Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

The softer, orange-fleshed variety of sweet po...

This is actually a YAM and not a Sweet Potato

I said I wasn’t going to post another recipe today because I am supposed to be preparing my own culinary contributions to the Thanksgiving Day dinner and so I’m not.  However, I just noticed in the New York Times that Mark Bittman wrote an article extolling the virtues of sweet potatoes.  In my 9 days till Thanksgiving recipe posting, I included two recipes for sweet potatoes.  His article is listed below.  Sweet potatoes-Thanksgiving and beyond!


Read Full Post »

Short Pasta

The Many Moods of Macaroni

I consider myself a good cook, however, tonight I proved that corollary wrong!  I improvised a recipe and even as I was doing it, I knew it wasn’t going to be good.  And it was a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish.  I had it in mind to make a pasta dish tonight that I had seen in Martha Stewart‘s everyday Food.  

The dish is Orrechiette with broccoli rabe, oregano and lemon.  It’s simple, easy and quick to make and I thought it was the perfect dish to make tonight as I was out all day and didn’t want to prepare something that needed a lot of prep or ingredients.

Here’s the recipe:

3/4 # of orrechiette

1 bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1#) trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 garlic cloves thinly sliced

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 TBS fresh oregano leaves for serving

2-3 TBS fresh lemon juice for serving

Cook pasta according to directions , adding broccoli rabe 4 minutes before pasta is done.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, heat oil, garlic and red pepper flakes over medium heat till garlic begins to sizzle.

Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot.  Add oil mixture and toss to coat; season with coarse salt and pepper.  To serve, sprinkle oregano over pasta and drizzle with lemon juice.

It was really tasty and certainly easy to prepare.  Here’s where I made my mistake and I did know better;  When a recipe calls for a certain type and shape of macaroni (pasta to you all), there’s a reason.  This is a weekly debate in our house as my husband (who is not Italian) only likes linguine.  Seriously he likes linguine with any and all kinds of sauces.  Different shapes have different densities and are able to hold the sauce better than others.  Some penne have lines like penne rigate as opposed to ziti and the sauce will cling to one and not the other.

This recipe called for orrechiette (little ears) and they are small, slightly dense and concave.  I love Wegman’s Food store, you all know that already, but lately I have a gripe with them;  Over that last six months, Wegman’s has been eliminating the shelf space allotted to Barilla (my absolute favorite)  and DeCecco brand of pasta and filling the shelves with their own brand.  So when I looked for Barilla’s orrechiette there wasn’t any.  In fact, even in the Wegman’s pasta, super pasta and whole wheat pasta sections, there weren’t any orrechiette.  BUT, in their Wegman’s Classic Italian line which comes in all kinds of exotic shapes and is packaged in a clear cellophane bag, they did have orrechiette BUT that pasta line is priced in the $3.00+ category and I just couldn’t justify spending that much on the pasta itself.  MISTAKE! Well not really, I should have gone elsewhere.  Instead, I cruised the aisle back and forth and back and forth trying to discern what other shape might be substitutable for the little ears.  There really wasn’t anything and I settled on some very small penne regate that Barilla calls Piccolini Penne and it cooks in 7 minutes.  The end result was that the penne cooked very quickly and even though I tried to cook it according to the package directions (something I NEVER do) and add the rabe at the right moment, the penne were a little soft.  We like our pasta al dente, the orrechiette would have been perfect.  So I saved some money and made a dish that was tasty but could have been fantastic. 

Read Full Post »


Image via Wikipedia

Now there’s a crazy phrase! Let’s see how do you bake a tornado, or souffle a hurricane? Well look for this one sometime in the future in another blog.  Today is really about cooking;  what’s in the crock pot right now is Slow-Cooked Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey and it smells so good, the whole house is filled with the aroma.  I started on Saturday morning cooking;  Into the crock pot went the makings of Slow-Cooked Beef Minestrone see previous blog for recipe:

https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/slow-cooked-beef-minestrone/. And while that was simmering all day, I decided to make some Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup also published in a previous blog: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/roasted-chicken-and-butternut-squash-soup. It wasn’t really that cold this weekend so I’m not sure where the urge to soup-things-up came from but nonetheless, I love soups and am glad I now have a few containers of Minestrone in the freezer.

Last night’s dinner was the Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash soup and when asked by you know who,“what’s for dinner”? and I told him, I got a less than enthusiastic reply.  I was informed that soup didn’t sound like much of a meal.  First of all I had to remind him that he has had it before and has remarked that “its a meal all by itself” because this soup is chunky, thick and full of chicken too.  So I thought about it and had recently seen a pasta recipe that I considered light- so why not make that as well.  Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce was delightful, I loved it and I never really told you know who that it had cream in it.

Linguine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1# Linguine

1 tsp. Olive Oil

2 Shallots, minced

1 cup of Heavy Cream

1 TBSP Lemon Zest (1 lemon)

2 TBSP Lemon juice

Cook pasta and reserve 2 cups of  pasta water.  Drain and return to pot.  Cook shallots in oil in small pot over MEDIUM heat till tender (4 min).  Add cream and lemon zest and bring to boil and cook until slightly thickened ( I stirred almost constantly) about 8 minutes.  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper.  I added some pasta water at that point, judging the consistency as I like it.  I also sprinkled some grated cheese over the top also.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

Read Full Post »


Image via Wikipedia

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

Now that I have OD’d on Reese’s peanut butter cups, malted milk balls and eaten more than my share of snack-size Snickers, I figure it’s time to start planning the Thanksgiving Day meal.   I came from a family who served the same side dishes year after year (TRA-DISH- UN)!  During the years my kids were growing up and Thanksgiving was a meal shared with the extended family, TRA-DISH-UN again ruled and certain sides were absolutely mandatory.  Now you may be thinking I’m talking about Candied Sweet Potatoes or Giblet gravy or well you know…but what I mean is stuffed artichokes, stuffed mushrooms and a certain bread stuffing. That was how the first 40 Thanksgivings went down.  I’m not criticizing those meals because I loved some of the family traditions we had;  Like sitting at the table from 1pm till 9pm.  After the main course, we would put a big bowl of grapes, apples and tangerines on the table and a bowl of mixed nuts (in the shells of course).  Then the coffee was brewed and the pies came out.  And once those dishes were cleared off the table, we played games.  It could be anything from Monopoly, Family Feud or Trivial Pursuit ( you can see the chronological progression in the choice of games).

Fast forward and for the last 20 years or so, I have let my autonomy and creativity take hold.  It’ has resulted in a file folder chock full of assorted recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner.  Stuffing has evolved through sausage, chestnut, cornbread and herb.  Depending on who’s at the table, the sides might include an old favorite such as string bean casserole known in my house as White  Trash Casserole (my kids term, not mine) or even (yuk) canned cranberry sauce.

All of this distertation is not really digression but rather a lead in to my idea of posting several dishes from Thanksgivings past and present over the next couple of weeks.  Maybe it’s a warning to those of you who don’t cook or who don’t like to vicariously cook through reading recipes.  So you have been forewarned and let the recipes begin!!!!


2 lbs. parsnips, peeled and cut into large match sticks

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Grated zest of one orange

Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Place parsnips in a large bowl; drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.  Turn parsnips into large roasting pan and roast, shaking pan occasionally, until golden, 10 -15 minutes.

Remove from oven, add juices and zest, and toss to coat.  Return to oven and roast until parsnips have caramelized, 5 – 10 minutes.  Transfer to warm bowl and serve.

Serves: 6-8     Time: 15-20 minutes

Read Full Post »

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

I admit I didn’t plan my trip to Boston very well, otherwise I would have remembered to bring a recipe with me to share with you all on Tasty Tidbits Tuesday. BUT lucky for me Chiara’s friend Jocelyn came for dinner and brought her friend, Cody.  Turns out Cody was the big hit of the evening. First off, Finley invited her to build blocks with her AND jump on her bubble wrap -an honor in itself.  Then during dinner, I found out that Cody blogged and also followed Where’s George!  I know you must be wondering what Where’s George is all about; it will have to be another blog.  Then Pasha, Chiara’s Siamese cat jumped on her lap and stayed there the whole evening and he is NOT friendly.  Lastly and best of all, I discovered that Cody blogged and her niche is  COOKING! Didn’t that just turn out perfect for me?  I’m happy to present you with a link to her blog:

The Gourmet Analyst

I think you will find her post on Butternut Squash and Apple Soup to be just the meal for this Halloween weekend.  I know when my kids were little I always tried to get something hot, quick and healthy into them BEFORE they went out trick or treating!  Enjoy the soup and check out some of her other recipes too.


Cody's Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Read Full Post »

Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich

Image via Wikipedia

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

I just went for my annual check up and had what I already knew to be resoundingly confirmed: my cholesterol level is high.  Actually much higher than it should be.  It has been for over a year and every six months I tell my internist that I’m going to change my diet and bring it down.  So last year I brought it down but not low enough. Now it’s even higher soooooo….. it looks like medication is the only route left to take.  Therefore, I thought I would post a couple of great recipes for salmon and cod.  And maybe I will BUT not today after all. It’s Fall and time to start thinking about warm, cozy food and as I was leafing through Martha Stewart‘s LIVING (October) I came across this yummlicious recipe for a grilled cheese sandwich – grown-up style!

Think of this iconic sandwich as a blank canvas for those leftovers in your refrigerator; a heel of cheese, arugula, a piece of two of prosciutto and a final spoonful of jam or harissa (THIS does NOT sound like my fridge!)

Cheddar, Gruyère, and Fontina are all fine melting cheeses that offer an adult layer of complexity, nuttiness, and sharpness.  Swap in sourdough, or rye bread and the sandwich gets even more interesting – yet stays quite simple.  Martha suggests 9 variations:

  1. Gruyère, Apple, and Sage on Rye
  2. Gruyère, Red Onion, Prosciutto, and Pepper on Rye
  3. Fontina, Harissa, and Pear on Rye
  4. Cheddar, Dijon Mustard, Bacon, Tomatoes, Avocado and Pepper on Sourdough
  5. Cheddar, Jalapeno, and Cilantro onWhite
  6. Gruyère, Oil-Packed Sardines, Peppedew Peppers and Arugula on Rye.
  7. Cheddar, Cherry Preserves, and Basil on White
  8. Fontina, Oil-Packed Tuna, and Relish on White
  9. Cheddar, Bacon, and Pickles on Sourdough

Butter (room temperature) the inside and outside of both slices of bread, making sure to cover the surfaces.  Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron pan over MEDIUM heat.  Add the assembled sandwich.  Once the cheese starts to melt and the bread on the bottom is golden brown, flip the sandwich.(Avoid pressing with spatula, the goal is a fluffy sandwich, not a panino.)  Grill until cheese has fully melted and the other side is golden brown.

Mustard spread on the inside complements most cheeses.  Fruit preserves make a sweet and sometimes tart foil to savory cheeses.

Read Full Post »


I had such a good time cooking on Sunday; while my Pasta Fagiole was simmering away in my crock pot, I made another soup in a stock pot.  If you are a working woman, you know why I’m cooking on Sunday to serve during the week and to freeze for that oh my God, I have nothing to make for dinner night.   This very soup is for tonight – I just have to heat it up when we get home from the movies.  I just can’t start cooking at 8:30pm, because if I do, I’ll be up till 1am on the computer.

Roasted Chicken anButternut Squash Soup

4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded, diced medium

1 small yellow onion diced medium

2 tbsp olive oil

coarse salt and ground pepper

ground cumin and ground coriander


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, toss together the chicken, butternut squash, the onion and the oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper.  Arrange in a single layer and roast till squash and chicken are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Transfer squash and onions to a medium pot and add 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth or water and 1/4 tsp each ground cumin and ground coriander.  Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  With potato masher or back of wooden spoon, mash some vegetables till mixture is thick and  chunky.  Discard the skin and bones from chicken; cut meat into small pieces and add to soup.  Stir in 1-2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice, season to taste. Serve topped with fresh cilantro if desired.

recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

Although this soup is full of fiber, Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, my husband doesn’t think he has had a meal unless there is a green vegetable!  On Saturday night I prepared some pan-steamed broccoletti using a method and recipe that Gus, my favorite Wegman’s chef had made and we sampled that day.  So tonight with a bag of baby spinach in the fridge, I’m going to prepare the spinach the same way.  It’s so simple and the most  aspect to this is: I hate anchovies!, so needless to say when Gus said you put an anchovy in the oil, I started to make faces and squeamish sounds.  He assured me I would not taste the anchovy and gave me a sample – He was right, of course.  Here’s the method which is good way to prepare your vegetables. 

Pan-Steamed Vegetable Technique

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 tsp chopped garlic,

1 or 2 anchovy fillets (or 1 1/2 tsp capers or 1 1/2 tsp olive tapenade)

1 1/2 lbs. vegetable

1/2 cup water

salt and cracked pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil, garlic and anchovy on MEDIUM-LOW.  Cook stirring 2-3 minutes till anchovy dissolves.  Raise heat to HIGH. Add water, vegetables and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer; cover.  Cook stirring occasionally 8-12 minutes or until water is evaporated.  Season to taste, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice, grated cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.

What I learned: Gus suggested if you are using anchovy fillets, you should probably skip the salt (I did).  I also used 4 fillets (I still can’t believe it although I made my husband take them out of the jar) and still no anchovy taste however, I used two bunches of the broccoletti.  The vegetables suggested by Wegman’s are thick and fibrous; cauliflower, broccoletti, romanesco, broccoli, green beans – they’re not leafy like my spinach so I’m not going to use that amount of water, I think the spinach would drown.

 Recipe from Wegman’s MENU magazine




Read Full Post »

a slow cooker Oval Crock Pot

Image via Wikipedia

It’s Tasty Tidbits Tuesday and the crock pot is OUT – Summer must be over!

I have to say this is REALLY a delicious meal and economical as well.  I believe you can make this for less than $3.00 per serving.

1 pkg (about 1  1/2 lbs) chuck roast,  cut into 1″ cubes

Flour to dust beef cubes

2 TBSP Olive Oil

1 pkg of soup vegetables (16 oz) cut up

Salt and Pepper

1 carton (can) of beef stock (32 oz)

1 can (14.5 oz) of Italian style diced tomatoes

1 pkg or jar (24 oz) of seasoned tomato sauce

1/2 cup of Ditalini pasta

1 can (15.5 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1 pkg (6oz) baby spinach

Dust beef with flour. Heat oil on Medium-High in large skillet or braising pan till oil fairly smokes.  Add beef and brown till all sides are paper bag brown.

Transfer beef to slow cooker, don’t discard pan drippings; Season with salt and pepper.  Cook stirring, 3 minutes. Add to slow cooker.

Add stock, tomatoes and sauce to slow cooker.  Cover, cook 4 1/2 – 6 hours on HIGH.

or 8-10 hours on LOW.

Add pasta and beans 30 minutes before end of cooking on HIGH, or 45 minutes if you are cooking on LOW.

Add spinach to slow cooker; Stir to blend well.  Allow spinach to lightly wilt about 2 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Wegman’s MENU magazine

Read Full Post »

Tasty Tidbits Tuesday

So the lazy hazy crazy days of summer are over and some people actually expect you to go back to the office.  What a bummer especially when one of the chief joys of summer at the shore was eating tons of fresh fruit; juicy peaches that DID run down your arm, musky cantaloupe so sweet in your mouth, and of course Jersey  Tomatoes!  Well there are still fresh tomatoes to be had and I say enjoy them while you can because in two months they’ll be serving tinted styrofoam balls.  This is a great dish to make and divide into two containers and take it to work!!!

canned chickpeas,

I use Progresso

3 oz. baby arugula (about 4 cups)

2 scallions,thinly sliced

1 can (15oz) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted if desired

2 TBS red wine vinegar

2 TBS olive oil

coarse salt and pepper

Divide evenly between two airtight containers. Layer arugula, scallions,chickpeas, tomatoes and walnuts and refrigerate up to overnight.

In two more airtight containers, divide vinegar and oil for vinaigrette: season with salt and pepper. Cover and store at room temperature. To serve shake vinaigrette in containers and to combine and pour over salads and toss.  Serves 2

recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Every Day Food

Read Full Post »


If you are wondering will I ever get off the tomato “thing– take heart….the minute the season’s last  tomato has been picked, I will be eliminating any recipes that call for tomatoes unless they are cherry or grape tomatoes or canned!!!!  I know for some of you it’s hard to believe that ME of all people would actually stop eating tomatoes, stop cooking with fresh tomatoes BUT YES!  The ONLY REAL TOMATO is the one grown in local garden, bought at a GreenMarket in the summer or vegetable stand like the ones I frequent in New Jersey – ooohhhh I just love me some Jersey tomatoes!  We are close to the end of the season – this pasta dish makes use of that basil plant you’ve been keeping alive all summer and plucking its flower tops so it wouldn’t go to seed.

Tomato and Basil Pasta

Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (I would use more peppper) in a large bowl. Toss in 1 lb. of cooked and drained short pasta.  Tear4 medium fresh tomatoes and 1 pound of burrata or mozzarella cheese and scatter over the pasta. Garnish with small basil leaves and sprinkle with pepper and crushed red pepper (optional).

It’s quick, it’s light and it’s  a SUMMER SUPPER

Martha Stewart living, basil, burrata cheese, mozzarella cheese, Jersey tomatoes
Can’t you just smell the basil?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »