Tangy Sautéed Mushrooms

A.K.A….my Dad’s mushroom recipe.  Whether he was grilling out or making a nice baked fish recipe for dinner, these mushrooms were a staple in our kitchen growing up.  Whole or sliced mushrooms sauteed with garlic in a touch of butter, then added in is tangy Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice. Fresh herbs are a must as well–rosemary or fresh thyme would work well; I also added some white wine and a touch of chicken stock into the sauce for added depth of flavor.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Apple-Oat Muffins’

Recipe Courtesy of GoodHousekeeping.com

I really enjoy these cinnamon-scented apple and oatmeal muffins for their healthful ingredients, but also their hearty texture.  I swapped in whole wheat flour for all-purpose, and for the buttermilk, a nice 2% vanilla-scented Greek yogurt.  The oats outweigh the flour in this recipe which is what gives them a slightly dense, yet moist crumb–shredded apples add natural sweetness and texture, and chopped walnuts a yummy, buttery crunch.  Next time I make these I might add in some golden raisins as well.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a8399/apple-oat-muffins-ghk1007/)

‘Chocolate Crêpe Cake’

Recipe Courtesy of KingArthurFlour.com

Excited to be asked to cater a Graduation Brunch for a client recently, I knew that a variety of both sweet and savory dishes was the way to go.  Brunch menus are all about diversity–some people like continental breakfast, some are in the mood for lunch and some want to taste a bit of everything with their bubbly Mimosas.  With the menu set (everything from shrimp cocktail, to frittata cups, to lemon poppy seed biscuits, and even a cheesy hash brown casserole) a celebratory dessert was also a must.

Knowing the taste preferences for my weekly client already, my mind wandered towards something chocolaty and something involving the distinct taste of Nutella, a rich chocolate-hazelnut spread.  This stunning layered crêpe cake fit both tastes and had a celebratory drama to it as well.  Homemade chocolate-flavored crepes layered with a smooth hazelnut-flavored pastry cream was fun to make and even more fun seeing the brunch guests’ reaction to such a stunning sweet concoction.  And to add to the overall presentation, I ordered some beautiful edible hibiscus flowers from a wonderful website: www.GourmetSweetBotanicals.com.  A labor of love, yes, but a dessert that is perfect for your next celebratory gathering!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/chocolate-crpe-cake-recipe)

Italian Meatloaf

Wanting to put a tasty Italian spin on a classic meatloaf, I started developing this recipe by listing some of my favorite Italian ingredients.  Tomatoes, Italian sausage, fresh fennel, garlic, Pecorino cheese and balsamic vinegar came to mind.  And thus my Italian Meatloaf was born.  In the meatloaf base itself I decided on a combination of ground turkey Italian sausage and ground chuck; added into those meats was a saute of garlic, onions and fresh fennel flavored with a touch of fennel pollen.  Next came Pecorino cheese, one egg, Panko breadcrumbs and Italian parsley. For a touch of sweetness I added about 1/4 cup of organic ketchup… and for the glaze?  A mixture of store-bought balsamic glaze and ketchup for a sweet yet tangy finishing touch.  To make the plate beautiful and to round out my tomato craving, I like serving my Italian Meatloaf with roasted San Marzano cherry tomatoes and some torn, fresh basil.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Baby Spinach & Strawberry Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Magazine

Best if made with ripe Louisiana strawberries and Louisiana roasted pecans of course (wink—wink), this stunning warm weather salad is a bright addition to any dinner or lunch menu.  Tender baby spinach leaves tossed with roasted pecans, sliced red onions, creamy crumbled goat cheese and sliced berries alone is a wonderful salad base, but the real kicker comes with the homemade roasted strawberry vinaigrette.  A puree of strawberries, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, honey and olive oil, this smooth yet tangy yet sweet dressing really adds that ‘wow’ factor to this scrumptious and healthy salad idea.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Za’atar Salmon

Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend made with ground sumac, sesame seeds, salt and dried herbs, is a staple item in my pantry.  Why? Because it lends a deeply fragrant, inherently rich taste to whatever you add it to.  For an easy weeknight dinner idea I like to sprinkle salmon fillets with some of the spice mix and roast in a high-heat oven until tender and flaky.  Simple–yes, but also elegant enough to impress your next round of lucky dinner guests. Some other great uses for za’atar include sprinkling it on a whole-roasted cauliflower head, on a roast or grilled chicken, or even stirred into whole milk Greek yogurt and served with a toasted flat bread or pita.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Garden Greens Pizza’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

This pizza was incroyable!  (Just like the publication that the recipe came from).  Cooking Light magazine is one of my favorite magazines for a multitude of reasons.  First off, the photography is amazing, the recipes are very well tested, and the variety of foods and produce highlighted is both seasonal and diverse.  Some might see the word light in conjunction with food and think bland— no dessert and none of your favorites like pasta or pizza.  But oh no. Light here means a diet of diversity—all types of proteins, a multitude of veggies, and ingredients to lighten everything up.

For example, this decadent vegetarian pizza is lightened up with the use of whole grain pizza dough, tons of veggies, part-skim varieties of both ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese, and the fresh flavors of herbs and citrus.  Those components and also, asparagus tips, sugar snap peas and beautiful zucchini ribbons.  Appealing, right? So my recommendation to you is to subscribe to this magazine if you don’t already, and when you do, to try as many of their wonderful recipes each month as you can!

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/garden-greens-pizza)

Crunchy Celery, Apple & Pecorino Salad with Pistachios

This salad is all about crunch and flavor.  Chopped sweet apples (I like either Honey Crisp or Pink Lady varieties in this particular salad) and fresh celery stalks and leaves are combined with a homemade Dijon vinaigrette, cubes of salty cheese, fresh herbs and roasted nuts.  A healthy and lovely side dish for just about any entrée on your mind.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Roast Chicken & Spring Vegetable Linguine with Crème Fraîche

This gorgeous spring pasta has a lot of great things going for it. First, the colorful mixture of spring veggies (yum). Second, the fresh egg pasta that is so tender it melts in your mouth (and only takes 2 minutes to cook). And third, the tender pieces of shredded, roast chicken delicately flavored with herbes de Provence.  And oh, right!  I need not forget the simple yet decadent white wine sauce that engulfs the entire pasta dish, that is enriched with a touch of tangy crème fraîche. Just another reason to keep the pantry stocked with pasta, the fridge with seasonal veggies, and the dairy shelf of the fridge with crème fraîche.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Broiled Red Snapper with Za’atar Salsa Verde’

Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine

If you can get your hands on wild red snapper fillets, this should definitely be the first recipe you make with them! The meaty yet flaky fish pairs well with the bold flavors of a salsa verde—and not just any salsa verde, one that is flavored with toasted pine nuts, fragrant za’atar, parsley, garlic, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. (And did I mention the lovely addition of chopped, pickled banana peppers for a bit of crunch and yummy brininess?)  To carry the bold flavors onto the fish itself, the fish is seasoned not only with salt and pepper, but with ground coriander to piggy-back with the bite of the fresh cilantro.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/broiled-red-snapper-with-zaatar-salsa-verde)