Sunday, April 29, 2012

Decedent Penne Vodka

Vodka Sauce

1 pint of heavy cream
1/2 container of Marscapone Cheese
2 cups of Parmesan or Asiago Cheese (or both)

1 clove of garlic smashed
1 can of Pastene crushed tomatoes
Fresh Basil (as much as you like)
2 tbs of fresh Italian Parsley chopped
1/2 to 1 cup of chicken stock
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 stick of butter
2 tbs of extra virgin olive oil
1 pinch of red pepper flake (add more to make Spicy Penne Vodka)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot add your cream and we want to reduce this to half (meaning, boil on medium for about 10 minutes, until thick and it becomes half in quantity). Once the cream is reduced add the cheeses and let it all melt in. Set this aside.

In a separate pan, add your butter, oil and garlic. Let the garlic brown up. Add your pepper flake next. To this add your can of crushed tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Let this simmer for about 30 minutes. Once the sauce has cooked, add in your cream mixture and let cook another 10 minutes. Toss with Penne and extra Parmesan Cheese and Romano. Enjoy!

* Looking to make this fancy? Add in chopped lobster, shrimp or crab and serve as a main course.
**Add in Italian sausage or grilled chicken if you want to add in some protein.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Banana's Foster

One of my favorite desserts. Here is my spin on an old classic. Super quick, easy and elegant.

Banana's Foster

3-5 bananas sliced into rounds
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of white sugar
1 cup of dark rum
1 tsp of vanilla
1 stick of butter
1 tbs of cinnamon

In a large saucepan melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, add both sugars and let cook for 5 minutes. Once sugar is dissolved add the rum. Cook for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minutes and add the bananas. Coat the bananas in the rum sauce and let cook another 5 minutes.

Serve on top of premium vanilla ice cream like Haagen-Daaz or Ben and Jerry's. Top with freshly whipped cream and mint!

* Turn this dessert into breakfast and instead of using maple syrup, top your french toast, waffles or pancakes with this divine confection.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crab Meat Stuffed Mushrooms

 2 packages of button mushrooms (cleaned and stems popped out. Chop up the stems)
 1 stick of butter
1/4 olive oil
1 clove of pressed garlic
1/4 cup of white wine
1/4 cup of fresh Italian Parsley finely chopped
1/2 lb of lump crab meat
1 sleeve of Ritz crackers ground
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of Romano cheese
1 tsp Old Bay
1 tsp garlic power
1 tsp black pepper

In a large pan, add the stick of butter, olive oil and the garlic. Saute garlic until brown. Add in the chopped mushroom stems. Saute the mushroom stems for about 15 minutes. Add in the white wine and cook another 5 minutes. Add in the crab meat and fresh parsley and remaining ingredients to form your stuffing. Make sure the stuffing is not too wet or not too dry. Add more crackers or some water to adjust.

Once your stuffing is made, stuff each mushroom. You want to be generous with the stuffing. Drizzle each mushroom with some melted butter and extra Parmesan. You may even top with a small slice of bacon if you would like. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft and the stuffing is golden brown.

*If you don't like crab meat, use sausage as an alternative option and for you vegetarians, substitute chopped spinach!

Fresh Strawberry Lime Margaritas!

Have you been using that bottle of chemical's to make your favorite strawberry margaritas? Well, here is a simple and fresh new way of making homemade margarita mix.

1 container of fresh strawberries (or see Tips section!)
Juice of one lime, plus zest
Simple Syrup=1/2 to 1 cup of cane sugar (make a simple syrup by boiling one part sugar to one part water until sugar dissolves)
1/2 to 1 cup of water (depending on how thick or thin you like it)

Mix all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Taste the mixture to make sure it is sweet enough to your liking. Put through a sieve to remove seeds and to make smooth. Put into a pitcher with tequila and garnish with additional strawberries, mint, limes and rim glasses with salt if you like.

Try this recipes with different fruits like fresh raspberries, mango, papaya, blueberries, watermelon, pineapple or any other fruit that you can think of!

Delicious Entertaining! Lobster Guacamole

2 avocados (soft and ripe)
1 clove of garlic pressed ( you may use onion instead)
1/2 finely chopped tomato
1 tsp of finely chopped parsley (you may use Cilantro instead)
1 tbs of lemon and lime juice
1 tsp of Jalapeno Tabasco (the Green one)
1 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper
Mix all of the above until smooth. SIMPLE!

Classic Maine Lobster Salad (triple this recipe for lobster salad rolls)

1 lobster fully de-shelled and chopped into chunks
1/4 cup of Hellmann's Mayo
1 celery stalk finely diced
1 wedge of lemon squeezed
salt and pepper 
 Mix all of the above. Season to taste and chill. 
When you are ready to serve place the guacamole in a bowl and mound the lobster salad on top. 
Serve with fried wontons, potato chips, crackers, pita chips, rice crackers or whatever you would like. For a low carb appetizer, serve with fresh veggies.
Lobster tricks!

*Don't throw out those lobster legs! There is a  ton of delicious lobster meat in them. Take a rolling pin and roll the meat right out of them. You will be surprised at how much meat comes out.
**If you do not know how to boil a lobster, have your local fish monger do it for you.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roasted Beet, Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnut Salad

Beet Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

5-6 Beets Roasted and sliced
1 Pear thinly sliced
Goat Cheese Crumbled
Toasted Walnuts (1/2 cup or more if you like)
Handful of Mache or Arugula

Arrange the beets and pear on a plate. Sprinkle cheese and walnuts on top. Drizzle with vinaigrette.


1 tbs of Dijon Mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar
Walnut oil
Salt and pepper

In a bowl add in mustard, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix together. Whisk in Walnut oil (about 3tbs) until vinaigrette is emulsified. 

Roasting the Beets
To roast the beets, wash them and place in aluminium foil. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Fold up the foil into a packet and roast for 45 minutes at 400 or until a knife will go through. Let sit for 30 minutes and then peel (you may want to wear gloves).

Toasting the Nuts
Take a dry frying pan and on medium-high heat, add the walnuts. Saute these in the dry pan until you can smell them roasting and immediately take them out. Be careful NOT to burn. Roasting nuts makes all of the difference as well. It brings out a ton a flavor.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Father's Famous Potato Salad!

My father is a great cook and everyone LOVES his famous potato salad. He makes this quite often and has multiple requests to bring this heavenly recipe to various summertime bbq's and parties. My father also does a great job garnishing this dish, which makes this recipe very unique.
He tells me this was my dear Aunt June's recipe who was also a tremendous cook as well. This one is defiantly a keeper!

Johnny O's Famous Potato Salad

5 lbs of potatoes, peeled, cubed into quarters, cooked until soft and cooled
1-2 cups (need to eyeball, may need more or less) Hellmann's mayo (do not use any other brand)
1 large heaping tbs Miracle Whip
2 tbs of fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
2-3 tbs French's Yellow Mustard

1 tbs white vinegar
6-8 hard boiled eggs chopped up (plus 2 more for garnish)
Salt and pepper

1 large tomato cut into quarters or in half zig-zag style
2 hard boiled eggs cut in half
Black and green olives
Paprika (sprinkle)
You can also garnish with cucumber, peperoncini peppers, bell pepper, etc.

In a large bowl, add the cooked potatoes, and all of the listed ingredients. Once you have everything combined and well it's time to garnish.

In a pretty glass bowl, line with lettuce, add the potato salad in the middle. Garnish with tomatoes, olives and hard boiled eggs. Give once last sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top off with Paprika (not too much). Done!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Secret's Wild Orchid - Delicious Jerk Chicken!


1 tbs ground allspice
1tbs dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1  1/2 tbs salt
1 1/2 tsp ground sage
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbs garlic powder or fresh
1 tbs sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup orange juice (or pineapple)
1 lime juiced
1 scotch bonnet pepper (habanero)
3 green onions--finely chopped
1 cup onion---finely chopped
4-6 chicken breasts (you can use the whole chicken or which ever type you prefer)

Seed and finely chop the Scotch Bonnet pepper (keep the seeds if you like EXTRA spicy). Trim the chicken of fat. In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic and sugar. 

With a wire whisk, slowly add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange and lime juice.
Add the Scotch Bonnet pepper, onion and put entire mixture in blender.
Add the chicken, cover and marinate for at least an hour (the longer the better).
Preheat the grill (charcoal if you have it).
Remove the breasts from the marinade and grill until fully cooked. While grilling, baste with the marinade.
Bring the leftover marinade to a boil...this will be your sauce when the chicken is cooked. Very important to BOIL the marinade. 

To serve, slice or chop the chicken into pieces and top with leftover (boiled) marinade as the sauce.

History of Jerk
This method of cooking pork and chicken dates back to the Carib-Arawak Indians who inhabited Jamaica. After capturing an animal and thoroughly cleaning and gutting it, the Indians placed it in a deep pit lined with stones and covered with green wood, which, when burned, would smoke heavily and add to the flavor. But first, the carcass was "jerked" with a sharp object to make holes, which were stuffed with a variety of spices. The holes also allowed heat to escape without the loss of moisture. 
The results were superb. The meat was not only wonderfully spiced, but moist and tender.

Scotch Bonnet Peppers
Also known as "Habaneros" are the hottest of the capsicum peppers, they are truly incendiary. Substitute Thai Chiles if you cannot find them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sole with fresh summer tomatoes

1-2 pounds of fresh Filet of Sole
1 container of Cherry Tomatoes
5 cloves of smashed garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (3-4 tablespoons)
1/4 Finely Chopped Italian Parsley
1/2 cup of White Wine
1 tablespoon of Butter
1/2 Fresh Lemon Juiced and zest
Salt, Pepper, Old Bay and Garlic Powder
Hot Pepper Flakes

Season the sole on both sides with salt, Old Bay,  pepper and garlic powder. In a large saute pan, add olive oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes and butter. Brown the garlic and then add the cherry tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of parsley and lemon and let cook for 5 minutes. Push the tomatoes to the side and add the fish. This cooks super quickly. Cook for one minute and flip over. Add the tomatoes on top, add remaining parsley and wine. Let cook another 5-10 minutes and done!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lemon Garlic Chicken Under a Brick!

1 Whole Roaster Chicken butterflied (cut down the backbone and pressed down)
2 Bricks wrapped in foil
2 Lemons juiced and zested
6 Cloves of smashed garlic
1 cup of fresh Italian parsley
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 of white wine
1 tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)
Generous amount of sea salt, pepper

Mix together the lemon juice, zest, parsley, rosemary, olive oil, wine, salt, pepper and pepper flake. Put your chicken into a deep bowl and add the marinade. Let sit for at least an hour (overnight is always better) and turn occasionally. Once the chicken is fully marinated, sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Nest, fire up your grill. Place the chicken on the grill with the two foil covered bricks on top of the chicken. Cook about 25 minutes on each side or until all juices run clear. Serve on a beautiful platter and sprinkle with additional parsley and freshly squeezed lemon. Enjoy!

Serve this one with my Zucchini Orzo

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Looking for a Unique Side Dish for Easter?

Spinach Gratin

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy Easter!!

Pasteria Rice Pie
1LEMON Juiced (plus zest)
JUICE FROM 1 ORANGE (plus zest)

25 Eggs
1 pound of Italian sausage out of the casing
1/2 pound of boiled ham cubed (ask for this in a chunk from the deli counter)
1/2 pound Prosciutto DE Parma cubed (ask for this in a chunk from the deli counter)
2 tablespoons of fresh mint finely chopped
1/2 cup of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of Romano cheese
1 cup of milk
In a LARGE saute pan, brown the sausage and then add both hams. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, crack all of your eggs and beat them. Add the mint, parsley, cheeses and milk. Mix up.
Put your pan on med heat and add all of the eggs in. You are going to make a "Fritatta" now. Start slowly mixing the eggs with the meats. The whole trick here is that you need to start forming the "Fritatta" into a round circle....once the eggs start to set and feel firm and you have it in the shape of a circle, then you need to find a large plate that fill fit perfectly over the Fritatta. Place the plate on top of the eggs, get a dish towel and flip the Fritatta into the plate so the cooked side is facing up. Slide the raw side back into the pan and cook another 5-10 minutes until it is cooked. Get a clean plate and get the Frittata out of the pan, but sliding it onto the plate or you can flip it again onto the plate. Let this cool down and get into the fridge and let sit overnight. Cut into squares in the morning and serve with the Rice Pie. Divine!