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Memorial Day Recipes: Moroccan Style Lamb Burgers with Harissa Sauce

Lamb Burgers2

  • 1½ pounds ground lean lamb
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large shallot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons harissa sauce

Put the lamb in a mixing bowl and add the paprika, salt, cumin, garlic, shallot, parsley, cilantro and harissa. Mix well and divide into 8 patties. Keep aside.

Grill the patties on high for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

Lamb Burgers

Sun Dried Tomatoes Mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of half a lemon

Mix the sun dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, cilantro, parsley, salt and lemon juice into a small bowl. Mix well and refrigerate till serving.

Sundried Tomatoes and Herb Mayo

To Assemble

  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • Baby arugula
  • 2 baguettes, sliced and cut into 4 pieces each

Place a burger into a sliced piece of baguette. Spread some mayonnaise and add a tomato, some onion and arugula.

Lamb Burgers1

Brown Rice with Arugula and Green Onions

  • 2 cups wild arugula
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup water

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till a smooth sauce is formed. Take out and keep aside.

  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water

Heat a medium saucepan with the oil and butter. Add the rice and salt and sauté on medium heat 1 to 2 minutes. Add the arugula sauce and the water and bring to a boil. Simmer on medium with lid almost covered, cook for 20 minutes or till the liquid has cooked off the surface. Cover with lid and lower the heat and cook for another 15 minutes or till the rice is cooked through. Mix well and serve warm.


Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Blue Cheese Mayonnaise

  • 2 to 3 filet mignon steaks (depending on the number of sandwiches)
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Heat a cast iron pan until very hot and cook the steaks on medium high heat till the steaks reach the desired doneness. Keep aside, covered with aluminum foil. After 15 minutes, slice the filets.

  • 1 large onion, slice thin
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Heat a frying pan with the butter and oil on medium heat. Add the sliced onion and top with salt and sugar. Mix well and continue to cook on medium heat, stirring every few minutes. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, till the onions are a golden brown without burning. Keep aside.

Blue Cheese Mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup full fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  • 4 to 5 Ciabatta rolls, sliced and toasted
  • Baby arugula leaves

Assemble the sandwiches by placing some arugula on one side of the roll. Place some steak slices on top. Top with some caramelized onions. Add some mayonnaise on the other side of the roll and serve.

Lugano, Switzerland- Day One

When we decided to come to Switzerland, I wasn’t too excited.. why, you ask? Well, nothing against the beautiful country but I just didn’t think it would offer very delicious food except yummy chocolate and yummy cheese! Well, I guess there is nothing wrong with the two things but it wasn’t what I had in mind. I decided to change my mindset and told myself not every trip has to be filled with delicious food… it is supposed to be a gorgeous country and that is what I should be paying attention to. As I was convincing myself, I realized we had an option of going to Lugano which is very close to the Italian border- yay!! I knew the food would be delicious down there.. and here we are- first day in Lugano and so far so good. Well, it has been a tiring day after landing in Zurich at 8 AM, stopping for a delicious cappuccino and pretzel, catching three trains and arriving in Lugano at 1 PM! The journey to Lugano was absolutely breathtaking with the most amazing vistas.. too bad we were half asleep. All I could think was, what a gorgeous country!

Lugano Day One Arugula Salad

Arugula and Parmigiano Salad

We arrived at our hotel and dropped the luggage off as our room was not ready as yet. A very short walk later, we found ourselves enjoying the gorgeous Lake Lugano. We walked around and found  cafe/restaurant over looking the water. We ordered a delicious, local rose from the Ticino region- it was yummy… we washed it down with a delicious arugula and Parmigiano salad and a mushroom and spicy salami pizza. The food was yummy and so was the gelato that my daughter had three times!!

Spicy Salami and Mushroom Pizza

Spicy Salami and Mushroom Pizza

Roasted Fennel Risotto with Chilean Sea Bass

Roasted Fennel Risotto with Chilean SeabassThis is a delicious and sophisticated dish I came up with. I made this through the week but I think it is very appropriate for a special occasion or a nice Sunday dinner. I have been using fennel a lot these days- raw and roasted. I decided to roast it and cut it up and use it in a risotto- why not, I thought… I also roasted some other aromatic like garlic and shallot. All these ingredients gave the risotto and lovely sweet, nutty flavor.

I bought one of my husband’s favorite fish- Chilean sea bass and marinated it in a miso mixture and simply sautéed it. I also tossed baby arugula with olive oil and lemon juice.

The combination of the risotto and fish with the arugula was unusually delicious… try this dish when you want to impress your family…
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Arugula Pesto with Pine Nuts

Arugula Pesto with Pinenuts1 I love making pestos. I don’t find myself making a whole lot of different kinds of basil pesto for some reason. I do love it but I always find myself making a sauce with another herb or vegetable.

This on is an arugula pesto. Arugula is one of my favorite greens. I love its versatility.. I can use it in a salad, cook with it and now make a pesto with it.

I simply paired it with garlic and pine nuts. I don’t like to use too much olive oil but it is important to use a really good quality one- so a little goes a long way. I used Pecorino instead of Parmesan as Pecorino has a stronger taste which is great for the bitter greens.

That is all I needed to make a delicious sauce. I used it for pasta and in this case- for pizza. Even my daughter ate it- she doesn’t usually like arugula but she really enjoyed the pesto on the pizza.
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Alaskan Cod with Spaghetti and Arugula

Alaskan Cod with Spaghetti and Arugula This meal is ideal to if you are trying to be healthy for the new year. I recently wrote and article for the New York Times Local blog and featured this recipe. I was trying to follow a few new eating habits for the New Year and this recipe was a fabulous way to begin.

I tried using brown rice pasta for the first time and it was a big hit. The consistency is a bit different- it is much softer, mushier and so you have to be careful while cooking. You need to use ample water when cooking the pasta. My husband and daughter were thrilled to eat this spaghetti. I thought the taste was different and I have to say, I missed the ‘pasta’ taste but since I had covered the pasta with some delicious homemade tomato sauce- it was just fine.

The mound of pesto covered arugula was a genius idea- yes I am not very modest… Anyway, the greens on top of the pasta looked beautiful and tasted even better. Since arugula is tough enough to be cooked, I placed the simply cooked piece of fish right on top. It looked like a fancy meal served at an expensive restaurant.

I was very pleased with myself. The best part was that I didn’t feel grossly full after eating the meal. I skipped the wine and had a glass of water.

Try the sauteed cod with the brown rice pasta with healthy arugula on top- it is outstanding.

  • 3 to 4 cod fillets, about 5 ounces each
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a wide, non-stick frying pan. Add the fish filets and sprinkle salt and pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side on high heat or, till the fish is opaque and flaky. Keep warm.

  • Half pound brown rice spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 2 cups fresh or store bought tomato sauce
  • Heat the tomato sauce in a wide saucepan. Add the cooked pasta in the sauce and mix well. Keep warm.
  • 3 to 4 cups fresh arugula (depending on how many fish filets you have)
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated (with a vegetable peeler)

Add the arugula in medium bowl. Add the pesto and mix well. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Serve the dish by placing a serving of spaghetti in a wide bowl. Top the pasta with a cup of arugula mixed with pesto and cheese. Then, top with the cod fillet.