Week Nights

Spinach & Strawberry Salad

May 22, 2013

Spinach & Strawberry SaladSpinach & Strawberry Salad

Don’t be afraid to mix fruit and greens.  This salad is absolutely refreshing and will go nicely with all of those wonderful things you’ll be cooking over the weekend.  This salad is also good to take along on a picnic because the spinach holds up rather well.


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1/4 Raspberry Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Honey

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

8 Cups Loosely Packed Flat-Leafed Spinach (About 2 Large Bunches)

2 Pints Rinsed, Hulled & Sliced Strawberries

1/3 Cup Thinly Slices Scallions (White & Green Parts)

1/2 Cup Walnuts (Optional)

Wash and dry the spinach.  You want to make sure that there is no grit left in the spinach.  In a medium size bowl whisk the vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.  In a large size serving bowl gently toss the spinach, strawberries, scallions and dressing.  Serve immediately.  Serves 6

Make-It-Yours Burgers

May 21, 2013

HamburgerMake-It-Yours Burgers

Create all kinds of burgers, from the straightforward to the exotic and grill until your heart’s content.  If you don’t have a grill I’ve included oven instructions below.

Basic Ingredients (Serves 4)


Liquid (Optional)


1/3 to 1/2 Cup Stuffing (Optional)


Spread And/Or Toppers (Optional)


Meat (Choose One or Combine)

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Beef

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Pork

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Lamb

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Veal

1 Pound Ground Beef Plus 8 Ounces Ground Italian Sausage

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Salmon

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Turkey (Use a Liquid; Brush Turkey Burgers

Lightly With Vegetable Oil Before Grilling; Cook Turkey Burgers to 165º F)

1 1/2 Pounds Ground Chicken (Cook Same As Turkey)


Liquid (Choose One or Combine)

2 Tablespoons Apricot Preserves (Chop Large Pieces)

2 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

2 Tablespoons Chutney (Chop Large Pieces)

1 Lightly Beaten Egg

1 Lightly Beaten Egg White

2 Tablespoons Milk

2 Tablespoons Steak Sauce


Seasoning (Choose One or Combine)

1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder

2 Cloves Minced Garlic

2 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Onion

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Teaspoon Steak Seasoning

2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce


Stuffing (Choose One or Combine)

Cooked Crisp Crumbled Bacon

Crumbled Feta Cheese

Crumbled Blue Cheese

Shredded Provolone

Shredded Mozzarella

Shredded Smoked Cheddar

Shredded Cheddar

Shredded Monterey Jack

Cooked Sliced Fresh Mushrooms

Chopped Roasted Red Sweet Peppers


Bread (Choose One)

4 Split Kaiser Rolls

4 Split Onion Rolls

4 White Hamburger Buns

4 Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

2 White or Whole Wheat Pita Bread Rounds – Halved

4 Split Brioche Buns

4 Split Port Muffins

4 Split English Muffins


Spread (Choose One or Combine)



Yellow Mustard

Dijon Mustard

Basil Pesto

Barbecue Sauce

The Possibilities Are Endless!



Cheese Slices

Tomato Slices

Onion Slices

Caramelized Onions

Pickle Slices

Cooked Bacon

Roasted Peppers

Fresh Basil Leaves

Spinach Leaves

Lettuce Leaves


The Possibilities Are Endless!


Combine meat, liquid and seasoning in a large size bowl.  Mix well.  Shape the meat mixture into four 3/4 inch patties.  To stuff them, divide the mixture into eight portions and shape them into 1/4 inch thick patties.  Place the stuffing on the centers of the four patties.  Top with the remaining patties.  Pinch the edges to seal.

For a charcoal grill, grill the stuffed or unstuffed patties on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until done (160º F to 165º F).  Turn only once halfway through grilling.  If you’re using a gas grill then preheat your grill.  Reduce the heat to medium and place the patties on the grill rack over the heat.  Cover and grill as directed.

Serve the burgers on bread with spread and toppers.  Makes 4 burgers.

If you don’t have a grill or would rather use your oven then broil your burgers.  Preheat your broiler and place the patties on the unheated rack of a broiler pan.  Broil for 3 to 4 inches from the heat for 12 to 14 minutes or until done (160º F to 165ºF).  Turn only once.

Skillet Roasted Salmon

May 17, 2013

Skillet Roasted SalmonSkillet Roasted Salmon

This salmon dish is so simple and so delicious.  Try and purchase your salmon from the thickest part of the belly as it works best with well-marbled salmon.


1 Pound Asparagus

2 Pounds Salmon Fillets

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salad Greens For Garnish

Lemon Wedges For Garnish

Preheat your oven to 500º F.  Rinse the salmon and pat dry with paper towels.  Salt the salmon with the kosher salt.  Place a large oven-proof skillet over a high heat.  Add the olive oil and place the salmon into the skillet.  Cook for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove the skillet from the heat and put into the oven.  Cook 5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare.  7 to 9 minutes for medium.  Make sure not to flip the salmon while in the oven.  In the meantime snap the asparagus, wash and then steam (make sure not to overcook the asparagus).  Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the salmon onto a serving platter on top of the steamed asparagus spears. Garnish with salad greens and lemon wedges.  Serves 4

Stuffed Eggplant

May 17, 2013

EggplantsStuffed Eggplant

Also called aubergine eggplant is a member of the nightshade family and a native of SE Asia.  Eggplants are very versatile and vary in color from a yellowish-white to deep purple.  Stuffed Eggplant is fairly easy to cook and a great alternative to a meat course.


2 Eggplants (Approx 3/4 Pound Each)

2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

8 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Chopped Onion

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

1 Tablespoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Eggs

Chopped Parsley To Garnish

Preheat your oven to 350º F.  Wipe the eggplants and then trim off the stems.  Cut them in half lengthwise and then score the cut surface well.  Sprinkle with the kosher salt and leave sit for 20 minutes.  This draws out the bitterness.  Pat the eggplants dry using a paper towel or a dishtowel.  In a large sauté pan add the vegetable oil and heat over a medium high heat.  Add the eggplant halves and gently cook for 2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place onto a large plate.  Set aside.  Add the onion to the sauté pan and cook for 6 minutes until golden brown.  While the onions are cooking scrape out the eggplant flesh.  Leave a good edge on the skin.  Chop the flesh roughly and stir into the pan with the tomato paste and pepper.  Simmer with the onions for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Place the eggplants into a shallow parchment paper lined ovenproof dish.  Break the eggs individually into a cup and pour carefully into the eggplant shells.  Spoon in the cooked mixture along each end of the eggplants.  Place into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.  Serves 2 to 4

Beer Marinated Chicken Cutlets

May 16, 2013

Chicken CutletsBeer Marinated Chicken Cutlets

I’m a big fan of marinating meats.  I marinate a lot of my meats in beer.  All you need is a bottle of your favorite beer and a little planning ahead.


1 Bottle of Beer

8 Ounces Italian Bread Crumbs

8 Pieces of Skinless Chicken  (About 2 Pounds)

2 Beaten Eggs

1 Cup Flour

6 Ounces Olive Oil

6 Tablespoons Grated Romano Cheese

Garnish With Chopped Parsley

Marinate the chicken overnight in a ziplock bag filled with your favorite beer. Remove the chicken from the beer when you are ready to cook. You will need 3 separate bowls.  One for the bread crumbs; one for the beaten eggs; one for the flour.  Dredge the chicken in the flour first.  Next in the beaten eggs and then thoroughly coat with the bread crumbs.  Place the olive oil in a large size fry pan.  Fry the chicken for 5 to 7 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain the excess oil.  Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the Romano cheese and garnish with  chopped parsley. Serves 4

Sopa Avocado

May 5, 2013

Avocado SoupSopa Avocado

This is beautiful green soup that is terrific served hot or cold.  Make sure that you have good quality avocados for this soup.  Garnish with sour cream, diced tomatoes and green onions.


2 Large Avocados

6 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Diced Tomato

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

2 Diced Green Onions

Cut the avocados into halves and remove the pits.  Scoop out the flesh into a small size bowl.  In a medium size sauce pan add 4 cups of the chicken broth and turn the heat to medium low.  Pour the remaining 2 cups chicken broth into either a blender or food processor.   Add the avocado flesh, kosher salt, pepper and pulse to a smooth puree.  Pour the avocado mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine with the heated chicken broth.  Cook for 10 minutes on medium low.  Do not let this soup boil.  Remove from the heat and pour into individual bowls.  Garnish with diced tomatoes, diced green onions and sour cream.  Serves 4

Blackened Swordfish

May 2, 2013

Blackened SwordfishBlackened Swordfish

Swordfish is one of my favorite types of fish to eat. I typically eat swordfish once or twice a month.  Sometimes I like to change it up and eat it blackened.  It’s easy to prepare this way and absolutely delicious.


1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

2 Teaspoons Paprika

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1 Teaspoon Mustard Powder

1 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder

2 Teaspoons Dried Thyme

2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

4 Swordfish Steaks (About 1 1/2 Pounds)

6 Tablespoons Melted Butter

In A small size bowl, combine all of the spices, herbs and seasonings.  Brush both sides of the steaks with some of the melted butter.  Coat both sides of the steaks with the seasoning mixture, rubbing it in well.  Heat a large heavy skillet for 5 minutes until a drop of water sprinkled on the surface sizzles. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of the remaining butter over the steaks.  Add the steaks to the skillet, butter side down and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the underside is blackened.  Drizzle the remaining melted butter over the steaks and then turn the steaks over.  Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more until the second side is blackened and the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Remove from the heat and transfer the swordfish steaks to warmed plates or a serving platter.  May be served over caramelized onions and topped with salad garnish.  Serves 4

Curry Sauce

April 29, 2013

CurryCurry Sauce

Curry Sauce is extremely versatile and can be served with lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables.  The cooking time varies with the ingredients used.  Uncooked fish needs about 15 to 20 minutes; uncooked meat or chicken needs about 1 to 2 hours; vegetables need about 30 minutes to 1 hour.  All curry sauces should be thoroughly cooked, to develop the flavor and blend the ingredients.


2 Medium Onions

2 Tablespoons Butter

1 Tablespoon Curry Powder

1 Teaspoon Curry Paste

1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

1 Clove Crushed Garlic

1 Cup Vegetable Broth or Coconut Milk

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

2 Tablespoons Chutney

1 Tablespoon Half & Half

Slice the onions and chop them finely.  Melt the butter in a large sauté pan, over a medium high heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until golden brown.  Add the curry powder, curry paste and flour.  Cook for 6 minutes.  Add the garlic, the broth or coconut milk and bring to a boil over a high heat.  Add the seasonings and chutney.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cover with a lid.  Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the half & half immediately before using.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Steamed Baby Artichokes In Feta Vinaigrette

April 25, 2013

ArtichokesSteamed Baby Artichokes In Feta Vinaigrette

Baby artichokes are not really babies at all, but rather fully mature dwarf buds.  They are plentiful from March through May.  They are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and fully edible.  The fresh tang of the feta in the herb vinaigrette gives these artichokes a bright springtime character.


1/2 Cup Dry White Wine

3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Minced Shallot

6 Baby Artichokes (About The Size Of A Large Plum)

1/4 Cup Feta Vinaigrette

In a medium size saucepan combine the white wine, lemon juice and shallot.  Snap off and throw away 3 or 4 outer leaves from each artichoke until the remaining leaves are pale green and tightly closed.  Using a small paring knife, trim the base of the artichoke and peel the stem.  Remove only a thin layer of tough outer skin and any discoloration.  Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and trim 1/2 inch off their tops.  As you prepare them place the artichokes, cut side down, in the saucepan.  Bring the wine liquid to a simmer over a medium high heat.  Cover and steam the artichokes for 10 to 12 minutes until the flesh around the stem of each artichoke is easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.  Drain the artichokes, arrange them cut side up on a serving platter and spoon a generous teaspoon of the vinaigrette over each artichoke half.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4

Prime Rib

April 23, 2013

Prime RibPrime Rib

Prime Rib Roast or Standing Rip Roast is a cut of beef from the rib section.  The entire rib section comprises ribs six through twelve of the cow, but can comprise anywhere from two to seven ribs.  A slice of Prime Rib will include portions of the “eye” of the rib as well as the outer, fat marbled muscle known as the “lip” or “cap.”  The traditional preparation for this roast is to rub the outside with salt and seasonings and slow roast it with dry heat.  In the U.S., it is common for barbeque purists to apply smoke to the uncooked rib roast at a low heat for 2 to 3 hours before dry roasting.  In England, Yorkshire Pudding is often served as a side dish with Prime Rib.


3 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

1 1/2 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 Cloves Roasted Garlic

4 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Thyme Leaves

1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Rosemary

1 Prime Rib Roast of Beef (4 to 6 Ribs)

2 1/2 Cups Red Wine

2 1/2 Cups Beef Stock

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place the garlic cloves in a small bowl and mash with the back of a fork until mostly smooth. Add softened butter, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, the rosemary and thyme, and stir to blend. Pat the mixture evenly over the top and sides of the roast. Season the roast all over with the remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place the roast in a roasting pan and add 1 1/2 cups red wine and 1/2 cup beef stock to the bottom of the pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350° F and continue to roast to the desired degree of doneness. Roast 18 minutes per pound for rare and 22 minutes per pound for medium. Let stand at least 10 minutes before carving.

To make the au jus, place the roasting pan on the stove burners over medium-high heat. Add 1 cup of the red wine and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add 2 cups beef stock and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 5 minutes until the wine is reduced by half. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the solids before serving. Degrease if necessary. Servings 4 to 8 depending on how hungry you are!


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