pork and Italian sausage

Ingredients:

1 cup Italian bread (day old is best), but into large chuncks
1/2 cup milk
1 lbs ground pork
1/2 lb raw Italian sausage
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tbsp fresh chopped garlic
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Combine the bread and milk in a large bowl, toss well and let sit for 10 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the olive oil. Mix by hand until well blended. Using an ice cream scoop, portion the meatballs evenly on a baking sheet. Roll each one in your hands to form nice round meatballs. Refrigerate for one hour. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, add the meatballs and roast/saute them until nicely browned on all sides (about 7 - 10 minutes, based on size). Serve with fresh tomato sauce on your favorite pasta and enjoy!!

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-  November 2015 –

Roasted Bartlett pear and arugula salad with Roquefort cheese and toasted walnuts

Ingredients:

4 Bartlett pears (not too ripe)
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
4 cups arugula, washed dried and torn in bite-size pieces
1/4 cup Roquefort cheese crumbles
1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 500 F and place baking sheet in the oven for 5 minute to heat as well.
Wash the pears, and cut into 1/4″ slices (no seeds).
In a bowl toss pear slices with butter and sugar.
Place on hot baking sheet and in oven to roast for 10 minuntes +/-, or until browned.
Flip and roast until tender and deep brown, 5 more minutes +/-.
Let pears cool. In a small bowl whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together.
Combine arugula and pears in large bowl, and gentley toss with the dressing.
Sprinkle the Roquefort cheese and toasted walnuts on top of salad.
Serve and enjoy!!

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-  October 2015 –

White turkey chili with cannellini beans

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup of chopped onion
1 fresh jalapeno chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 pound ground turkey
1 cup of chicken stock
1 can cannellini beans drained
salt and ground pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Saute until the onion begin to soften, 5 minutes +/-.
Add turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 minutes +/-. Add beans and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, while mashing some of the beans against side of pan to release starch. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, 10 minutes +/-.
Season with salt and pepper; garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, sour cream, and shredded cheese.

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-  September 2015 –

Crispy duck skin cracklings omelette

A delicious breakfast, brunch or lunch dish that I love to prepare when I have leftover duck skin (from roasting ducks)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup of crispy duck skin cracklings (cut into small chunks)
3 eggs
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sour cream
salt & pepper
1 tbsp coarse chopped italian parsley
Over low heat, warm the duck skin in a small saute pan. At the same time heat an omelette pan over medium heat with the butter. In a bowl beat the eggs and sour cream with a pinch of salt and pepper. As the butter is melting, tilt the pan so that the butter coats the entire bottom and side of the pan. When the pan is warm and the butter is just beginning to sizzle, pour in the egg mixture. When the bottom of the egg mixture in the pan is just beginning to set, lift the edge of the omelette with a spatula to allow the liquid eggs on top to flow underneath. Continue cooking. When the omelette is about 2/3 cooked put the duck skin in the center of the omelette evenly side-to-side. Slide and roll the omelette to the edge of the pan, inverting the sides over to form a long oval shaped omelette. Invert the omelette onto a warm plate, garnish with chopped italian parsley and serve immediately.

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-  August 2015 –

Grilled summer peaches with a strawberry-mint relish

Ingredients:

for the grilled peaches:
6 fresh summer peaches
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
for the relish;
2 cups of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Grand Marnier
2 tbsp chopped mint
4 scoops of vanilla ice cream
for the relish;
Wash and stem the strawberries. On a cutting board chop the strawberries until they are a chunky relish consistency. Place in a bowl, add the sugar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, mint and Grand Marnier. Mix well and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.


for the grilled peaches:
Wash the peaches, cut along the outside in a circular motion to divide each peach in half. Once the incision has been made, you need to grasp each half with your hands and twist to separate the two halves. Remove the pit and lay on a plate open face up. Brush each open peach face with the melted butter and place on very hot pre-heated grill open side down for four minutes. Remove from the grill and place three peach halves each, on four plates (three halves per person). Sprinkle the grilled peaches with the 1 tbsp of lemon juice. Spoon one ice cream scoop in the center of the three peaches, top the ice cream with the strawberry-mint relish and serve immediately.

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-  July 2015 –

Chilled watercress soup - a wonderful summertime start to any July dinner -

Ingredients:

1 large bunch of fresh watercress
2 tbsp chopped onion
3 tbsp butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup peeled and diced (small dices) potato
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp fresh horseradish
1/2 cup of thinly sliced radishes
Place butter and onion in a large sauce pan, and saute over medium heat for three minutes. Add the 2/3 of the watercress, potato and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Process this mixture along with the remaining 1/3 watercress in a blender until pureed and well blended. Remove from the blender and place in a bowl. Add the horseradish, sour cream and some salt and pepper. Whisk well and taste. Add additional seasoning as needed. Chill for two hours (or overnight). For serving, ladle the soup into individual chilled bowls, top each bowl with some sliced radishes and serve.

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-  June 2015 –

Pasta with fresh lemon cream sauce

delicious as an appetizer

Ingredients:

1/3 cup white wine
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
grated zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Place white wine and lemon zest in a saucepan, bring to a simmer and continue on low heat for 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and whisk well. Add the cream and whisk well. Over low-medium heat bring to a simmer. Add the two cheeses and whisk well for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and whisk well. Add the salt and pepper, and taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. Ladle over your favorite pasta … mine for this recipe is penne.

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-  May 2015 –

Moroccan marinated vegetable salad

a wonderful chilled salad on a warm day

Ingredients:

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup peeled & diced cucumber
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup diced tomato
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 large pinch of saffron
1 bay leaf
salt & pepper
Heat olive oil in a saute pan, add the cauliflower and saute for 4 minutes over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the coriander, saffron, bay leaf, white wine, tomato paste, diced tomato and water. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the artichoke, celery, cucumber, Balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy.

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-  April 2015 –

Grilled New Zealand Lamb chops

Ingredients:

(for the marinade)

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon brandy or sherry or bourbon (or none if you have none)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

Two New Zealand lamb racks – approximately 8 to 9 chops each.

Trim the lamb rack of any additional fat pieces (usually off the top, if there are any).

Cut the lamb rack into chops by slicing in between each bone with a sharp knife, slicing all the way through. Lay the chops on a baking sheet, laying down, and press any “thicker” chops down with your hand to get all the chops to the same approximate thickness.

Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Brush/pour all of the marinade on the meat (getting it all over the meat), cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 2 – 4 hours in refrigerator. When ready to grill, remove the meat from refrigerator and place at room temperature while the grill is pre-heating (turn grill on “high”). Season the meat with Fio’s special seasoning # 1 (3 parts salt, 1 part paprika, 1 part curry and 1 part black pepper. Place the lamb chops on a hot grill for one minute on the first side, then turn for one minute on the other side. Continue this process until the lamb is rare to medium-rare, maybe a total of four minutes (+/- based on thickness of the meat, and desired doneness). Remove from grill, and let the meat rest on a platter for a few minutes, and serve. It is important not to overcook the lamb chops, that’s why I remove them when they are rare … as the meat rests it keeps cooking; rare will become medium-rare … medium-rare will become medium, and so on. I can always cook it more, I can never cook it less!!

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-  March 2015 –

Penne Balossi

Ingredients:

1 lb penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
¼ cup bacon, cut up into small pieces
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups diced tomatoes with juice
½ cup of red wine.
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1⁄3 cup fresh coarsely chopped basil
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
¼ cup capers
grated parmesan cheese

In a sauté pan place olive oil and bacon under medium heat. Saute until bacon is crispy. Add onion and saute until soft and beginning to color.
Add garlic, and red pepper flakes, saute for another two minutes.
Add tomatoes, wine, tomato paste, and vinegar.
Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, 10-15 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill a large pot ¾ full of water, season with salt and some oil.
Once the water is boiling add the penne pasta, cook pasta to al dente.
Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup liquid to thin the sauce, if necessary.
Transfer sauce to a larger shallow bowl.
Add the drained pasta, olives, capers, and basil, to the sauce and toss well.
Serve pasta immediately topping with the parmesan.

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-  February 2015 –

Judy’s delicious carrot cake

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
3 cups grated carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
large pinch of teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice
3/4 cup chopped pecans
FOR THE TOPPING
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

For the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the inside of a 9” x13” pan.
In mixer bowl, place the grated carrots, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, eggs, oil, vanilla, pineapple and chopped pecans. Blend at medium speed until blended. Pour batter into pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
To Make Frosting: In the mixer place confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then stir in the chopped pecans. Spread on cake. Let cool for an additional 10 minutes and enjoy.

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-  January 2015 –

Warm Goat Cheese with Arugula, Walnuts and Apple Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

4 slices of 1/4″ thick white bread (cut from a baguette bread)
8 ounces fresh goat cheese (in a log form)
1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
1/2 cup walnut halves
cracked black pepper
2 cups of fresh arugula
1/2 Granny Smith apple
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp walnut oil
salt and pepper

Place the apple, lemon juice, walnut oil and some salt and pepper in a blender, and puree until well blended and emulsified. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper toast the bread slices in the oven (425 degrees) until lightly brown. Slice the goat cheese log into four even sized slices and place one slice of goat cheese on each toasted bread slice. Season with cracked black pepper and the thyme. Arrange walnut halves on top of each cheese. Bake in the oven for 6 minutes, (until the cheese is starting to melt). Set up four plates and lay a bed of arugula on each plate. Using a spatula, place one goat cheese bread in the center of the arugula. Drizzle vinaigrette over the goat cheese and arugula and serve.

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-  December 2014 –

Rich Tomato-Oregano Sauce

A wonderful, delicious and full-bodied sauce for pasta, seafood, chicken, pork and as a pizza sauce.

Ingredients:

1 quart of peeled and diced tomatoes (fresh, frozen or canned)
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup of red wine
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (homemade or store bought)
3 tablespoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1 medium chopped onion
8 chopped cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté until tender and lightly golden (about 5 minutes)Add the red wine, tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, oregano and fennel seed. Simmer for 10 minutes, add salt to pepper and taste. Let cool to room temperature and place in blender. Puree until blended. Taste again and add additional salt and pepper as needed.

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- November 2014 –

Elk and White Bean Chili

Fall is “wild game” season and Utah is famous elk hunting country. Here’s a recipe I’ve shared with some “hunter” friends who were kind enough to share their elk with me.

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of ground elk meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
2 cans (15 ounces) white kidney or cannellini beans, drained
3 cups vegetable, beef or chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Place the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, add the elk and saute until lightly brown. Stir in the onion, garlic and jalapeno; cook 2 minutes longer. Add the oregano, paprika and cumin and saute for another few minutes until the onion is tender.  Place 1 cup of beans and 1 cup broth in a blender and blend until purred.  Add the puree to the sauteed elk mixture with the remaining broth.  Cover and cook on low for 45 minutes to one hour, until the elk is tender.  Add the remaining beans and cook for another 5 minutes.
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and cilantro.

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- October 2014 –

Classic Steak Tartare

Occasionally a craving for “steak tartare” may surface, and the recipe for this classic dish has many variations, but here is our favorite:

Ingredients:

12 oz. Beef – lean sirloin, top round or tenderloin
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
½ tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickle
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Brandy
Splash of Lemon Juice, Soy Sauce and Tabasco
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim any tendons and fat from the beef. Chop either by hand or in a food processor, being careful not to over-process the meat. It should be chopped quickly, keeping it in small chuncks. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well using two dinner forks. Adjust seasoning as needed and serve immediately. Yellowfin tuna or Norwegian salmon make a wonderful “seafood” substitute for the beef.


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- September 2014 –

Arugula-Walnut Pesto

This is a very interesting twist on an Italian classic (with basil and pinenuts).

Ingredients:

2 cups of fresh arugula leaves, remove stems
1/2 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmeggiano
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves
salt & pepper to taste

Place the arugula, walnuts, garlic in food processor. Pulse while drizzling in the olive oil into the processor until well pureed. Add the Parmeggiano and pulse a few times to blend (do not over process). Remove the mixture from the processor and put it into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with pasta or spread on crostini bread.

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- August 2014 –

Oysters on the halfshell with semi-frozen melon relish

If you enjoy oysters on the halfshell, this unique combination will blow your culinary palate.

Ingredients:

4 ounces honeydew melon, cut into chuncks
4 ounces watermelon, cut into chuncks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
12 fresh shucked oysters of your favorite variety

Place both melons, lemon juice and 2/3 of the lemon pepper in a food processor and “pulse blend” for a few seconds briefly until well blended but still chunky.

Pour into a square or rectangular nonreactive loaf pan, and place in freezer, stirring occasionally until firm (not rock hard). If the mixture is rock hard, let thaw for a bit unti it softens up.
The objective is to reach a semi-frozen relish consistency.
Arrange the shucked oysters on a platter, on a bed of crushed ice. Season each oyster with a pinch of the remaining lemon pepper, then top each oyster with 1 teaspoon or more of the semi-frozen relish and enjoy.

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- July 2014 –

Fio’s Summer Green Bean Salad

This summertime side dish is an excellent accompaniment to grilled meats and seafood.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh trimmed green beans
6 bacon sliced cut into small julienne strips
2 tbsp chopped red onion
2 large garlic cloves chopped finely
2 tablespoons apples cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons whole-grain Pommery mustard
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup shelled pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste

Place green beans in a large pot of boiling water that has been seasoned with salt. Cook until tender. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water and ice to cool. Once cool, drain and place in a large bowl.

In a medium sized saute pan cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the bacon in a sieve, seperating the bacon from the fat. Place approximately 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat back into the saute pan, add the red onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 1 minute, add in the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil. Pour over the green beans along with the pine nuts and parsley, then season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Serve at room temperature.

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- June 2014 –

Gremolata

Gremolata is a simple Italian condiment most commonly served on top of the classic and famous Osso Buco. It adds a fresh, exciting accent to just about any dish.  Gremolata is great over grilled and roasted vegetables,     pan-seared fish, grilled chicken, and roasted lamb, as well as many pasta dishes.

Ingredients:

1 lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
3 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
a pinch of salt to taste

Using a microplane, zest the lemon into a bowl (this will yield a very finely chopped lemon rind, which will include the very important citrus oil).  Add the parsley and chopped garlic (make sure the garlic is very finely chopped …. no large garlic chunks).  Add the pinch of salt and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least one hour so the flavors “marry”.  Serve this condiment as a wonderful topping to your dishes as desired.

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- May 2014 –

Grilled Asparagus

This recipe brings out the best flavor of fresh spring asparagus.


Ingredients:
2 lbs. fresh spring asparagus (I prefer using thin ones for this preparation)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brandy
1 tbsp soy sauce
salt and pepper
to taste

Preheat grill.  Wash asparagus, cut tough ends off of the stem side, dry with paper towel and lay out on a sheetpan. Combine all of the ingredients except asparagus, in a bowl and brush on the asparagus. Grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes each side (or until desired doneness).  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy.  We like serving our Roast Garlic Sauce (September 2009 recipe), as a great accompaniment to this dish.

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- April 2014 –

Lemonaise Sauce

A wonderful blend of citrus flavors, serve with lobster, shrimp or crab. Also amazing with grilled chicken and on salads as a dressing.
Ingredients:
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon rind
2 tablespoon fresh parsley (plucked & washed)
Tabasco hot sauce and salt to taste

Optional;
substitute fresh dill or fresh tarragon for the parsley
add 1 - 2 tablespoon of Absolut Citron vodka

Combine all of the ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Adjust with a couple of drops of Tabasco and salt (or additional lemon juice), as necessary. Let all the ingredients “marry” in the refrigerator for at least two hours (overnight is best), taste again and enjoy. Best when served chilled.

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- March 2014 –

Grilled Zucchini with fresh herb vinaigrette

- This dish is a perfect appetizer or side dish -
Ingredients:
(for the marinade)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
(for the herb vinaigrette)
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
2 - 3 tablespoon chopped fresh herb assortment (basil, oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, parsley, etc. … basically whatever might be available fresh with the exception of mint and cilantro)

Preparation:

Cut zucchini lengthwise into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices and lay on a sheet pan. In a bowl and using a whisk, mix all the “marinade” ingredients well. Brush the zucchini with this marinade on both sides. Grill on a hot grill 4 – 6 minutes per side until somewhat soft (not overcooked, as the zucchini will continue to cook once removed from grill). Remove from grill and let cool. In a bowl, mix all “vinaigrette” ingredients until well combined (this can also be done in a blender), season with salt and pepper and taste (the vinaigrette should be well seasoned with salt and pepper, as it will be the primary flavoring on the zucchini).

Cut the grilled zucchini into lengthwise strips and place on a platter. Pour the herb vinaigrette over the zucchini, and let marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours (or overnight). Serve chilled or room temperature as an appetizer or side dish.

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- February 2014 –

The Classic Negroni Cocktail — a wonderful “before dinner” cocktail to prepare not only the frame of mind, but also the palate.  Some historians claim that sometime in the 1920s the Negroni was created for Count Cammillo Negroni in Florence, Italy.

Ingredients:

1.5 ounces sweet vermouth

1.5 ounces Campari (the Italian sweet/bitter aperitiv drink)

1.5 ounces Beefeater Gin

One orange slice per drink for garnish

Preparation:

Fill an old-fashion glass with ice cubes, pour in the ingredients, stir well and garnish with the orange slice.

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- January 2014 –

Fio’s Lentil Soup; a warm hearty dish for a chilly day (optional, keep it coarse or puree it, delicious either way)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 pound lentils
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 quarts beef or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
GARNISH:
Plain yoghurt
Fresh chopped parsley

Directions
Place the lentils in a bowl, cover with cold water and let sit for two hours.  In a large pot heat olive oil, then add onion, carrot, celery and salt and sauté for approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another two minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, stock and spices. Increase the heat and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
At this point I can either serve the soup as is or puree the soup in a blender to my desired consistency (from coarse to finely pureed).  Ladle soup in individual bowls, garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon of yoghurt, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.

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- December 2013 –

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed
12 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
6 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Place the sour cream, garlic, artichoke, spinach, pepper, cream cheese, and HALF of the mozzarella and parmesan in a bowl, and mix well.
Pour mixture into an oven safe, 1.5 quart glass or ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes +/- or until bubbly. Turn oven to broil and broil dip lightly browned.
Remove and serve. Great to dip fresh raw veggies, corn chips, pita chips, pretzels, and more.

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- November 2013 –

Grilled Marinated Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

4 fresh, skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl, whisking well.
Check the chicken breast carefully and remove any excess skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Then marinate the breasts in the marinade overnight.
Remove chicken breast from bowl, and place on hot grill.
Grill both sides of meat evenly until done (165 degrees internal temperature).
Season with salt and pepper and serve with Roast Garlic Sauce (see recipes September 2010).

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- October 2013 –

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Ingredients:

2 pounds 12 to 15 count shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and cracked pepper
For the sauce:
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco

Peel and devein the shrimp. Season with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread on a baking sheet evenly. Roast for 8 to10 minutes in a 400 degrees F oven, until firm and cooked through. Let cool. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk well and serve as a dip with the shrimp.

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- September 2013 –

Giuseppe’s Ragu
Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 tablespoon flour
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onion
3 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cups Red Wine
4 tablespoon tomato paste
1 quart of stock (beef, chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs
salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the celery, carrot, and onion for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add the ground beef and pork, and cook until well browned (continuously stirring).
Sprinkle the flour over the cooked meat/veg mixture, and mix well.
Add the wine and tomato paste and mix well.
Add the stock, mix well, bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
Then remove the top and let the sauce reduce.
Continue simmering the ragu for another 30 minutes on low heat.
Add the herbs and mix.
Add salt and pepper to taste, turn off heat, cover and let ragu rest for 30 minutes prior to serving.
This ragú goes well with all types of pastas!

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- August 2013 –

Carole’s Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
6 oz melted unsalted butter
7 oz dark brown sugar
3.5 oz granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1.5 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips (the better quality the chocolate, the better the cookies will be)

In a bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In a mixer blend the butter, brown sugar and sugar until thoroughly blended.
Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla, and mix until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed just until combined.
By hand stir in the chips to taste.
Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer.
Scoop or spoon out even 1/4 cup size cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (remember to allow plenty of room between each cookie, as they spread during baking).
Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven, 15 minutes +/-, until the cookies are light golden grown and the outer edges start to harden yet the centers are still soft and puffy.
These cookies are great when warm from the oven.

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- July 2013 –

Chilled Summer Gazpacho Soup

A wonderful chilled treat in the height of summer, when the veggies are ripe, delicious and full of flavor.

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
½ red onion chopped
1 cucumber chopped
5 ripe tomatoes chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
4 cups tomato juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
6 dashes Tabasco
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the garlic, half the red onion, half the cucumber, half the tomato, half the zucchini, half the celery, half the tomato juice, and all of the olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, oregano and Tabasco in a blender. Process until all ingredients are blended well.

Pour into a large bowl and add the rest of the tomato juice, and the remaining onion, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, and celery.

Stir the mixture well and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Before serving, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into chilled bowls and garnish with a teaspoon of sour cream or plain yoghurt, and some fresh oregano leaves (add avocado slices as an additional option).

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- June 2013 –

Fresh pear Clafoutis

This is a traditional baked pear custard, it is important to try finding ripe and flavorful pears.

Ingredients:

4 fresh pears
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/3 cup
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
pinch of salt
optional — a splash of pear brandy

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Using the softened butter, butter an ovenproof dish (approximately 10” x 10”), and sprinkle the bottom and sides with the 2 tablespoons of sugar.
In an electric mixer, whip the eggs and sugar until fluffy. Add the flour, cream, vanilla, lemon rind, salt, and pear brandy if desired.  Peel, core, and slice the pears. Lay out the slices in a fan design, in the baking dish. Pour the batter over the pears and bake until the top is golden brown and the custard is firm, 35 minutes +/-. Serve warm with fresh berries or fresh cherries, and for a richer option, top with whipped cream.

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- May 2013 –

Tomato Caper Relish

A wonderful summertime accompaniment to grilled fish and cooked pasta dishes.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 onion
4 garlic cloves
5 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
½ cup red wine
¼ cup capers (coarsely chopped)
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon Worchestershire
2 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Saute garlic in olive oil for 30 seconds; add onion, and saute for 3 minutes; add tomatoes, red wine, and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add capers, lemon juice, lemon rind, parsley, Worchestershire and season to taste.

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- April 2013 –

Strawberries Romanoff

This is a classic dessert, perfect when strawberries are in season, fresh and sweet.

Ingredients:

¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup orange juice
2 tbs. raspberry/strawberry puree
1 cup sour cream
splash vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream
Grand Marnier (optional)

2 baskets strawberries (fresh)

Clean the strawberries (wipe, brush and/or wash as needed).  Remove the green leaves and stems.  Cut the strawberries in quarters and place in a large bowl.  Place all the other ingredients in a separate bowl and whip well.  Pour the whipped ingredient mixture over the strawberries and mix delicately with a rubber spatula, being careful not to smash the strawberries.  Let marinate for 45 minutes (refrigerated).  Serve “as is” or spooned over a slice of vanilla sponge cake.

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- March 2013 –

Spring Asparagus with chilled Roquefort sauce

Asparagus comes in several sizes, ranging in diameter from thin (also known as pencil asparagus) to fat asparagus.
For this recipe I prefer the smaller “pencil” spears for their delicacy and tenderness.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh “pencil” asparagus
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 oz. Roquefort (crumbled)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ cup sour cream
1 tsp. Worchester sauce
salt and pepper, to taste

Trim the asparagus spears at the bottom ends before cooking.

Fill a medium pot with water, add a large pinch of salt and one tablespoon of lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Add the asparagus and simmer until tender, but still crisp (being careful to not overcook).  Drain the asparagus in a colander, place in a bowl with cold water and some ice, to immediately stop the cooking process.  Once cooled, drain again, and let dry on paper towel.

For the Roquefort sauce, place all ingredients in a bowl and whip until well blended.  Refrigerate overnight to “marry” the flavors.

To serve, arrange the asparagus in a circle on a large plate, with the Roquefort sauce in a small dish in the middle of the plate for dipping.  Dip the asparagus in the Roquefort sauce and enjoy.

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- February 2013 –

Braised lentils

This is an excellent accompaniment to just about any winter time meal.  Optional experimentation is recommended; add curry, other vegetables, bacon, or chipotle (or any other ingredient your imagination comes up with).

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
2 chopped garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pan sauté the onions and carrots in the olive oil over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the lentils, garlic, bay leaf, & thyme and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked but slightly al dente. (If necessary, add more broth or water, a little at a time, to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.)

Remove and discard the bay leaf.  Season the lentils with vinegar, salt, and pepper.

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- January 2013 –

“Au Bleu” Sauce

One of the most unusual ingredient combinations will produce this amazing sauce.  Try it with lamb chops, beef, elk or venison.

Ingredients:

1/2 qt. Heavy cream
1/4 cup horseradish (fresh)
6 ripe bananas
2 tbsp. Soy sauce (low sodium)
¼ cup sherry
2 shallots chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbsp. Butter
salt and pepper

Preparation; Sauté the shallots and garlic in a sauté pan with the butter until lightly brown, add the sherry and remove from the heat.  Warm the cream in a sauce pan until it is very warm but not boiling.  Place the warmed cream mixture along with all of the other remaining ingredients into a food processor and blend until finely pureed.  Season to taste and serve.

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- December 2012 –

Chipotle Aioli

Last year a friend introduced us to this delicious sauce.  It can be served as an accompaniment to many dishes.  Recently we served the Chipotle Aioli with “Pulled Pork Sliders”!!.

Ingredients:

part one
1 cup Mayonnaise
2 tablespoon red wine Vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
2 to 3 tablespoon of canned chipotle
2 tablespoon chopped onions
2 tablespoon chopped red bell pepper

part two
3 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon honey
Salt to taste

Process all part one ingredients in food processor to a “relish” consistency.

Remove from food processor, place in a bowl and whip in part two ingredients, and let rest for one hour or overnight.  Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and/or hot sauce) as needed, and enjoy.

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- November 2012 –

Grand Marnier Souffle with vanilla custard sauce

This is a classic dessert not often seen in restaurants.

We have made and served thousands!!

Ingredients: (for 4 souffles)

For Soufflé:
6 eggs
2 oz. Sugar
4 oz. Grand Marnier
½ tsp. Flour
½ tsp. grated orange rind
½ tbsp. Grand Marnier

For Soufflé dishes:
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. sugar

Powdered sugar

For Sauce:
4 egg yolks
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
2 oz. Sugar

Preparation:

Separate egg yolk and whites into two stainless steel bowls.  To the yolks add the sugar, orange rind and Grand Marnier and whisk the mixture over a double boiler until just lightly warmed and beginning to coagulate.  (Do not overcook this mixture or it will be like “scrambled eggs”.)  Remove from heat, add flour, whisk well and set aside.  Coat the inside of the soufflé dishes with butter, making sure to focus on the rim.  Pour sugar into each dish and swirl the dish around making sure every part of the dish is coated with sugar, especially the rim.

Pre-heat the oven to 375°.  Whip the egg whites to a “soft” peaks, and immediately fold into the egg yolk batter using a rubber spatula.  Pour into the soufflé dishes and place in the oven.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes (until done).  Soufflé should be bouncy (spongy) when touched on top, not too soft.  (An incision may be made on top to check the inside for “doneness”, if undercooked the center will still be liquid in appearance.)  Dust with powered sugar and served immediately.

Sauce preparation:

Bring the milk and cream to the boiling point (do not boil).  Place the egg yolks, vanilla and sugar in a bowl and whisk, then gradually add the hot milk/cream while whisking.  Place back into pan and continue cooking over a low heat for three to four minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.  Remove from heat, strain and add Grand Marnier.  Sauce can be made hours before the soufflés.  Keep at room temperature or warmer.

Optional; serve chocolate sauce also.

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- October 2012 –

Zucchini-Oregano Soup

This is a wonderful early autumn soup, guaranteed to satisfy the palate and warm the belly.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ onion diced
3 cloves garlic sliced
2 large zucchini cut into large dice
2 tablespoon fresh oregano (plucked, leaves only)
1.5 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoon sherry
1/4 cup of heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until medium brown.  Add zucchini and sauté (stirring very often) until also medium brown.  Add stock, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add oregano, parsley, lemon zest, soy sauce and sherry.  Bring to a boil again and remove from heat.  In blender, blend soup until well pureed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with a sautéed zucchini slice, and fresh oregano sprig.

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- September 2012 –

Root Vegetable Coulis

A delicious, flavorful and healthy sauce for chicken, grilled fish and pasta.

Ingredients:

2 pieces of fresh, raw, & washed celery
1 small shallot
1 small garlic clove
¼ fresh, raw, & washed beet
2 fresh, raw, & washed carrots
¼ fresh, raw, & washed fennel bulb
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper


Juice all vegetables with a juicing machine.
Place in a saucepan and add remaining ingredients.
Whisk until well blended.
Heat over low heat until warm (do not bring to a boil).
Taste, adjust seasoning and pour over chicken, grilled fish and pasta.

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- August 2012 –

Grilled Beef Flank Steak

This great summertime recipe is easy to prepare, delicious and brings the wonderful “grill” flavor to the flank steak.

Ingredients:

One beef flank steak
1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
Salt and pepper

Trim the beef flank of any sinew, tendons, ligaments and large fat pieces.  Mix all marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Brush/pour all of the marinade on the meat (getting it all over the meat), cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 2 – 4 hours in refrigerator.  When ready to grill, remove the meat from refrigerator and place at room temperature while the grill is pre-heating (turn grill on “high”).  Season the meat with salt and pepper.  Place the flank steak on a hot grill for four minutes on each side.  Reduce grill temperature to low and continue grilling for another four minutes (+/- based on thickness of the meat, and desired doneness).   Remove from grill, and let the meat rest on a platter (covered with some foil) for 10 minutes, slice on a bias into thin slices and serve.  It is important not to overcook the flank steak, because of its low fat content; we want to keep the meat from getting dry and tough.   Any leftover flank steak slices are perfect for sandwiches the next day.

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- July 2012 –

Homemade Tomato Ketchup

I rarely utilize ketchup, but I am a fan of making homemade condiments.  Having prepared and tasted this recipe, I recommend this ketchup’s flavor profile as an  accompaniment to any “burger and fries”.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup minced onions
¼ white wine vinegar
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup honey
1 - 6 ounce can of whole plum tomatoes; juice strained and reserved, tomatoes roughly chopped
½ teaspoon Colman’s mustard
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and let sweat until onions become clear - be careful not to brown. Stir in vinegar and brown sugar and reduce liquid by half. Add orange juice, honey, tomato juice, mustard, ginger and allspice. Let cook 3-5 minutes (until thick and syrupy).
Stir in chopped tomatoes and let simmer 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, let cool, adjust the seasoning of the ingredients to your personal taste, and refrigerate.

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- June 2012 –

Asian Peanut Sauce

This sauce is a great accompaniment to grilled chicken and shrimp, and as a dip for grilled/roasted vegetables.  This sauce can also be used to flavor cooked soba noodles, Thai rice sticks, or as a condiment for spring rolls.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon  soy sauce
2 teaspoon  chopped ginger
2 teaspoon  chopped garlic
4 tablespoon  of peanut butter
1 teaspoon  sesame oil
2 tablespoon   rice vinegar
2 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
Chili paste to taste


Combine all of the ingredients except cilantro in the blender and process until smooth.  Add cilantro and taste.  Adjust the seasoning of the ingredients to your personal taste.

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- May 2012 –

Caramelized Onions

This side dish is excellent with steak, burgers, grilled seafood, vegetables, pastas, pizzas and much more.  When cooked, the natural sugars in the onions caramelize, resulting in a rich flavor.

Ingredients:

6 large onions, (Yellow, Vidalia, Spanish, or your favorite)
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice the onions. It’s important to have all the onion pieces roughly the same size and shape so they cook evenly. Otherwise, smaller pieces will burn before the larger ones caramelize.  Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat, then add the oil and butter.  When hot, add onions, stir briefly to coat, and let the onions cook, stirring the bottom frequently, so they brown evenly.  Keep stirring every 30 seconds or so. The onions will lose water, and then they’ll begin to brown.  As the sugar caramelizes, they’ll turn light tan, then golden, and then deep brown. When the desired color is reached (10 to 15 minutes), transfer the onions to a plate to stop cooking.  Season with salt and pepper and enjoy.

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- April 2012 –

Low-fat Fresh Herb Dressing  (great on all salads, especially cucumbers)

Ingredients:

1 cup    2% milk

3 ounces  fat free cream cheese

1/2 cup    low-fat cottage cheese

1 tablespoon   low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup   assorted fresh herbs (basil, oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary …. whatever is available)

1 tablespoon   chopped fresh onion

3 tablespoon   red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Method  Puree all of the ingredients in a blender, and reserve cold for service.

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- March 2012 –

Grilled Duck Breast

Ingredients:

2 cups orange Juice
2 tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/4 cup bourbon or brandy
2 tablespoon mustard (Dijon or brown)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 clove Garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon Chopped Fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon Ground Coriander

Combine all of the ingredients above, add the duck, cover, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator, turning occasionally, for 8 hours.

Remove all of the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments from the duck breast. Then marinate the breasts in the marinade.

WHEN GRILLING THE DUCK;  Remove the meat from the marinade or brine, and place on a hot grill for four minutes on each side +/- based on thick the breasts are (until they are “medium-rare”).  Let the meat rest on a platter (covered with some foil) for 10 minutes, slice into thin slices and serve.  It is important not to overcook the duck, because of its low fat content; we want to keep the meat from getting dry and tough.

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- February 2012 –

Mango Relish

This relish is a great healthy, flavorful and delicious accompaniment to grilled fish and chicken!!

Ingredients:

2  fresh ripe Mangoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoon  Red Onion, diced
¼ Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
¼  teaspoon Chili Paste
1/2  tablespoon  Lemon Juice
¾  Cup   Mango Juice
1/2 teaspoon   Soy Sauce
1/2 tablespoon   fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoon  fresh Ginger, chopped

Method-

In food processor, blend onion, chili paste, lemon juice, soy sauce, cilantro, Mango juice, and ginger until well blended.  Add all remaining ingredients into processor and “pulse” a few times, keeping it chunky.  Let the relish rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour so the flavors blend.  Serve at room temperature.
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- January 2012 –

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lisa made these cookies recently, the recipe is quite simple, and the cookies are awesome … with perfect texture, just the right amount of chocolate gooeyness & crunch!!

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- December 2011 –

“VEGAN PLUS” Chocolate Pudding

My friend Don asked me to make him some delicious Chocolate Pudding following the guidelines for a “vegan plus” nutritional plan.  The following recipe is delicious, chocolaty, and very healthy.

Ingredients:

2 cup water
3 tablespoon sugar (or substitute honey)
4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. bittersweet, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate

It is important to use good pure, quality dark chocolate (not milk chocolate).
In a saucepan, place water, sugar and cornstarch, and stir.
Over medium heat bring to a simmer/slow boil, stirring constantly using a whip.
Let simmer for one minute.
Remove from heat, add chocolate and continue stirring until all of the chocolate is melted.
Add the vanilla extract.
Pour into a ceramic bowl, let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.
Once chilled …… ENJOY!!!!!!!

Extra note; if you like your pudding on the sweeter side, increase the amount of sugar.
If you are using honey, taste the pudding before cooling and add more honey if necessary.

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- November 2011 –

Classic Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients:

1 lb. Cooked potatoes (Idaho Baking or Red “New” Potatoes)
6 oz. flour
1 egg
3 oz grated Parmesan
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Boil the potatoes whole in the skin until tender when poked with a knife.  Let the potatoes cool to room temperature and peel off the potato skins.  Process the potatoes through a food mill (small holes).  In a large bowl mix the potatoes with the other ingredients by hand.  This should be mixed well until blended and slightly “doughy”.

Separate the dough into four approximately equal portions.  On a flour dusted counter or table, roll out one fourth of the dough into a long thin “log” about 1” in diameter.  This should be kind of like playing with clay.  Repeat this process with each of the remaining portions of the dough.  Cut each log into 1” slices.  With the back end of a fork “mark” each gnocchi by pressing firmly down with the fork.  To keep the fork from sticking, you should dip it into flour between marking each gnocchi.

Cook the gnocchi in simmering salt water with a splash of oil until done.  The gnocchi will be floating (cut one open to see if it is done).

Serve with tomato sauce, meat sauce, or brown butter (with sage and garlic) and shaved Parmesan.

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- October 2011 –

Crispy Country Bread

from Jim Lahey’s Sullivan Street Bakery
This is a wonderfully simple bread recipe.  The end product is crispy and delicious.  The key is utilizing the recommended bread baking vessel (see recipe below).  Makes one 1½-pound loaf.
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
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- September 2011 –

Fio’s Secret Meat Rub

This recipe comes from our “ask Fio for Advice” section.

Fio,
How do you prepare the meat rub? I am a food expect and world renowned eater. You may have seen me on the Nathan’s HotDog eating contest. I often enjoy your culinary perfections.  I am missing the secret rub to perfect my meat. I am in distress and hope you will understand the urgency of this message.
All my love,
Michael

Ingredients:
¼ Cup-           Sea Salt
¼ Cup-           Ground Cumin
¼ Cup-           Ground Black Pepper
¼ Cup-           Ground Celery Seed
¼ Cup-           Ground Sage
¼ Cup-           Ground Coriander
¼ Cup-           Garlic Powder
½ Cup-           Paprika

Blend all ingredients well and store in an air-tight container.
Rub generously on beef, pork, chicken or any other meat, prior to roasting, sauteeing or grilling.
FIO’S SECRET MEAT RUB IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR SALE, BY EMAILING US WITH AN ORDER  info@FiosCulinaryAdventures.com
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- August 2011 –

Grilled Mushrooms with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients:

2 lbs.   fresh mushroom assortment;
regular white mushrooms, portabellas, shiitakes, oyster mushrooms, morels, porcinis, whatever you can find fresh. (use the largest mushrooms, so they wont fall through the grill)
Marinade
1/2 cup           mayonnaise
1 tbsp.             brandy
1 tbsp.             honey
1/2 tsp.           paprika
1/2 tsp.           soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste
Sauce
3 tbsp.             assorted fresh finely chopped herbs
1 clove             chopped garlic
1/4 cup           red wine
1 tbsp.             soy sauce
1 tbsp              olive oil
2 tbsp              sherry
salt & pepper to taste
Brush or cut off any dirt from all of the mushrooms.  Cut the mushrooms lengthwise, into long “slices” about 1/2″ thick.
Mix all Marinade ingredients together in a bowl, and generously brush the mushroom slices with marinade.
Mix all Sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer; DO NOT BOIL!
Pre-heat grill to a maximum heat range (HOT!)  Grill both sides of mushrooms for 2 - 4 minutes (depending on thickness).  Remove from grill and place in a bowl, pour sauce over mushrooms, toss the mushrooms and sauce well,  place on a serving platter, sprinkle with a small amount of shredded Parmesan and serve immediately.
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- July 2011 –

Chilled Summer Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon   olive oil
3 tablespoon   onion - chopped
2.5 cups carrots - raw, peeled and sliced
1 qt. chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup   heavy cream

Method:

Saute the onion in olive oil until golden, add carrots and the stock or water, cover and simmer until carrots are very mushy (45 to 60 minutes).  Let cool to room temperature.  Puree in blender (adding additional stock or water as needed for desired consistency).  Once pureed, add cream, salt, pepper, and a touch of nutmeg.  Chill before serving and taste again.  I prefer a thicker consistency, about the thickness of a medium tomato puree.  If you like it thinner, add additional stock or water.  Garnish with fresh dill or chopped chives, and cracked black pepper.

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- June 2011 –

Tomato-Herb Relish

This is a wonderful accompaniment to grilled tuna, salmon, pork tenderloin or chicken.

Happy Grilling!!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon     chopped onion
3        garlic cloves
1 tablespoon    fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon   grated lemon peel
2 tablespoon fresh herb assortment (whatever is available; rosemary, oregano, basil, sage, thyme, chives, tarragon, etc.)
1 teaspoon   Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup    olive oil
1/3 cup  lemon juice
4 -5   large, ripe, juicy tomatoes, chopped
Method:
In a blender process all of the ingredients except the chopped tomatoes, until very well pureed.  Add chopped tomatoes, and blend again briefly (most blenders have a “pulse” control button, use this for the tomatoes, the objective is to leave the tomatoes chunky).  Put mixture in bowl; add salt & pepper to taste.

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- May 2011 –

Cured Cucumbers

This dish is to be served chilled as an accompaniment to both seafood and meat dishes (serves four).

Ingredients:

1 European cucumber, aka seedless cucumber
4   Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1   Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon oriental pepper paste
1   teaspoon creamy peanut butter
1   Clove garlic
2   Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1   Tablespoon chopped fresh Parsley
1   Tablespoon chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Blend all ingredients, except the cucumber, in a blender until well processed.  Peel and slice cucumbers (very thinly sliced), and place in a bowl. Pour curing mixture in with the sliced cucumbers and let cure for at least 45 minutes (overnight is best). Taste, add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve chilled.
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- April 2011 –

Caramel Sauce

A wonderful topping for many desserts; cake, ice cream, custards, crepes, fruit, and much more.

Ingredients:

1 cup water
8 oz. brown sugar
8 oz. sugar
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream (liquid)
½ tsp. Vanilla
Method:
In a sauce pan combine the brown sugar, sugar and 1 cup of water, and bring to a boil.  Continue to cook over low to medium heat until the sugar begins to caramelize (it will begin to produce a little smoke).  Hot sugar is extremely hot, be careful and do not touch it with an open hand.  Remove from heat and let cool for five minutes.  Pour in the other 1 cup of water.  When you add this water, the sugar will harden some.  Return the pan to medium heat and bring to a simmer until all of the hardened sugar is dissolved.  Continue cooking the caramel sauce until it is the consistency of “maple syrup”.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla and the cream, blend well and strain.  You can also add other flavors at this time such as Rum, Grand Marnier, Whiskey, Amaretto or any other flavored liquor.  Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.
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- March 2011 –

Lemon-yogurt Sauce

This delicious and simple sauce is a perfect accompaniment to sauteed salmon, halibut, snapper, veal, chicken or pork.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs  Olive oil
2/3 cup plain non fat yogurt
1/3 sour cream
1 whole lemon
1 tsp.  low sodium Soy sauce
Salt and pepper
preparation:
Grate approximately ½ teaspoon of the lemon peel.  Peel and section the lemon.  Remove any seeds.  Place the lemon peel, lemon sections and lemon juice in a blender with the yoghurt, olive oil, and soy sauce.  Blend until well processed.  Taste the sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let the sauce “marry” for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature or lightly warmed.
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- February 2011 –

Toasted Almond Cookies

Ingredients:

4 oz. eggwhites (this is equal to the whites from four large eggs)
5 oz. granulated sugar
7 oz. powdered sugar
6 oz. toasted almonds
1 oz. flour
– process the toasted almonds and flour until finely ground –
– place the egg whites, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar in the mixer –
– start the mixer on slow speed, then increase the speed once all of the ingredients are mixed up –
– whip the mixture until “thick and fluffy” –
– fold in the almond/flour into the eggwhite mixture –
– place in pastry bag, and pipe out on parchment paper, into small quarter size dots –
– bake in pre-heated oven 400 degrees, for 8 to 10 minutes until done –
– let cool, and assemble like “sandwiches” with 1/2 teaspoon of chocolate ganache in between two dots –
Chocolate ganache
use equal parts good quality semi-sweet chocolate and heavy cream (4 - 6 oz. chocolate and 4 - 6 oz. heavy cream)
– melt the chocolate over a “double boiler” –
– heat the cream (but do not boil it) –
– mix the chocolate and cream –
– let cool to room temperature, and assemble cookies –

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- January 2011 –

This is a simple vanilla buttercream recipe, as per a “ask Fio for advice” question that I received recently from my good friend Bryce.

Bryce Says:

Fio
I am making a Rainbow Cake, 5 layers of different colored cake. My mom says I can get started and do a few layers ahead and freeze them. I’d also like your suggestion for a simple and delicious buttercream recipe.
Thanks.
Bryce

Bryce
Thank you for contacting me. Your Rainbow cake project sounds like fun.
If I were making the cake in stages, I would bake the individual cakes, let them cool, wrap each one in plastic wrap, and freeze them until assembly.
On the day of assembly, I would make the butter cream and assemble the cake, all on the same day. The buttercream is easiest to work with immediately after I’ve made it (it gets “hard” as it “sets up”, once it is chilled). I would keep the individual cakes in the freezer until I am ready to assemble, as the cakes are easier to work with while they are frozen.
There are many buttercream recipes. Some use mostly butter and sugar, which results in a “way too sweet” finished product (in my opinion).
Here is my suggestion for a simple buttercream recipe;
Buy a large package of Jell-O vanilla pudding mix (the “cook” kind, not the “instant”). Follow the instructions on the box for making the pudding, let the pudding cool to room temperature.
Place equal parts of the following in your mixer;
the vanilla pudding that you’ve made (at room temperature)
unsalted butter (also at room temperature)
powdered sugar
Also add a little vanilla extract (how much is based on how much buttercream you are making, but I would start with maybe 1/2 teaspoon, and add more once you taste it. As they say … “you can always add more, “you can never take any out”.)
If you are coloring the buttercream, add the food color now, and remember to start off with just a little, and add more as needed, “you can always add more, “you can never take any out”.
Now turn the mixer on “low”, once the ingredients come together, turn up the speed and let the mixer whip until the buttercream is fluffy (this may take several minutes or more). It should be light and fluffy.
It is important to start the cake assembly (spreading the buttercream on the cake) right away once it is finished mixing, (it gets “hard” or sets up, once it is chilled).
Spread the buttercream on your cake layers and once you’ve completed the assembly, I would keep the cake in the refrigerator until serving.
Feel free to contact me if I can be of any additional assistance.
Happy Cooking!!
Fio
PS have you made those chocolate-almond cookies again?

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- December 2010 –

Cinnamon-Rum-Raisin Souffle

This delicious souffle recipe is a perfect dessert for any festive winter dinner.
(for 4 individual soufflés)

Ingredients:
6 Eggs (separated)
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon  Flour
4 Tbs. dark rum
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tbs. raisins
Powdered Sugar

For the soufflé dishes
Melted unsalted butter
Granulated sugar
Instructions:
Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Brush the inside and rim of 4 round, ceramic soufflé dishes with melted unsalted butter, and coat generously with granulated sugar.  Place the egg yolks, brown sugar, rum, flour, and cinnamon into a metal bowl.  Combine and warm over a double boiler on low heat until slightly thickened (pancake batter consistency), and remove from the heat, add the raisins, stir well, and let cool to room temperature.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and then, using a rubber spatula, fold into the “batter” mixture.  Fill the soufflé dishes to the top of each dish, but be careful not to overfill.  Bake in the pre-heated oven for 12 to 16 minutes, adjusting the temperature to avoid overbrowning.  Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately with vanilla custard sauce.
ENJOY!!!

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November 2010 –

Mama Hart’s* Kentucky Cornbread Dressing

THIS IS A WONDERFUL “THANKSGIVING TIME” RECIPE WE RECEIVED FROM OUR GOOD FRIEND DAVID A.

This recipe makes about 16 cups, enough to stuff the Bird and have extra on the side (or fill two large casseroles).  Easily serves 12 - 15

Ingredients:

10 Cups finely crumbled Cornbread
8   Tablespoons Butter
1   Cup finely cubed Gruyere cheese
1   Cup finely chopped Green Onions
1   Cup finely chopped White Onion
2   Cups finely chopped Sweet Green and Sweet Red Peppers
2   Cups finely chopped Celery
1   Cup finely chopped fresh Parsley
3   Hardboiled Eggs coarsely chopped
3   Raw Eggs well beaten
8   Links Low Fat Chicken Andouille Gourmet Sausages thinly sliced
32 Ounces rich Turkey or Chicken stock
1 Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon dried Marjoram, crumbled
2 Tablespoons fresh Sage leaves very finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh Thyme leaves very finely chopped
Preperation:
Make or buy the Cornbread.  Blend five spices in a small bowl and set aside.  Cube the Gruyere and set aside.  Chop all the vegetables and set aside.  Crumble the cornbread and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slowly heat butter in a very deep skillet (use two skillets if necessary—remember all the cornbread will be added here).  Add the onions and cook slowly until they are transparent but not brown.  Add the sliced sausages to the onion mixture.  Keep stirring and cook for 2-3 minutes.   Add the green pepper and celery.  Keep stirring and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand briefly.  Add the parsley, hardboiled eggs, cornbread and beaten eggs.  Blend well and gradually add the spice mixture.  Add enough broth to make the entire mixture “slushy”, not just moist.  Spoon the finished product into one or more casserole pans with lids and sprinkle the tiny Gruyere cheese cubes on top.  Bake for 30 minutes with the lids off.
Put the casserole lids on and bake for another 20 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!
* Note from David A. –  Matilda Mageer Hart (1886-1966), known to all as “Mama Hart” was my maternal grandmother and a fabulous cook.  In the recipe above, I have substituted Companion Bakehouse’s cornbread for her homemade version (because it is sweeter and less coarse) and Amy Kurzawski’s low fat Chicken Andouille sausage for her sautéed giblets.

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October 2010 –

Vindaloo, the king of curries, is of Portuguese origin.
Serves Eight
Ingredients:
1 tsp. cardamom seed
1 tbsp. chilli powder
4 cinnamon sticks, 3” +/-
12 cloves, whole
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
2 tsp. ginger, fresh, minced
1 tsp. black peppercorns, whole
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. garlic, minced
2 tsp. mustard powder
2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 1/4 cups vinegar, malt or wine
4 lb pork (or beef, chicken, lamb) cubed
4-6 tbsp mustard oil
2 onions, medium, chopped
4 bay leaves

Gently dry roast the spices from cardamom through to peppercorns for about 5 minutes on top of the stove. Put in blender together with salt, garlic mustard and turmeric and add the vinegar to form a liquid. Add water if necessary.  Place your choice of meat in non-metallic bowl and the vinegar mixture. Mix well and leave to marinade for 24 hours, turning occasionally. Heat mustard oil and fry onion, cumin, garlic and onions until soft. Remove and set aside. Now fry the meat for a few minutes, adding more oil if necessary. Add the remnants of the vinegar mixture and onions and simmer until the meat is tender (adding water if needed). Taste and add salt or more chilli if necessary. Let the curry rest another day, then reheat and serve with rice, side dishes, dhal, chapatis, etc.

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September 2010 –

Orange Pecan Cake
Serves eight

Ingredients:
2 oranges (entire fruit, skin on, cut in half)
2 cups water
4 oz. sugar
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
2 oz. ground pecans
2 oz. sour cream
2 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon flour
Place orange halves in water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Keep covered and let cool.
Once cool, remove oranges from water, and place in food processor with egg yolks, pecans, sour cream, oj concentrate, and thickner.  Process these items until well pureed.
In mixer, whip egg whites until stiff, add sugar slowly, whip for another three minutes.  Fold meringue mixture into puree mixture with a rubber spatula.
Pour this batter into a buttered and sugared 9” cake pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes +/- until done.  Remove from pan, let cool, and top with powdered sugar or royal icing.
Serve with crème anglaise that has been flavored with Grand Marnier.

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August 2010 –

Poached pears with macerated strawberries
Serves Four

Ingredients:
2 large ripe pears (Bartlett, D’Anjou, Red pear, or your favorite)
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp lemon juice
2 cups water
¼ cup honey
1 pint fresh strawberries
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs honey
1 tbs. fresh chopped mint
2 tbs. orange juice

Peel the pears, cut in half lengthwise, and using a melon baler, or spoon, scoop out the center part of each pear half (where the seeds are).  Place the pears in a large sauce pan with the water, lemon juice, honey and vanilla.  Bring to a simmer and cook until medium-soft (depending on ripeness of the pear this may take 5 to 10 minutes).  Remove from heat, place the pears and  the liquid in a bowl.  Chill until cool.
Remove the stem from the strawberries and cut into quarters.  Place strawberries into a bowl with the vinegar, the honey, the mint and the orange juice.  Mix the strawberries well and let macerate for at least 30 minutes.  To serve, remove the pear halves, place each pear half on a plate, top with a generous serving of macerated strawberries and serve.

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July 2010 –

Thai Curry Sauce

This delicious sauce is a great accompaniment to grilled beef and chicken.

Ingredients:
1 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. peanut butter
8 sprigs parsley
3 cloves garlic
6 green onions
1 tbs. soy sauce
4 tbs. orange juice
1 & ½ cups mayonnaise
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. curry powder (your favorite; spicy, sweet or mild)
1 tbs. Thai red pepper paste
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation:
Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until finely pureed and very smooth.  Let it rest for at least one hour before serving.  Best served at room temperature.

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June 2010 –

Watermelon, Cucumber and Red Onion Salad

Serves Four

Ingredients:

1 cup peeled and sliced cucumber
1 cup seeded and cubed watermelon
1 tbs. mint - fresh and chopped
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot (peeled)
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove (peeled)
1 tsp. soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Preparation:
Arrange the sliced cucumber on a large platter in an overlaying circle, and place the watermelon in the center of the circle in a “pile”.  Spread the red onion slices over the watermelon, and sprinkle the chopped mint over the arrangement.  Process all of the remaining ingredients in a blended and pour over the salad.  Let marinate and chill for at least 15 minutes ….. and enjoy.

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– May 2010 –

Fio’s Marinated Vegetables

Makes twenty servings +/-

Ingredients:

(other vegetables may be substituted….added into the “mix” based on how long each vegetable takes to cook)

10 carrots – peeled and cut into even sized sticks
1 head of cauliflower – cut into small even sized florettes
2 medium onions – peeled and cut into lengthwise ½” wedges
1 whole stalk of celery — cut into even sized sticks
6 bell peppers (assorted colors) – seeded and cut into ½” wedges
1 lb of button mushrooms — washed
½ gallon water
1 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
¼ cup soy sauce (I like to use the “Lite” = low-sodium)
4 large sprigs (more like small twigs) of fresh rosemary
6 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

1)      In a large pot (large enough to hold three gallons of liquid), place the water, white vinegar, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce, salt (start with 1.5 tablespoons), pepper (start with one tablespoon), the bay leaves and the rosemary.
2)      Over high heat bring pot to a simmer, then add the cauliflower, cover for three minutes (while maintaining high heat).
3)      Add the carrots, stir, and cover for three minutes (while maintaining high heat).
4)      Add the celery and onions, stir, and cover for three minutes (while maintaining high heat).
5)      Add the bell peppers, stir, and cover for three minutes (while maintaining high heat).
6)      Add the mushrooms, stir, turn off heat and cover for three minutes.
7)      Remove cover, and let cool to room temperature.  Taste both the vegetable and the liquid.  Adjust with salt and pepper to taste, before placing in containers and refrigerating.  Best if allowed to marinate for at least two days before enjoying (I like allowing it to marinate for one week.  The week of marinating forces the flavors infuse into the vegetables.).

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– April 2010 –

Chilled Beets with Goat Cheese

Serves Four

Ingredients:

2 medium to large beets
½ teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar (A)
6 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 teaspoon Balsamic vinegar (B)
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped herbs
Seasalt and fresh ground black pepper
Grape tomatoes for garnish

Trim any stalks and wash the beets.  Dry with paper towel.  Rub the beets with the olive oil, wrap each one in aluminum foil and bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven until soft (about 45 – 60 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool.  Once cool, remove aluminum foil and peel the skin off the beets.  Slice the beets (cross cut) into ¼” thick slices and lay out slices on cutting board, keeping them relatively organized, as the slices will be reassembled.   Brush all the slices with balsamic vinegar (A).  Season the slices lightly with salt and pepper.  Divide the goat cheese evenly, placing a thin layer on top of each of the beet slices.  Reassemble the beet slices, stacking them in order.  Press down firmly on top of each slice, to firm up the dish.  Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.  For serving, cut four equal wedges from each reassembled beet and place two wedges on each plate.  Drizzle Balsamic vinegar (B) on each wedge and around each plate.  Sprinkle each plate with a generous amount of fresh chopped herbs, garnish with grape tomatoes and serve.   Serves four.

As an exciting variation, drizzle a generous serving of white truffle olive oil on each wedge during plating.


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– March 2010 –

Lisa’s Hummus

Yield two cups

Ingredients:

One 16 oz. Can Garbanzo Beans, drained
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (add more at the end to taste)
2 to 3 fresh garlic cloves (to preference)
1 tablespoon  Tahini
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Puree ingredients in food processor.
If you want the hummus to be a bit thinner, add some water to reach desired consistency
(based on how the hummus is going to be served, some people like it thick, others like it thin).
Optional; add some chopped pickled Jalapeno and/or some fresh chopped Cilantro

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– February 2010 –

Carole’s Wild Berry Sauce

Yield three + cups

Ingredients:

3 pints of fresh raspberries
2 pints of fresh blackberries
2 pints of fresh berries
1½ cups of sugar
3/4 cup water
2 to 4 tablespoons of Framboise (a raspberry liquor)

Bring all ingredients to a boil, except one pint of fresh raspberries and the Framboise, stirring regularly.  Once it boils, remove from heat and stir in the reserved raspberries and the Framboise.  Serve warm over ice cream, or serve chilled. Great over Pound cake, chocolate cake, fresh fruit, crepes, etc.

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- January 2010 –

Chocolate Cake

One of our favorite old Swiss recipes!!

Serves Eight - Twelve

Ingredients:

Part One:
1 cup warm water
½ cup melted unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet Swiss chocolate (top quality)
Part two:
2 cups oatmeal flakes (not instant) coarsely processed in food processor
1½ cups sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
Part three:
4 ounces sweet Swiss chocolate (top quality)
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon hot water
2 ounces of powdered sugar

In a double boiler melt part one chocolate, butter and water. Stir until well blended. Remove this mixture from double boiler and place in mixer bowl with all of the part two ingredients. Mix in mixer medium speed until well blended. Pour this mixture into a greased 12” cake pan lined with parchment paper. Place in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. In double boiler melt the part three chocolate. Once melted, add the powdered sugar, water and cream. Stir until smooth. When cake is removed from oven, spread this chocolate mixture evenly on top of the cake. Let cool, remove from cake pan, and serve at room temperature with whipped cream.


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- Happy New Year 2010 –

Here’s a very interesting Holiday Fruitcake recipe that a friend gave us, click on the angel to enlarge:

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- December 2009 –

Tomato Bisque

Serves Eight

Ingredients:

2.5 lb. tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut in chunks
16 oz. can of tomato juice
1 onions, 1 leeks, 1 carrots, 1 stalk celery - all diced
1.5 oz. olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
½ cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sherry
Salt, pepper, sugar

Sauté onions in olive oil, but do not brown, then add diced leeks, carrots and celery and sweat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Vegetables should still be translucent. Add tomatoes and tomato juice. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Add bay leaves, chopped garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Boil gently for 45 minutes. Process in blender at low speed until pureed. Add chopped basil, heavy cream and sherry. Taste. Adjust seasonings if desired . Serve and enjoy.

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- November 2009 –

Wild Mushroom and Corn Soup

Serves Eight

Ingredients:

2 lbs. assorted fresh wild mushrooms
4 tbsp. Olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 oz. Butter
3 oz. flour
½ tbsp. chopped garlic
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (assortment)
1 cup sherry
2 qts. vegetable or chicken stock
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 cup heavy cream
2 ears of fresh corn, shucked and shaved (kernels only)
salt and pepper to taste
Place olive oil and onions in a large pot and saute over medium heat until lightly brown. Slice mushrooms in small pieces, add to pot, along with the garlic, and saute for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add sherry and simmer for one minute. Add stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Melt the butter and in a seperate bowl mix butter and flour until well blended. Using a whisk slowly add the butter/flour mixture into the simmering soup, whisking constantly (to make sure there are no lumps in the soup). Simmer for 5 minutes, whisking often. Add the cream, herbs and corn, and simmer for another two minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional stock (or water) if the soup has a thicker consistency than desired.


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- October 2009 –

Green Madagascar Peppercorn Sauce

One of the most popular sauces we’ve featured throughout the last 29 years.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
2 tablespoons Green Madagascar Peppercorns
3 tablespoons glace de viande (or some type of reduced meat glaze)
1/2 cup heavy cream
One good splash of brandy or cognac
Salt to taste
Method:
Saute the shallots with butter in a saucepan for a few minutes (until they start to turn lightly brown).  Add the peppercorns, brandy and glaze.  Stir and simmer for one minute.  Add the cream.  Stir and simmer for two more minutes.  Season with salt.  Additional peppercorns and brandy can be added if desired.  Serve on roasted, sauteed or grilled meats.


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- September 2009 –


Roast Garlic Sauce

Ingredients:

5 to 8 Garlic Cloves to taste

1 tbs. Butter

4 tbs. Sherry (1 ½ for garlic, 2 ½ for egg yolks)

4 tbs. White wine

2 tbs. Mayonnaise

4 egg yolks

1 tsp. Soy sauce

2 tbs. Heavy cream

Salt and Pepper


Roast the garlic in a pan with butter until dark brown. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce and 1 ½ tbs. of the Sherry. In a food processor, process the garlic and pan juices with the mayo until very fine and smooth. In a double boiler, whip egg yolks with the white wine and remaining sherry until fluffy and thick. The egg yolks should cook but not appear to be scrambled.  Add the garlic puree to the eggyolk mixture, along with all of the remaining ingredients together. Season to taste.

This simple, yet rich sauce is an excellent accompaniment to meats, seafood and vegetables.


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- August 2009 –

Walnut-Raisin Bread Pudding

Serves Six

Ingredients:


4 slices of sliced whole wheat bread (one slice = approximately 2 oz.)
3/4 cup skim milk

1/2 cup fat free half & half
3 oz. molasses
3 oz. eggwhites (one egg = approximately 1 oz.)
¼ cup of walnut pieces
¼ cup of raisins (more if you love raisins)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup of fresh pineapple cut into small chunks
¼ cup of pineapple juice
3 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut milk


In a saucepan warm the milk, half & half, and the molasses. In a separate bowl, blend the eggwhites, walnut pieces, raisins, cinnamon, and vanilla; mix well.

Cut the bread into large dices, and add to the egg mixture; blend well.

Add the warm cream mixture to the eggs mixture, and blend well. Pour into two shallow baking pans, that have been sprayed with nonfat pan spray.

Cook for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 390 degrees. Turn off oven, and let continue to bake in oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut into squares and serve warm with the pineapple relish.


For the pineapple relish; mix all three remaining ingredients in a bowl and let the flavors meld together for 15 minutes.

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- July 2009 –

Greek Olive Sauce

This simple yet rich sauce is an “olive lovers” delight, and goes extremely well with roast or grilled lamb, beef, tuna and vegetables.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Greek Olives (pitted)  feel free to experiment with your favorite type of olives (or assortment)
½ Cup Sour Cream
¼ Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
½ Tsp. Chopped Garlic (optional)
Salt and pepper


To prepare the sauce, process all of the ingredients in a food processor, then season the sauce with fresh ground pepper. Then taste it, and add salt only if necessary (olives are salty from the brine).

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- June 2009 –

Summer’s Chipotle Dressing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

¼ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Chipotle puree to taste

Salt to taste

Fresh chopped herbs (optional)

In a bowl, mix the two vinegars, mustard, soy sauce, lemon juice, and mayonnaise. Add the olive oil slowly while mixing the dressing. Add the chipotle puree and salt to taste. This is a great dressing for virtually any salad, but especially delicious on avocado, tomato, and cucumber.

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- May 2009 –

Lisa’s Granola Bars

Yield 15 - 20 squares

Ingredients:

2 cups Old fashioned oats

1¾ cup all purpose flour (whole wheat flour use only 11/4 cups)

1 cup butter

1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, whatever your favorite is)

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Large pinch of salt

Large pinch of baking soda

1 cup of strawberry or raspberry puree or jam

Combine all ingredients (except berry puree/jam), in a large mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 2 cups of this mixture. Press remaining mixture onto bottom of greased 13” X 9” baking pan. Spread berry puree/jam evenly over base mixture. Sprinkle with reserved mixture. Bake in pre-heated oven 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool, and cut into squares.

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- April 2009 –

Fio’s Chocolate Soufflé

Yield 4 individual soufflés

Ingredients:

6 Eggs (separated)

2 Tbs. Sugar

1 Tsp. Flour

3 Tbs. Creme de Cocoa Liquor

2 oz. Melted Chocolate (semi-sweet of excellent quality)

Powdered Sugar

For the soufflé dishes:

Melted unsalted butter

Granulated sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375°. Brush the inside and rim of 4 round, ceramic soufflé dishes with melted unsalted butter, and coat generously with granulated sugar. Place the egg yolks, sugar, creme de cocoa, flour, and chocolate into a metal bowl. Combine and warm over a double boiler on low heat until slightly thickened (pancake batter consistency), and remove from the heat. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.  Then, using a rubber spatula, fold into the batter mixture. Fill the soufflé dishes to the top of each dish, but be careful not to overfill. Bake for 11 to 15 minutes, adjusting the temperature to avoid overbrowning. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately with chocolate sauce.

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- March 2009 –

Gorgonzola Sauce

Great with Beef Tenderloin!

Yield 1 1/2 cups of sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup of mayonnaise

½ cup of sour cream

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 oz. good quality Gorgonzola cheese

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (chopped)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

½ teaspoon soy sauce

½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in food processor, and blend until smooth. Season to taste. When serving, keep the sauce on stovetop so the sauce is room temperature or warmer (do not heat over flame, or attempt to bring to a simmer).

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– February 2009 –

Mango Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

Serves Four

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh mango puree

¼ cup orange juice

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

¼ cup plain non fat yogurt

2 oz. eggwhites (2 large eggs)

1 cup fresh raspberries

2 tbs. honey

½ tsp. lemon juice

1 cup of fresh mango chunks

fresh mint for garnish


Place orange juice and gelatin in a saucepan and whisk over low heat until the gelatin is dissolved and the mixture is warm. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the mango puree. Place mixture in a bowl, add yogurt and mix well. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggwhites until they form soft peaks. Using a rubber spatula fold the whipped egg whites into the mango mixture and blend well. Ladle into four parfait glasses (or any individual elegant serving dish), chill for three hours. In a blender, place raspberries, honey and lemon juice. Blend well, and pour through a course strainer (to remove the seeds). To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons of raspberry sauce on the mousse, top with mango chunks and a sprig of fresh mint.

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– January 2009 –

Poached Pear with Macerated Strawberries

Serves Four

Ingredients:

2 large ripe pears (Bartlett, D’Anjou, Red pear, or your favorite)

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon juice

2 cups water

¼ cup honey

1 pint fresh strawberries

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 tbs honey
1 tbs. fresh chopped mint
2 tbs. orange juice

Peel the pears, cut in half lengthwise. Using a melon baller, or spoon, scoop out the center part of each pear half (where the seeds are). Place the pears in a large sauce pan with the water, lemon juice, honey and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and cook until medium-soft (depending on ripeness of the pear this may take 5 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat, place the pears and the liquid in a bowl. Chill until cool.

Remove the stem from the strawberries and cut into quarters. Place strawberries into a bowl with the vinegar, the honey, the mint and the orange juice. Mix the strawberries well and let macerate for at least 30 minutes. To serve, remove the pear halves, place each pear half on a plate, top with a generous serving of macerated strawberries and serve.


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– December 2008 –

Pumpkin Polenta

Serves Eight

Ingredients:

11 oz. Cornmeal (ground for polenta)

1 qt. Vegetable stock

4 oz. unsweetened Pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)

¼ cup shelled pumpkin seeds

2 oz. Shredded Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. chopped onion (optional)

nutmeg

salt

pepper


In selecting the cornmeal, you can use fine or course ground, depending on your preference, I like yellow/course grind.

Sauté the onion in olive oil for three to four minutes until lightly colored, add the vegetable stock and bring to the boiling point, and then pour in the cornmeal while whisking. Continue whisking over a low heat until thick (two to three minutes). Remove the whisk and continue stirring with a metal or wooden spoon for an additional three to five minutes for fine ground cornmeal (longer for coarser grind). Add the pumpkin puree and the pumpkin seeds and stir over a medium heat for another two minutes. Add the parmesan, salt, pepper, nutmeg. Mix well and serve. This dish is to be served warm as an accompaniment to all types of meat.

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– November 2008 –

Gingered Broccoli

Serves Four

Ingredients:

2 head of broccoli (about 4 cups once cut into crowns)

pinch of baking soda

1 cup pineapple juice

2 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger

1 tbsp. chopped fresh shallot

½ tsp chopped garlic

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

¼ cup sherry

3 tbsp. lemon juice

¼ cup water

salt and pepper to taste



Process all ingredients, except the broccoli and baking soda, in a blender and let them infuse for at least three hours. Cut broccoli into crowns. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add a pinch of baking soda and the broccoli crowns. Allow to cook for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Once well drained place broccoli into a shallow dish, top side down. Pour ginger marinade over the broccoli and let marinate for at least two hours before serving. This dish may be served chilled or warm, as an appetizer or an accompaniment to both seafood or meat.

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– October 2008 –


Shiitake Mushroom Chicken in Corn-Lemongrass Broth

Serves Four

Ingredients:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (6 oz. each)

8 Shiitake mushrooms - medium size – stem removed

Salt

Pepper

Black sesame seeds

1 tsp. Olive oil

1 ½ cup chicken stock

2 stalks Lemongrass (chopped)

½ cup White Wine

1 tbs. Soy sauce

1 ear of fresh corn, shucked, shaved, kernels only

¼ cup chopped Green onions

In a saucepan place the chicken stock, soy sauce and lemon grass. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and keep warm. Place the chicken breast in between a sheet of plastic wrap, then using a meat hammer, pound the chicken until thin and even (the chicken should more than double in surface area). Cut each chicken breast into four even sized pieces (resulting in a total of 8 pieces). Place the shiitake mushrooms bottom side up on a baking sheet. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper. Wrap one piece of chicken over each shiitake mushroom. Brush each chicken/shiitake piece with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and sesame seeds. Place the chicken in a pre-heated oven 425 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Place the corn kernels in a small saute pan and heat over low heat until warm.  Make sure to warm four soup bowls.  Place two of the chicken/shiitake pieces in each bowl. Ladle some of the lemongrass broth in the bowl, along with the warm corn kernels and green onion. Serve immediately.

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– September 2008 –

Grilled Boston Bluefish Fourchette

Serves Four


Ingredients:

4 pieces 6 oz. Boston Bluefish

2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ tbs. honey

1 small onion, chopped

½ tbsp. brandy

2 green bell peppers, diced

½ tbsp. lemon juice (for marinade)

3 medium tomatoes, diced

½ tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary

½ cup red wine

salt and pepper

½ cup tomato juice

1 ½ tbsp. pitted Greek olives chopped

1 ½ tbsp. capers, chopped

2 tbsp. lemon juice (for sauce)

salt and pepper


Blend the mayonnaise, honey, brandy, lemon juice and rosemary in a mixing bowl. Brush this mixture on the bluefish, generously on both sides, and then refrigerate the fish for a minimum of three hours.


Over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for about 30 seconds, add the onion and sauté for an additional three minutes. Add the bell peppers and sauté for an additional two minutes.  Add the tomatoes, red wine and tomato juice and simmer for five minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the olives, capers, lemon juice and season to taste.


Season the marinated bluefish with salt and pepper, and place it on a very hot grill for 2 minutes on each side. Then place grilled bluefish on a greased baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven (10 – 15 minutes at 375 degrees based on how thick the fish is). Cover the bottom of the plate with the sauce and place the bluefish in the center. Garnish the plate with lemon and herb. Serve immediately and enjoy.

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– August 2008 –

Honey-Mustard Sole

Serves Four

Ingredients:

24 oz. fresh skinless, boneless sole (four 6 oz. pieces)

1 tbs. Soy Sauce

1 tbs. Pure Maple Syrup.

1 tbs. Honey

2 tbs. Dijon Mustard

Seasalt and fresh ground black pepper

In a bowl, mix the soy sauce and the maple syrup. Add the sole and marinate for one hour. Remove the sole from the marinade, place sole on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix the honey and mustard. Brush the top of the sole with honey-mustard glaze. Bake in pre-heated oven 450 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes (based on thickness of the sole pieces, and desired doneness of fish; rare, medium, etc.). Serve with Pommery mustard sauce.


Pommery Mustard Sauce



Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Fat-Free Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. Soy Sauce

1 tsp. Horseradish

2 tbs. Pommery Mustard (course ground)

1/3 Cup Fat-Free yogurt

1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. Sherry

Seasalt and fresh ground black pepper


Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


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