Thai Beef with Basil


This dish was inspired by a recipe in Bon Appetit – though I made a lot of changes. This is a great weeknight meal, it comes together in less than 30 minutes.

1 TBSP vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
Red pepper flakes
1 lb ground beef
Salt and pepper
1/2 c chicken stock
3 c basil, divided
10 oz shredded carrot
2 bunches of green onions
6 TBSP lime juice
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 TBSP sesame oil
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
Toasted sesame seeds

Heat 1 TBSP oil in a large skillet over high heat. And garlic and chili flakes, cook about 30 seconds. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, break up up with a wooden spoon and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. Add broth and 2 c basil, cook until wilted.

Whisk together sesame oil, 2 TBSP lime juice, cilantro and 4 TBSP chopped basil. Toss with carrots, green onions and sesame seeds.

Mix soy sauce, 3 TBSP lime juice, fish sauce and sugar in a small bowl.

Serves beef over rice with salad and drizzle with sauce.

Serves 4.


White Beans with Broccoli Rabe and Lemon


After stuffing yourself silly, this is nice light and healthy dish to keep up your energy for Black Friday. I actually made this the day before thanksgiving for a quick and healthy meal.

3 TBSP olive oil
1 small lemon, very thinly sliced
1 TBSP anchovy paste
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped
salt and pepper
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans
1/4 c parsley, chopped
2 TBSP grated Parmesan
Red pepper flakes

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add anchovy and lemon and cook for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe and cook for 5 minutes until crisp tender. Add beans and 1/2 c water and cook for 5 – 8 minutes until heated through and flavors have combined. Stir in parsley, cheese and chili flakes.

Serves 4.

Alton Browns Gravy


Let me state for the record, I do not like gravy, but this recipe has me loving it!! Thank you to the amazing Alton Brown for changing my mind!!

2 oz clarifies butter
1 oz flour
1 oz potato or corn starch
2 tsp thyme leaves
2 tsp sage leaves, minced
1 quart drippings or chicken stock
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Heat butter over medium heat, add herbs and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in starch and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in stock and soy sauce, cook until thickened. Add in balsamic and nutmeg.

Mushroom and Quinoa Salad


This is a great dish if you are cooking for vegetarians or folks who are gluten intolerant. Best of all you can make it ahead of time. This recipe is adapted from Food & Wine Magazine.

1/2 c pine nuts, toasted
Lemon zest
1/4 c lemon juice
1 c plus 2 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 shallots, minced
3 c quinoa
1 quart vegetable broth
3 lb mixed mushrooms, cut into small pieces
3 c parley, minced

In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest and lemon juice. Whisk in 1/2 c of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 TBSP of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, broth and 1 c of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 minutes; transfer to a baking sheet and let cool.

In a large skillet heat 2 TBPS olive oil over medium heat, cook mushrooms in batches until golden.

Toss quinoa, mushrooms, dressing, pine nuts and parsley together in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 16.

Goat Cheese Dip

This is super easy dip that will wow your guests!! Plus it made use of all the jalapeño jelly I made earlier in the year.
It also looks quite pretty, but wouldn’t you know it in the turkey day chaos I forgot to snap a pic.

12 oz log goat cheese, softened
6 TBSP jalapeño jelly
4 Peppadew peppers,
2 TBSP minced cocktail onions
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tsp dry sherry

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spread the goat cheese in a small gratin dish in an even layer.

In a food processor combine the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard and sherry. Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned.

Port Cranberry Sauce


This is a quick and easy cranberry sauce.

1 bag cranberries
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c ruby Port
tangerine zest
1/3 c tangerine juice

Bring cranberries, sugar, Port, and zest to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in juice. Cool completely.

Bourbon-Caramel Pumpkin Tart


This is one of the desserts that is a labor of love and worth every minute of labor! I made this for turkey day and it was amazing. Thanks of fine cooking for the inspiration!

For the pumpkin seeds
Cooking spray
1-1/2 tsp agave syrup
3/4 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c pumpkin seeds

For the crust
6 oz flour, more as needed
6 TBSP fine cornmeal
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz. cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk

For the caramel
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1 oz. butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1 c heavy cream
1/4 c bourbon

For the filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 c brown sugar
2 large egg
2 large egg yolk
1 can (15 oz) canned pure pumpkin purée
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of salt
1 c half-and-half

Candy the pumpkin seeds
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment and lightly coat it with cooking spray.

Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds, stir, and spread in a single layer on the prepared sheet. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Cool on a rack until crisp, about 5 minutes, and then break into small clusters.

Make the crust
Pulse the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.

Combine the egg, egg yolk, and 1 Tbs. ice water in a small bowl. Add the egg mixture to the processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together, adding more water, 1 tsp at a time, as needed, up to 2 TBSP. Dump the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to help gather the dough into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

On a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 13-inch circle.

Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch springform pan, gently pressing it into the bottom and up the sides of the pan without stretching it. Use the rolling pin to cut the dough the goes over the edge of the pan. Prick the crust with a fork in 1 inch intervals. Line with aluminum foil and fill with dried ben of theCover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°. Bake until the edges are firm, about 15 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil and beans. Return the crust to the oven and bake, rotating the pan once and popping any bubbles with a toothpick, just until the bottom is firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on.

Make the caramel
In a 2-quart saucepan, cook the brown sugar, butter, and salt over medium heat, stirring until the sugar melts and begins to darken around the edges, about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the cream (some sugar will seize) and simmer, whisking occasionally, until smooth and thick enough that the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible, 7 to 9 minutes.

Whisk in the bourbon and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the whisk leaves the bottom of the pan visible again, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof measuring cup. Pour 1/3 c of the caramel over the bottom of the cooled crust and spread it evenly with a small offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set the caramel. (Leave the remaining caramel at room temperature.)

Make the filling and bake
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1-1/2 minutes. Add the egg and then the egg yolk, beating until well combined. Add the pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and salt and mix until thoroughly combined. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the half-and-half.

Slowly pour the filling into the crust. Bake until the filling has puffed slightly and its surface no longer appears wet, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack until the filling is completely cooled and firm, about 1 hour.

If the remaining caramel is no longer pourable, warm it in a microwave in 20-second bursts, whisking between bursts, until pourable, about 80 seconds total. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the pie and spread it evenly. Arrange the pumpkin seeds around the edge of the tart, cover the pan with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

To serve, run a thin knife around the edge of the tart and remove the side of the pan. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.

Serves 10 – 12.


Pasta with baby artichokes and Proscuitto


Trader Joe’s has the most gorgeous pasta In for the holidays – of course I bought some! So I made tonight’s dish with this lovely pasta – ugh. If I were to use it again I would: cook the non colored pasta for 2 minutes, add a little olive oil and then add the colored and cook for 6 more minutes. Live and learn! Regardless this is an amazing dish and should be shared even if the pics aren’t the prettiest. This is the perfect weeknight meal, the sauce comes together while the water comes to boil.

8 oz pasta
4 oz Proscuitto
1 c parley
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 shallot minced
2 TBSP olive oil

Cook pasta according to package.

Chop Proscuitto and parsley in a food processor.

In a 12 inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add shallots and artichokes, cook for 5 minutes. Add pasta and Proscuitto mixture plus 1/4 c pasta water, combine.

Serves 4.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake


This cake is amazing – and it’s almost vegan, I think there is milk in Nutella. Did I mention you only need one bowl? Love this cake!!

1 1/4 c oat flour
1 c coconut palm sugar or sugar
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c hazelnut liquor (or use water)
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBSP canola or melted coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider
1/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Preheat over to 350. Spray a 9 inch round pan.

Combine ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes until toothpick comes our clean. Cool completely and then turn out.

Hazelnut Glaze:
1/2c coconut palm sugar or sugar
2 TBSP canola oil
2 TBSP Nutella
2 TBSP cocoa powder
2 TBSP coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla

Combine in a bowl until smooth.

Spread over cooked cake. Top with chopped hazelnuts.

Serves 8 – 12.

Steamed mussels with lemon, capers and jalapeño


This recipe is from Patricia Wells The French Kitchen Cookbook. I love then flavor of the vinaigrette with the mussels. I streamed them in a pot of 50% water and 50% wine for a nice broth.

2 lbs fresh mussels
1/4 c olive oil
Juice and zest from one lemon
1/4 c capers, drained
2 shallots, minced
2 TBSP pickled jalapeño, minced
4 scallions, sliced thin
6 TBSP cilantro, minced

Scrub and beard mussels, toss any that stay open.

In a steaming pot heat water and wine – you will need enough to come up just below your steaming pot.

Combine oil, lemon juice and zest, capers, shallots, jalapeño and pepper in a small bowl. Combine cilantro and green onions in a separate bowl.

When water comes to a boil, add mussels, cover and cook 2 -3 minutes until they begin to open. Toss mussels with herbs and vinaigrette with the middle liquid.

Serve with bread.

Serves 4.