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Paris & Southern France, Here I Come!!

April 17, 2014

So, I am off to do my favorite thing- travel to another country! We are going to be in Paris, Nice and Marseilles! I have never been to Southern France and am very excited to eat lots of seafood and drink lots of delicious wine. We will be in Paris for three days- it is nice to go back there and just eat the yummiest things including crusty bread, cheese and of course snails!! We will then fly down to Nice for three nights and go over to Marseilles for another three nights. I am really excited about Marseilles as it is the new, up and coming destination in Souther France. I remember reading lots of articles about it last year and how the cuisine is supposed to a delightful mix of French and Tunisian… It is not as popular with the tourists as the rest of Provence.. so I am really looking forward to it. Bouillabaisse is a specialty there.. yum!

Of course Nice will be fantastic- I do hope to hop over to Italy since we will be right there but I am not sure if we will have time. Italy has my heart and I would go there three times a year if I could… but I think Southern France will be a lot of fun. Stay tuned next week to hear about how much I can eat and drink my way through Paris and Southern France!!!!

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Black Rice and Bean Cakes

Leftover Black Rice and Beans Cakes

April 16, 2014

I love repurposing leftovers into something completely different. These cakes were delicious and made a great lunch with a salad….

  • 1 cup leftover black rice and beans
  • ½ cup leftover steak, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Left over blood orange and tomato sauce

Add the rice, steak, egg, green onions, panko crumbs, cilantro and salt to a medium bowl. Mix well and form into 4 to 5 cakes. Heat a frying pan with the olive oil. Place the cakes into the pan and cook on a medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Serve with the sauce.

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Black Rice with Beans and Spinach

Black Rice with Beans and Rice

April 15, 2014

I made this dish with the steak I posted yesterday. I have been cooking a lot of black rice- it is super healthy and yummy. It also looks great- it has a lovely purple color- your kids may think its cool. I added spinach and beans to it- actually it can be a meal in its self… I added extra flavor with the chorizo- but you can eliminate it and make it vegetarian…

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup cured chorizo (leave out if want vegetarian)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup black rice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 10 ounces bag of baby spinach
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a saucepan with olive oil. Add the chorizo and sauté on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. Add the tomato sauce and beans. Saute for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice, salt and smoked paprika. Saute for a minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered for about 20 minutes or till cooked. Add the spinach and cilantro. Mix well and serve.

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Spiced Rub Steak

Spiced Rub Steak with Blood Orange Sauce

April 14, 2014

Nothing like a delicious steak- especially if it is smothered in some delicious spices and complemented with my favorite, blood orange infused sauce!!! It is absolutely delicious! I also made my new favorite starch- black rice and of course, I can’t have steak without some yummy roasted potatoes!!

  • 2 to 3 large strip steaks (I made 2 steaks for 3 people)
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mix the spices in a small bowl. Drizzle the steaks with olive oil and rub the spice rub on both sides and marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Blood Orange Sauce

  • 1 cup blood orange juice
  • 1 cup tomato sauce, preferably homemade
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Heat a cast iron pan with the olive oil. Sear the steaks on both sides on high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes each. Take out of the pan and rest. Add the blood orange juice and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes till the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomato sauce, smoked paprika and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. Check for seasonings and garnish with cilantro. Transfer the sauce in a bowl and clean the pan with a paper towel and reheat the pan. Slice the steak into 1 inch slices and return to the pan. Top the steak with butter coating evenly. Cook till the desired doneness.

Serve with the blood orange sauce.


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Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

April 13, 2014

This is a great way to get some veggies into your kids. They may not notice all the greens while they enjoy the yummy noodles, cheese and sauce. Eliminate the pancetta if you want to keep it vegetarian. If not then it is great way to infuse some great flavor without adding a lot of meat.

  • 9 to 12 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup pancetta, chopped (eliminate if making vegetarian)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 10 ounces Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 10 ounces Shiitaki mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups mixed greens (I used a combination of kale, green cabbage, red cabbage & Brussels sprouts), shredded
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups fresh tomato sauce, preferable homemade

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the lasagna noodles until they are soft and pliable, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pasta and lay flat on a sheet tray to cool.

Add olive oil and pancetta to a large frying pan. Saute on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and continue to sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the greens and cook for another 5 minutes until they are wilted. Check for seasonings and turn heat off and let cool.

In a small bowl, add the ricotta, garlic, parsley, salt, egg, and ½ cup of cheese. Mix well and keep aside.

In the bottom of a 8 by 8 baking dish, add a half cup of sauce. Spread evenly. Arrange three to four noodles to completely cover the sauce. Spread ½ of the ricotta mixture over the pasta. Add ½ of the mushroom mixture and spread evenly. Repeat with noodles, sauce, ricotta and mixture. Finally add the last batch of noodles and cover with sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmigiano and all of mozzarella on top. Cover with foil. Place the lasagna on a baking sheet and bake in oven for an hour 15 minutes, removing the foil for the last 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before slicing.





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Cabbage and Pear Slaw

Cabbage and Pear Slaw

April 9, 2014

This is a yummy slaw that complemented the chicken tacos really well. The pears are delicious with the cabbage…If you can’t find pears any more, pineapple will be a delicious addition…

  • ½ cup plain kefir or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ small cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pear, julienned

Mix the kefir, mayonnaise, lemon juice, honey, cilantro and salt in a small bowl. Transfer the shredded cabbage and pear in a serving bowl. Add the kefir mixture and mix well. Check for seasonings and let it sit for half an hour before serving.

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Pulled Chicken Taco

Pulled Chicken Tacos

April 8, 2014

I love making tacos- especially pulled chicken or pork… chicken being healthier, I tend to make them more often. I made a delicious crunchy cole slaw to go on top…

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, skinless, with bones

Spice Rub

  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle all over the chicken thighs and marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the fridge.

  • 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 cup blood orange juice (regular orange juice will work as well)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (preferably homemade)
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pack of small tortillas

Heat a medium saucepan with olive oil. Brown the chicken pieces on high heat on both sides. Reduce heat and add the onion and garlic. Saute on medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the orange juice to deglaze. Mix well and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a boil and cover with lid. Lower to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes. Take the lid off and turn the heat off. Let the chicken pieces cool. Take out the pieces and shred with a fork. Return to the pan and bring back to a boil to cook any extra moisture. Check for salt and garnish with cilantro. Assemble the tacos with the pulled chicken and top with cabbage slaw.



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