Spicy Citrus Skirt Steak

I get inspired when suddenly I can combine ingredients I don’t ordinarily cook with.  To me, Skirt steak has always been salt and pepper and garlic salt, maybe BBQ sauce.  I never realized how delicious orange combined with meat actually tastes.  This was an award winner for my family!  They kept raving and raving about how great it was.  Always puts a smile on my face when all I did was just add ginger and orange!  So simple, yet such a difference.  Enjoy!

Serves:

4

Total Time:

30 minutes

To Make

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ½ pounds skirt steak
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or TOOC honey white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 orange juiced & zested
  • 6 tablespoons coconut aminos, or soy sauce (personal preference)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha, plus more as needed
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • garlic clove, finely grated
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  •  6 Tbs. of TOOC fresh blood orange olive oil
  • tangerines, satsumas or mandarin oranges, washed, peeled and halved for garnish

Directions:

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for two-zone cooking over high heat.

While the grill is heating, pat the steak dry and cut into 5- to 6-inch pieces with the grain. (This makes it easier to fit on the grill.) Set aside to air-dry while you make the sauce: Squeeze juice from the orange into a bowl or rimmed dish large enough to hold the steak after it’s grilled. 

When you’re ready to grill, season generously with salt. Grill the steak over direct heat, flipping halfway through, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the tangerines over direct heat, flipping halfway through, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Set aside the remaining tangerine halves in the rimmed dish with the skirt steak. Once the steak is on the grill, add the vinegar, coconut aminos, sriracha, ginger, orange zest and garlic, and season with salt and pepper in the rimmed baking dish where the steak will return. Stir to combine.

As the steak and tangerine halves finish, add them to the sauce and turn to coat. Squeeze the charred citrus with your tongs to release the juice and the peels into the dish. Let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 30. Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and sriracha.

Tips

  • You can dry-brine the steak in advance, which seasons the meat and locks in the juices. Pat the steak dry, season with 1 teaspoon salt, and refrigerate uncovered overnight. Let come to room temperature before cooking. (No need to season with salt again before grilling.)
  • High is above 450 degrees. You should be able to hold your hand 4 to 5 inches above the grates for 2 to 3 seconds.

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Mascarpone & Lemon, Thyme Gnocchi with Thyme Butter Sauce

Gnocchi looks daunting, but it isn’t. The first time I made it myself I was shocked at how easy it was and how fun it was. When I coached a client through the process, she giggled with joy at how easy it was and how she could wow her guests by making homemade gnocchi. My memory…..we had a great time together working through this recipe and the satisfaction of conquering this recipe will live on in memory and smiles forever! Enjoy!

Serves:

8 – 10

Total Time:

45 minutes

To Make

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for forming the gnocchi
  • 1 Tbs thyme leaves
  • 3 Tbs. butter

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbs. tarragon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese

    Directions:

    Combine the mascarpone cheese, Parmesan, salt, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, egg and egg yolk in a bowl.

    Beat together using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. 

    Gradually beat in the flour until the mixture forms a soft dough.

    Sprinkle a pie pan or rimmed baking sheet with flour. 

    Drop 1-teaspoon-size pieces of dough into the pie pan using 2 small spoons.

    Shake the pan gently to cover the dough with flour.

    Gently roll the pieces of dough into oval shapes.

    For the Sauce:

    Meanwhile, cook the butter and salt in a heavy medium skillet until it begins  to brown, about 1 minutes.   Add the gnocchi and brown each side of the Gnocchi for about 2 minutes per side on medium heat.  Remove gnocchi to a plate.

    Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped thyme, tarragon, and lemon zest. And toss gently.  Add back in the gnocchi. You can serve it right out of the skillet, and it is amazing.  Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano and extra Thyme and serve.

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    Spring Asparagus-Parmesan Tart

    Serves:

    8

    Total Time:

    70 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 3 oz Sartori SarVecchio® Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 2 Tbs butter, cubed
    • 1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
    • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
    • 1/3 c heavy whipping cream
    • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
    • 1/2 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and blanched
    • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 tsp lemon zest

    Directions:

    Heat oven to 425°F.

    Shred 1/4 c parmesan. Finely shred remaining parmesan.

    Melt butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, salt and pepper; cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

    Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20-25 minutes longer or until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally.

    Gradually stir in cream. Bring just to a boil; cook and stir until cream is reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat.

    Stir in shredded parmesan until melted; set aside.

    Heat oven to 425°F. Line a 15 x 10-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

    Unfold pastry on a lightly floured surface; roll out pastry to a 15 x 10-inch rectangle.

    Place pastry in prepared pan. Score a 1/2-inch border on edges of pastry with sharp knife. Prick pastry with a fork.

    Spoon reserved onion mixture to edges of scored pastry. Arrange asparagus and tomatoes on top.

    Bake for 18-20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

    Sprinkle with finely shredded parmesan. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. 

    Sprinkle with lemon zest just before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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    Spatchcock Sticky Mango Chutney Chicken

    Spatchcock!!!!  What?????  What is that, right?  I know, I myself only came to know this term in the last year!  Turns out this form of cooking a chicken has been around since the 17th century!  The technique is meant to allow a whole chicken to cook evenly during the cooking process.  Adding this marinade to the technique makes a delicious, evenly cooked whole roast chicken.  Enjoy!

    Serves:

    4-6

    Total Time:

    90 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 1 whole chicken
    • 1 Tbs. Olive oil
    • 1 red onion finely minced in a food processor
    • 2 garlic cloves finely minced in a food processor
    • 1 ½ tsp. good curry powder
    • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp. orange zest
    • 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1 6oz. jar mango chutney room temperature

    Directions:

    Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

    Cut the back out of the chicken from tail to neck with a pair of good poultry shears. Then cut the breast bone enough so you can spread the chicken out flat onto the pan.

    (hint: wearing plastic gloves will help keep the shears from slipping out of your hands during the cutting process.  Provides for a stronger grip.

    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until it is soft and starting to brown about 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and let cook for 1 minute.  Transfer the onions and garlic to a small bowl and set the pan aside.

    Combine all of the ingredients except the mango chutney into a glass bowl with the onions and garlic and mix well. Then add the mango chutney and fold into the ingredients being sure that you are evenly making a thick paste with all of the ingredients.

    Salt the underside of the chicken and place on a sheet pan or roasting pan. Blot the skin of the chicken with a paper towel so it is dried well making it easier for the skin to crisp up during the baking process.

    Begin by salting the skin and then take your mango paste and begin to spread all over the chicken with about ¾ of the paste.  Use the remaining ¼ of paste to place under the skin in a thin layer to add extra flavor. (do not place any paste on the underside of the chicken) 

    Place into the oven for 55 minutes or until the thick thigh meat registers 165 degrees on an insta read thermometer.  Enjoy!

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    Shakshuka Inspired By Tanya Murray

    My first morning in Jerusalem I woke up to a beautiful breakfast buffet in the hotel dining room.  In the middle of the buffet was the star of the show, something I had never seen or heard of before, “Shakshuka”!  There it sat in all its glory, beautifully placed for all to enjoy!  When I asked what it was, since I had never seen or heard of it before, the answer was, “you’ve never had Shakshuka, boy, you are in for a treat”!!!  And they were right!  Whether it is breakfast for dinner, lunch or breakfast, you are going to love this delicious indulgence!  Enjoy!

    Serves:

    2-4

    Total Time:

    45 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 small yellow onions (or 1 medium), peeled and diced
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
    • 2 bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), diced
    • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
    • 2 28-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, lightly drained
    • 2 cups finely chopped power greens or other hardy greens like kale or spinach
    • ½ c. Cocoyo yogurt
    • 3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
    • 6-9 eggs
    • Handful chopped cilantro, basil, parsley and/or 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary (1 ½ teaspoons dried)

    Directions:

    In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and bell pepper and cook, uncovered, for about 8 minutes, until softened. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

     Add the smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and 1-1/4 teaspoons of the salt and tomatoes.

    Cook, uncovered at a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened.

    Add about two tablespoons of the sauce to the yogurt and mix. Then add back to the pan.

    Add the greens and stir till wilted.

    Cook uncovered about 10 minutes more so the greens are just wilted. For advance batch cooking you can stop at this point.

    Let mixture cool and then package in freezer safe containers or Food Saver bags.

    Set oven rack to top position and turn on broiler if you will be broiling to cook eggs. Turn off (or remove the pan from) the heat. Using a spoon, make 6-9 “wells” in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well. Sprinkle the eggs with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, then sprinkle the feta around the eggs.

    To cook eggs:

    Set the pan on the stove over low heat and cover with a lid and cook until eggs are done to your preference (usually 5-7 minutes for medium, hard yolk). To melt and brown the cheese, stick under broiler for 3 minutes.

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    Cast Iron Skillet Pan Lasagna

    I am so taken by the idea that sheet pan dinners have become all the rage when it comes to recipes.  It is kind of fun to create and the optics make the dinner preparer feel like it is easier to create a sheet pan dinner than a regular dinner.  (Even though, sometimes it is more complicated).  This got me thinking!!!  I love cooking in cast iron far more than a sheet pan.  It feels like less work because you don’t have to line the sheet pan with parchment or foil, and a cast iron pan is so much easier to clean.  This is an idea for cast iron skillet lasagna, and I promise you, you may never go back to regular lasagna again!  This is so fun to assemble and a great way to cook with kids.  Enjoy!

    Serves:

    6-8

    Total Time:

    75 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:

      • 1 Can (28 oz.) crushed fire roasted tomatoes
      • 1 jar (24 oz.) Rao’s arrabbiata sauce
      • 1 Tbs. EVOO
      • 1 Tbs. Grass Fed organic unsalted butter
      • 1 chopped red onion
      • 3 minced garlic cloves
      • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
      • 1 lb. spicy Italian sausage (out of the casing)
      • 1 lb. lean ground organic beef
      • 12 oz. whole-milk Ricotta cheese
      • 1 egg lightly beaten
      • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
      • 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
      • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
      • 12 no boil lasagna noodles broken in half
      • 3 Tbs. chiffonade fresh basil

    Directions:

    Pre heat oven to 400 degrees

    Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. 

    Add the oil and butter and heat till shimmering.  Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until translucent and slightly browned, about 6 minutes. 

    Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until the scent becomes strong for about 20 seconds.

    Add the meats and cook breaking up the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon.  Cook for approximately 5-7 minutes until the meat is no longer pink.

    Stir in the tomatoes and the arrabbiata sauce.  Bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes and transfer to a bowl after the sauce has thickened a bit.

    In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, thyme salt and pepper. 

    Then combine the Mozzarella and paremesan in a third bowl.

    Now let’s assemble:

    Spread enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan about ½ inch deep. Then shingle the 6 noodle halves around the sauce in the pan, then place a sheet over the middle. 

    Dollop 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then the mozzarella mixture, then the sauce. Repeat this same layering order 2-3 times as your pan will allow.

    Always begin with the noodles, always end in sauce.

    Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

    Place skillet in oven and bake until cheese is bubbly and golden brown about 40 minutes.

    Let lasagna cool and set for about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with basil, cut as you would a pizza or pie and serve.

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    Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs w/ Miso & Ginger

    Everyone loves a one step sheet pan dinner.  The first time I mad this dish I placed it on the table but stepped outside for a moment to grab some waters for dinner.  All of a sudden I heard my husband exclaim, “OMG!!!  Marla!!!  This is DEEEEELIIICOUS!”  I could not believe it.  I realized that what really got his attention is that I was cooking with 2 flavors that I rarely have ever cooked with before.  One is Miso and the other is ginger!!!  Needless to say, it was a hit and now it is one of our most requested dinner staples.  I hope you enjoy!!!

    Serves:

    4-6

    Total Time:

    45 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 5 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
    • 4 Tbs. Stone ground Dijon mustard
    • 3 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
    • 2 Tbs. minced Garlic
    • 5 Tbs. white miso
    • 2 Tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
    • 1 Tbs. orange zest
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2/3 cup olive oil
    • 5 Lbs. of bok choy cut length wise in quarters
    • 6 carrots cleaned and unpeeled sliced thin on the diagonal
    • 1 fennel bulb chopped coarsely
    • Sauteed riced cauliflower, rice or potatoes (Chef’s choice)

    Directions:

    Pre heat oven to 450 degrees

    In a glass bowl, combine the scallions, mustard, ginger, garlic, miso, orange juice, orange zest, 1 tsp salt, ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and ½ c. of olive oil.  Mix well with a whisk.

     On a rimmed baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silicone mat, toss the bok choy, carrots and fennel with the remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread all veggies evenly in one layer on the sheet pan.  Season chicken with the salt and pepper, place on top of the sheet pan vegetables and rub chicken all over with the ginger-miso marinade.

     Roast until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender about 30 minutes.

    Serve chicken and vegetables over the riced cauliflower, rice or mashed potatoes and spoon the pan juices over the chicken and garnish with scallions.  Enjoy!

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    Basic Risotto

    I love a great Risotto. It is so universally delicious, and you can use it by adding anything you desire. I have made it with frozen asparagus and frozen peas and any frozen vegetables, also with any leftover vegetables at the end of the week, or I have made it by adding leftover meats. Use your creativity, instincts and be intuitive and it will turn out great every time. Enjoy!!!

    Serves:

    4-6

    Total Time:

    1 1/2  hours

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 3 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
    • 1 cup chopped fennel
    • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
    • 2/3 cup dry white wine
    • 4 to 5 cups simmering vegetable stock, preferably homemade
    • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese, preferably Italian
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
    • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives, plus extra for serving

     

    Directions:

    Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and fennel and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add the rice and stir for a minute to coat with the vegetables, oil, and butter.

    Add the white wine and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until most of the wine has been absorbed.

    Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

    Whisk the lemon juice and mascarpone together in a small bowl.

    When the risotto is done, turn off the heat and stir in the mascarpone mixture plus the Parmesan cheese and chives.  Set aside, off the heat, for a few minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve hot with a sprinkling of chives and more Parmesan cheese.

    Add any or all left over vegetables or meat from the week, anything your heart desires. Be creative.

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    Sheet Pan Dinner

    If there is a food trend right now that is in style, it is “sheet pan dinners”.  I Actually had never heard of such a thing till a friend shared this trend with me a few months back.  It seems this trend is hotter than a Harvey Wallbanger Cake in the 70’s.  My daughter, who is a working mom like most of you, loves sheet pan dinners and uses many different variations all of the time.  For those of you who are vegans or vegetarians can substitute any non-meat Italian sausage in place of the chicken.  And, if like in my family, half of you eat meat, and the other half or vegetarians, you can split this between two different sheet pans, and put a vegan sausage in one of the pans.  Enjoy!

    Serves:

    6

    Total Time:

    1 1/2  hours

    To Make

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Lb. halved Brussels sprouts
    • 1 large butternut squash
    • ½ small red apple sliced thin
    • ½ small green apple sliced thin
    • 1 small thinly sliced red onion
    • 6 small heirloom carrots sliced ¼ inch thick
    • 1 zucchini sliced lengthwise in quarters and cut into ½ inch pieces
    • ¼ cup good olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
    • 8 chicken sweet Italian sausages
    • Handful of fresh thyme leaves and stems
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
    • Apple Cider & Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below)
    • Tip:  Steam the Brussel sprouts or microwave them for 2 minutes prior to putting them on the sheet pan; they roast easier that way.

      Apple Cider & Mustard Vinaigrette

      Ingredients:

      • 1/3 C. good olive oil
      • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
      • 3 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
      • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Thyme
      • 2 Tbsp. amber maple syrup
      • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped dill
      • 1 small, minced shallot
      • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Directions:

    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. 

    On a rimmed sheet plan lined with a silicone liner or parchment paper, toss the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, onion, apples, and sausage together with the oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves and place into the oven for 25 minutes.

    Toss the ingredients and then rotate the pan and roast for another 20 minutes.

     Pour the vinaigrette evenly over the sheet pan and toss and place into a serving platter sprinkled with more fresh thyme sprigs.

     

    For the vinaigrette

    Directions:

    In a medium bowl, whisk all vinaigrette ingredients except the oil until smooth.  While whisking slowly pour in the oil and whisk till emulsified.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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    Moroccan Chicken

    I love shopping at the Temecula Olive Oil Company. I find so many things that inspire me. My TV sponsor is Moroccan and when he was scheduled to be on the show with me, I wanted a Moroccan recipe to make with him. I had to have a winner – I really wanted to impress him. This dish won him over. Enjoy!

    Serves:

    6

    Total Time:

    1 1/2  hours

    To Make

    Ingredients:
     

    • 2 Tbsp. butter

    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

    • 1 whole chicken, cut up

    • 3 Tbsp. Moroccan Spice Rub by Temecula Olive Oil Company (if you wish to make your own rub, combine white pepper, ginger, allspice, mace, nutmeg, rosebuds and cinnamon.)

    • 1 ½ tsp. Kosher salt

    • 2 shallots chopped

    • 1 preserved lemon, (inside scraped out) skin thinly sliced (Temecula Olive Oil Company preferred brand)

    • 1 C. pitted mixed marinated olives, chopped

    • 1 C. sun-dried tomatoes in oil drained and chopped

    • 1 ½ C. white wine

    • 1 ½ C. chicken stock

    • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano

    • 1 Tbsp. basil, chopped

    • 1 Tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped

     

    Directions:

    Dry the chicken skin completely with a paper towel and sprinkle evenly with the salt and Moroccan spice rub.

    Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.

    Place the breasts into the hot skillet skin side down and cook without touching or moving for about 6 to 7 minutes.

    Flip the chicken to the bone side and cook for another 5 minutes.

    Remove to a plate and begin to make the sauce. In the same pan, add the shallots and sweat them stirring occasionally until they are soft and translucent, about one minute.

    Add the lemon, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to combine.

    Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the pan to loosen all the brown bits from the bottom and simmer for 3 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly.

    Add the chicken broth and return to a simmer.

    Add back the chicken and the dried oregano and cover the pan and simmer gently for about 25 minutes.

    Turn off the heat and while covered let it sit for about 10 minutes to absorb the juices.

    To serve sprinkle with parsley and basil and serve right out of the pan.

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    Chili Pistachio Pesto

    I love pesto and I love this pesto recipe. Here’s why: Sometimes if you are having a lot of dairy in your main course, dairy in an appetizer is just overwhelming. One family meal I was serving Caprese Salad, Eggplant Parmesan as a main course, and Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting for dessert. Way too much dairy.

    I had already decided to make a pesto crostini for appetizer but the thought of more dairy was just way too much. Probably all the other dairy was way too much at one meal, too, but it was too late. My fix? I left the parmesan out and discovered a pesto that is great for fish, meat and crostini, even pasta. Hope you love it as much as we do, and the chili flavored pistachios are a home run.

    Serves:

    4 – 6

    Total Time:

    15 minutes

    To Make

    Ingredients:
     

    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

    • 1 tsp. dried oregano or ½ tsp. fresh oregano, chopped

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • ½ tsp. pepper

    • 1 ½ C. basil, chopped

    • ½ C. chili roasted pistachio nuts (you can find them at Whole Foods or Costco)

    • ⅓ C. olive oil

    Directions:

    In a food processor (Cuisinart works best but use what you have), combine all of the ingredients except the oil and blend until everything is fully chopped and combined.

    While the blender is running, slowly pour the oil through the food tube and watch it all come together.

    That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

    Tip: This makes a great topping for a mild white fish.

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    Chicken Crepes

    This is an old 70s recipe that was given to me years ago by my college roommate. I don’t ever remember making it with her in our apartment, but I suspect that when I visited her home her mother made this for me, and I fell in love with it. When I got married and first began entertaining, I used this recipe over and over again. It was the only thing I could cook, and as long as whoever was coming had never eaten it before, it was my go-to recipe. All these years later, it is still a crowd pleaser. Enjoy!

    Serves:

    6 – 8

    Total Time:

    1 1/2 hours

    For the Curried Chicken

    Ingredients:
     

    • 2 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thigh combination
    • 1 ½ C. chicken stock
    • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
    • ¼ C. butter
    • 3 Tbsp. flour
    • 2 C. Half & Half
    • 1 Tbs. curry
    • 1 C. raisins

    Directions:

    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

    Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place in a Pyrex dish with chicken stock. Cover tightly and bake for one hour.

    Sauté the onion in the butter and add the flour. Stir with a wooden or silicone spoon until smooth.

    Add the Half & Half slowly and stir until it begins to thicken. Add the curry and raisins off the heat.

    Set aside about 1/4 of the sauce. Once the chicken has cooled shred and add the chicken into the rest of the sauce. Mix thoroughly.

    For the Entrée Crepe 

     Ingredients:

     

    • 1 C. whole milk

    • 3 eggs

    • C. flour

      Directions:

      Combine the milk, eggs and flour and mix well. Let the batter stand 30 minutes before frying.

      Using either a crepe maker or a 6-inch sauté pan, spray with avocado oil and place a thin coat of crepe mixture in the pan. Turn when bubbling like a pancake the whole process should take no more than three minutes per crepe.

      Combining and Rolling

      Place about 2 Tbsp. of the curry chicken mixture onto a crepe and roll. Place each rolled crepe into a large baking dish and, when the dish is full, cover with the remaining sauce.

      Tip: At this point the crepes can be covered and refrigerated as a make ahead dish. When ready to reheat, place in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with raisins and parsley for color.

       

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      Stuffed Paccheri

      I was invited to a fundraiser and the caterer served what looked to me like vertical rigatoni. It just looked so fun and happy. I decided to try my hand at making it. I boiled the rigatoni and once I stuffed them, they fell apart while cooking. So, then I tried stuffing them while still dried and the part that stuck out of the sauce was hard and burned. Alas, the rigatoni was just too small and I had to solve the problem of how to make this work.

      I happened upon Paccheri noodles at the Italian deli. (never heard of them before). I began to solve the problem of, “to boil or not to boil”. And after 20 tries I came up with soaking them in cold, salted water just long enough to where they could compress between your two fingers. The perfect texture to bake and the perfect size to stuff.

      Serves:

      8 – 10

      Total Time:

      3 hours

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

      • 1 lb. Paccheri Pasta shells (De Cecco brand preferred) 

      • 30 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese 

      • ½ C. grated Romano cheese

      • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

      • 12 leaves fresh basil, cut into chiffonade

      • 1 large egg room temperature lightly beaten

      • Freshly ground black pepper

      • 8 oz. Parmesan, grated

      • 2 to 3, 24 oz. jars good-quality Arrabbiata Sauce (Rao’s brand preferred)

      • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated

      • Kosher salt to taste

       

      Directions:

      Soak the bag of pasta for 2 to 2.5 hours in cold salted water being sure that all pasta is completely covered. When the pasta is spongy and able to be compressed between two fingers it is ready to be stuffed.

      Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

      Combine the ricotta cheese, Romano, parmesan, parsley, basil, salt, pepper and egg till mixed evenly. Fill a pastry bag with a large star tip with the mixture.

      Fill a non-metallic skillet with enough pasta sauce so that it comes about  up the side of the pan. Place the softened Paccheri into the pan vertically.

      Fill the Paccheri tubes with the ricotta mixture all the way to the very top.

      Place into the oven for 25 minutes with the pot covered so that the pasta will continue to cook and steam to the perfect texture.

      The last 10 minutes sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese and cook with the top off until melted.   Enjoy!

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      Simply Delicious Brisket

      At a Jewish Food Festival I came across the most delicious flavor of brisket. It was unlike anything I had ever tasted and was so savory. I could not place the flavor. In my mind I ran through all the obvious items you cook brisket in but couldn’t place that one taste. Come to find out, it was cayenne pepper. I created this rub to add to my traditional, simple brisket recipe and the feedback I get on this brisket is unlike anything I ever have gotten for brisket. Try it. Enjoy!

      Serves:

      8

      Total Time:

      4 hours

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

      • 1 beef brisket, 6 lbs.
      • 2 large onions chopped
      • 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
      • 3 bay leaves
      • 4 C. organic beef stock
      • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
      • ½ Tbsp. black pepper
      • 1 ½ Tbsp. cayenne pepper

       

      Directions:

      Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

      At time of purchase, ask the butcher to trim the fat from the brisket leaving about a ¼ of an inch of fat.

      Create the rub by mixing together the salt, pepper and cayenne in a shallow bowl.

      Pat the meat dry and let sit out for about 15 minutes while you peel and chop the onions and prepare the garlic and bay leaves.

      Cover the meat generously with the rub, making sure to get into all of the crevices.

      Place the meat point side down in a large roasting pan and cook 30 minutes in the oven on one side and then turn to the other side and cook for another 30 minutes until browned and crisp on both sides.

      Add the chopped onions to the pan, scattering them around the brisket. Stir to coat the onions with the drippings and scrape up any brown bits.

      Return the brisket to the oven and roast until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn the ends of the onions.

      Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Add the garlic and the bay leaves to the pan. At this point the brisket should be point side up.

      Pour in enough stock to reach about one inch up the sides of the brisket and scrape down the brown bits. Cover the pan tightly with a lid or heavy duty foil and return to the oven. Braise until very, very tender, about three hours.

      Check the meat every 30 minutes during the cooking time and add stock as needed to keep the simmering juice about one inch high and the onions from burning. You could need more than four cups stock. If you do, you can either add more stock or just water. It is a personal preference.

      Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the brisket to a pan for the refrigerator.

      Pour the juices and onions into a glass container like a large eight-cup glass measuring container and let cool.

      Add a little water to the pan and place over medium heat stirring and scraping the brown bits from the bottom. Add these drippings to the glass container. Let the meat and juices cool overnight in the refrigerator.

      Tip: Before re-heating, lift the congealed fat from the juices in the jar and discard. If there is any fat in or around the brisket, also remove that fat.

      Spread about ¼ of the remaining juices on the bottom of the pan. Slice the brisket on the diagonal while cold and place each slice into the pan on top of the cold juices.

      Cover and reheat the brisket for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Reheat the remaining juices in a saucepan and place in a gravy boat to be served with the brisket.

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      Ricotta Meatballs – Gluten Free

      During the COVID shut down in April 2020, it was my sister’s birthday. My dad, who has been in the restaurant business most of his life, has had a marvelous woman, Pat Rost, working for him for the last 45 years. She is Italian and makes the best food. The four of us got together to celebrate my sister’s birthday and Pat cooked. We were all excited because she makes fantastic meatballs. But she surprised us and said she had made a different kind of meatball. We were disappointed when we heard this until we bit into it! It was the most delicious meatball I have ever tasted. Thankfully, she shared the recipe with me. Here it is, Enjoy!

      Serves:

      10 – 12

      Total Time:

      1.5 hours

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

       

      • 2 lbs. ground beef ( 85%-15% meat to fat ratio)

      • 30 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese (rested in sieve in fridge for 2 hours to release some of the juices)

      • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced

      • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, minced

      • 12 leaves fresh basil cut into chiffonade

      • ¼ C. grated parmesan

      • 3 large eggs (room temperature lightly beaten)

      • 2 Tbsp. Kosher salt

      • 1 24 oz. jar marinara sauce (Rao’s brand preferred)

       

      Directions:

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

      Combine ground beef, garlic, parsley, mint, eggs, ricotta, parmesan and ricotta cheese and lightly mix with fork.

      Let mixture sit in the fridge for one hour.

      Use an ice cream scoop to make perfect shaped and consistent sized meatballs. This will help to ensure all meatballs cook evenly.

      Place meatballs on a sheet pan and place into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

      Once cooked immerse in warm marinara sauce for about 7 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

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      Really, Really FAST Chicken Cacciatore

      One day I had planned to make Chicken Cacciatore for dinner, which is a dish that can take a lot of time to make because you have to brown each piece of chicken. That afternoon I went to see a friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years and only expected to stay for an hour. What was I thinking? After three hours with my friend, I was in a panic about how I was going to make this dish for dinner in time.

       Well, necessity is the Mother of Invention. I ran to Whole Foods, bought two cooked chickens and had them quarter the chickens to save time. I was home in 20 minutes and threw everything into the pot hoping no one would notice a flavor difference. And guess what? No one did! It was remarkable. A complicated dinner made easy, and no one will ever know. Of course, if you want to start with browning the chicken first, you can. But this is a simple and tasty shortcut.

       

      Serves:

      4 – 6

      Total Time:

      45 minutes

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

       

      • 2 cooked organic chickens from your favorite store, like Whole Foods or Costco

      • 3, 28 oz. cans chopped fire roasted tomatoes

      • 1 chopped red bell pepper

      • 1 chopped orange bell pepper

      • 1 chopped onion

      • 1 jar capers

      • 1 package white mushrooms caps, quartered

      • 2 Tbsp. fresh oregano

      • 3 Tbsp. fresh basil

      • Red pepper flakes to taste

      • Salt and pepper to taste

       

      Directions:

      Quarter the cooked chickens and place them in a non-metallic casserole pot.

      Add all of the other ingredients and bring to a simmer covered for about 30-45 minutes. DONE!

      Tip: If you are short cans of tomatoes, you can always substitute a jarred marinara sauce which makes the sauce a bit thicker. There are so many good ones out there.

       

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      Marinated Flank Steak or Beef Tenderloin

      This recipe of mine is so very old. It came from a friend in Scottsdale and it is my go-to recipe when I entertain.

       The key is freezing this for two days. I have no idea why, but it works! In fact, for my best friends 40th birthday in St. Louis, I prepared a marinated frozen flank steak from Costco. It was huge. I froze it for two days, and then I carried it on the plane in my carry on for 3.5 hours from Las Vegas to St. Louis. When we arrived at her home, I slipped it into her refrigerator. The next afternoon we prepared the most beautiful birthday dinner for her and the marinated steak was a huge hit! I told the story over a bottle of wine, about how I carried that meat in a carry-on, frozen all the way from Las Vegas. We laughed for days.

      Serves:

      6 – 8

      Total Time:

      35 minutes

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

       

      • 3 to 5 lbs. flank steak or 5-7 lbs. beef tenderloin

      • 2 Tbsp. sugar

      • ½ tsp. ground ginger

      • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar

      • C. soy sauce

      • ½ tsp. garlic powder

       

      Directions:

      Place the meat into a Ziploc bag.

      Mix the ingredients above in a bowl with a whisk and pour into the bag.

      Massage the meat with the marinade and let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

      Place the meat in the bag and evenly surround it with the marinade. Then, lay it flat into the freezer.

      After about two hours, before it is fully frozen and just icy, flip the meat over. Keep frozen for at least two days.

      Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and take it out to thoroughly defrost on the counter for about one hour the next morning.

      Return to the refrigerator until ready to cook. For flank steak, grill five minutes per side. For beef tenderloin grill on low for 10 minutes per side for medium rare.

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      Salmon with Six Herbs

      We love Salmon. And we love it even more when all of the herbs come right out of our garden. This is our family’s and friend’s favorite salmon recipe. Use what you have available for herbs. If you are missing one or two, never worry, it is just as good without one as it is with adding one. Enjoy!

      Serves:

      6 – 8

      Total Time:

      1 Hour

      To Prepare 

      Ingredients:

       

      • 3 lb. salmon filet

      • ¼ C. Mediterranean herb-infused olive oil

      • 1 tsp. Kosher salt

      • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper

      • 3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

      • ½ C. Italian parsley, minced

      • ½ C. min, minced

      • ½ C. dill, minced

      • ½ C. basil, minced

      • ½ C. oregano, minced

      • ¼ C. chives chopped small

      • ½ C. dry vermouth

      Directions:

      Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

      Place the salmon filet in a non-metallic baking dish like a Le Creuset or ceramic or glass baking dish.

      Combine the olive oil and lemon juice and pour over the salmon. Season with salt and pepper.

      Let it marinate on the counter for a minimum of 15 minutes while you prepare the mincing of the herbs.

      In a glass bowl stir together the combination of the six minced herbs. Place the mixture over the top of the salmon being careful to spread out evenly. Pour the vermouth around the salmon.

      Roast the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes for medium rare. Test by cutting through the middle to check for doneness.

      Cover the dish tightly and let stand for 8 minutes.

       Cut the salmon crosswise about 2 to 3 inches thick and serve with lemon wedges.

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      Eggplant Parmesan

      When my daughter and son-in-law moved back to Las Vegas after law school to get their first jobs, they moved in with us to save money to buy a house. They were here for two years and I absolutely loved it (not sure how they felt about it, LOL!). For me, having adult children living at home was great. We could all have a glass of wine at dinner, everyone just naturally pitched in to do the dishes. We talked business or politics during dinner and I NEVER had to say, “Is your homework done”? or “Did you make your bed”? It was awesome!

       We were all working, so on many nights we ordered take out. There was a local restaurant that made the best eggplant I had ever had, and my son-in-law agreed. It was not breaded and did not seem to be deep fried. The flavor was just amazing. I kept trying to duplicate the tenderness of the eggplant by frying or baking and just could not match it.

       Then one day when I was grilling the eggplant and taking it off the grill, I got a phone call. I quickly put everything into a Le Creuset stock pot and then put the top on. After 20 minutes, when my call ended, I returned. And when I took the top off the eggplant, it had steamed itself. VOILA, I had the consistency I was trying to achieve, by accident! You just won’t believe the wonderful flavor. Enjoy!

      Serves:

      8 – 10

      Total Time:

      1 Hour

      To Prepare

      Ingredients:

       

      • 3 medium-sized Italian eggplants, cut on a diagonal about ¼ inch thick

      • 1 bottle organic spray olive oil

      • Salt generously sprinkled on both sides

      • 3 jars of Rao’s Arrabiatta sauce or any Fra Diavolo, Arrabiatta that you prefer.

      • 1 large bunch fresh basil

      • ½ lb. penne pasta or traditional spaghetti

      • 2 lb. mozzarella, grated

      • 2 lb. provolone, sliced

      • 1 lb. Parmesan-Reggiano, grated

         

      Directions:

      Generously spray the eggplant with olive oil on one side, then salt and lightly pepper. It’s important to really coat the eggplant with the oil so that it caramelizes nicely

      Place the eggplant olive oil side down, either on a hot grill covered with foil and sprayed with olive oil or on a cookie sheet.

      Generously spray the side that is facing up with olive oil again, and salt and lightly pepper.  

      Place on the BBQ grill (or in the oven on high heat) until the bottom side looks to be browned and beginning to caramelize, and then flip the eggplants. (In the oven, it will evenly begin to brown and caramelize without flipping.)  

      Once the eggplant caramelizes, take it off the grill and place into a large enameled stock pot or soup pot. (Be sure pot is non-metallic.)

      Tip: Immediately after taking the eggplant out of the oven or off of the grill while it is still very, very hot, lay the eggplant slices on top of each other and place the top tightly on the pot for about 20 minutes. During those 20 minutes, the eggplant will steam itself one on top of the other which will result in the most tender and juicy eggplant. This steaming process also gets rid of any bitterness.

      Once the eggplant has cooled, it is time for layering.

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

      Start with about 2/3 cup of sauce spread on the bottom of the pot (so nothing sticks to the bottom).

      Place about three cups of cooked al dente penne or spaghetti on the bottom of the pan. This will be the only layer of pasta in the dish.

      First place a layer of eggplant, then basil on top of each piece of eggplant. Cover with a combination of mozzarella then provolone. Then cover with sauce. Repeat this layering process until all the ingredients are used.

      On the last layer at the top cover with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a basil twig.

      Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and the tomato sauce is bubbly. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

      Tip: Before cutting and serving always let your casserole rest so it has time to bind and settle. Then cutting is a dream!

       

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