Lavender Buttermilk Fried Chicken

August 6th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the brine

1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 lemons sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lavender leaves and flowers
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of the following herbs, chopped fine: thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram
1 cup salt
2 gallon hot water (no more, possibly less)
2 chickens, cut, 4 breasts, 4 legs, 4 thighs and 4 wings

For the fried chicken

Canola oil
1 quart buttermilk
8 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl or bucket mix together all the herbs and spices with hot water until the salt dissolved fully. Place the chicken parts in the brine and let soak overnight or for about 10-12 hours maximum. Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse in cool water, drain well. Let the chicken dry and rest for at least a half hour making sure to pat dry with paper towels if still moist. Heat two large deep pots with the oil for frying, the oil should register about 320°F. Prepare a baking sheet with paper towels to pace the fried chicken pieces on after cooking.

In a large bowl place the buttermilk and set aside. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and herbs and spices. Set up your bowled flour and buttermilk as well as the chicken in a place close to the pans, this will be your “dipping station”. When the oil is hot enough, place a chicken part in the flour mixture and coat evenly and lightly, shake off excess and dip in the buttermilk and then again in the flour mixture and gain coat well and shake off excess. Place chicken skin side down in the oil and repeat with the other chicken parts as there is room in the pan. Making sure to adjust the heat if necessary to keep the 320°F temperature. Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side a few times for a total cooking time of about 10 minutes per chicken piece, breasts about 12 minutes. The chicken should be a deep copper brown. Place on the baking sheets line with paper towels, skin side down to rest. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Serve!

Fresh Herb Pappardelle with Summer Beans, Tomatoes & Fresh Herbs

August 3rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Ingredients

¼ cup each basil, parsley, mint, tarragon, marjoram, chopped
Plus an additional 1 tablespoon of each for the sprinkle
Olive oil
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups fresh summer shelling beans, shelled and cooked until tender
1 small fennel bulb sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (plus 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (plus 1 tablespoon reserved for garnish)
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Fresh Herb Pasta sheets cut into pappardelle
Salt/pepper
Pecorino cheese for garnish

Directions

Mix pecorino, lemon zest and ¼ fresh herbs together and set aside. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes, sauté for a few minutes. Add the shelled beans and cook for a few minutes. Add fresh herbs and fennel and sauté a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and cook another few minutes. Add wine; simmer 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits. Continue to cook until tomatoes soften, about 3-5 minutes, add lemon juice at the end and mix well. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Cook Fresh pappardelle in boiling water until desired consistency (about 3 minutes) and mix together with sauce and serve garnished with pecorino and fresh herbs.

Lean Grassfed Beef Burger

July 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground beef (grass fed)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tablespoon ground mustard powder
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt/pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and form out patties. Place on wax paper and place in freezer for approximately 10 minutes on each side until hard but not totally frozen. Preheat the grill making sure that it is well oiled and clean. Make sure heat is steady and high while cooking burgers. Do not flip burgers multiple times. The key is to flip the burger once or twice but no more. Minimizing flipping also ensures that the burgers stay well formed. Generally speaking, cook meat for two minutes per side for rare burgers, three minutes per side for medium, and four minutes per side for well done burgers. Top with cheese or the condiments of your choice.

Lavender Buttermilk Fried Chicken

July 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the brine

1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 lemons sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lavender leaves and flowers
½ cup honey
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of the following herbs, chopped fine; thyme, rosemary, savory, marjoram
1  cup salt
2 gallons hot water (no more, possible less)
2 chickens, cut, 4 breasts, 4 legs, 4 thighs and 4 wings

For the fried chicken

Canola oil
1 quart buttermilk
8  cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

In a large bowl or bucket mix together all the herbs and spices with hot water until the salt dissolved fully.  Place the chicken parts in the brine and let soak overnight or for about 10-12 hours maximum.  Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse in cool water, drain well. Let the chicken dry and rest for at least a half hour making sure to pat dry with paper towels if still moist.  Heat two large deep  pots with the oil for frying, the oil should register about 320°F.  Prepare a baking sheet with paper towels to pace the fried chicken pieces on after cooking.

In a large bowl place the buttermilk and set aside.  In another large bowl whisk together the flour, basking powder and herbs and spices.  Set up your bowled flour and buttermilk as well as the chicken in a place close to the pans, this will be your “dipping station”.  When the oil is hot enough, place a chicken part in the flour mixture and coat evenly and lightly, shake off excess and dip in the buttermilk and then again in the flour mixture and gain coat well and shake off excess.  Place chicken skin side down in the oil and repeat with the other chicken parts as there is room in the pan.  Making sure to adjust the heat if necessary to keep the 320°F temperature. Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side a few times for a total cooking time of about 10 minutes per chicken piece, breasts about 12 minutes.  The chicken should be a deep copper brown.  Place on the baking sheets lines with paper towels, skin side down to rest. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Serve!

Herbs de Provence

July 7th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

One of the best dried herb mixes!  Wonderful on grilled meats and fish and breads. A fresh version is also a heavenly additive to your summer culinary repertoire.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh summer savory, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh lavender flowers
2 tablespoons dried fennel seeds
1 tablespoon salt

Directions

With a mortar and pestle grind up all the herbs and flowers and seeds until a chopped herb paste is made.  Use this on grilled fish or chicken or vegetables!

Zucchini and Marjoram Quiche

June 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6-9

Ingredients

1¼ unbleached all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
6 eggs
2 small zucchinis, sliced thin
½ cup red onions, sliced thin
½ cup fresh marjoram leaves
Salt/pepper
1 cup half and half
¼ cup gruyere cheese, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

For the crust

In a bowl combine flour and salt. Add butter. Using a wooden spoon and your hands, mix until coarse meal forms. Add 4 tablespoons ice water. Mix until dough comes together in moist clumps, adding more ice water if dough becomes too dry and won’t form into a ball. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least one hour. Roll out and form crust and bake in a 350° preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

For the quiche

Mix eggs, cream, salt and pepper and fresh herbs. Blend well. Add cheese. Add the majority of the zucchini and onions saving a few pieces of each for the top. Pour batter into pie crust and place a few leftover zucchini and onions on top for aesthetics. Bake for 45 minutes at 350° or until golden brown on top and/or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Herbed Gremolata

May 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes approximately ½ cup

Ingredients

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped superfine
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon maldon salt
½ teaspoon red chili flakes

Directions

In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.

Spring Herbal Osso Bucco & Herbed Gremolata

May 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4-6

This lovely & lively dish is perfect for a chilly spring day, perfectly fresh yet warming with loads of fresh herbs and spring vegetables.

Ingredients

4-6 cross-cut veal shanks (osso bucco tied with kitchen string)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped fine
¼ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 sprigs onions, whites and green parts, chopped fine
1 medium carrot, chopped fine
1 small fennel bulb, cut in half and sliced thin
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped fine
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken or onion broth
3 plum tomatoes, chopped medium
1 cup fresh peas
Herbed Germolata (recipe follows)

Directions

Tie the veal shanks up with the kitchen twine so that the shanks stay together. In a small mixing bowl mix the flour and mint and season with salt. Dredge the osso buco in the flour until they are all coated. In a large dutch oven or le creuset bring the oil to a medium high heat. Brown the osso buco on all side or about 2 minutes on each. Take out of the pan and set aside. Sauté the garlic, onions and lemon zest for a few minutes or until translucent. Add the carrots and the fennel and sauté a few more minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and add the herbs. Mix well and continue to sauté a few more minutes. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne and add the herbs. Mix well and continue to sauté. Add the wine and stir well removing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes and stir well. Add the veal shanks to the pot and cover with the vegetables and juice. Turn the burner to low and cook for about 30 minutes. Add the peas and cook another 5 minutes. Take off heat and serve on its own, with pasta, polenta or rice and topped with the herbed gremolata.

Herbed Gremolata

Makes approximately ½ cup

Ingredients

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped superfine
3 tablespoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon maldon salt
½ teaspoon red chili flakes

Directions

In a small mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.

Italian Wedding Soup with Spring Greens and Italian Herb Gremolata

April 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

For chicken pesto meatballs

1 pound ground chicken
1 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ cup pine nuts, chopped
8-9 cloves garlic, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 egg

For the soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
6 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, chopped small
2 celery ribs, chopped small
1 fennel head, chopped small
Parmesan rind
3 cups baby spinach
1 cup Ditalini pasta, or other small-shaped pasta
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
Italian Herb Gremolata, recipe follows

DIRECTIONS

For chicken pesto meatballs

In a large bowl, using your hands to combine ground chicken, basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, and chili flakes until mixed well. Add the egg, and gently bind together. Form into 1-inch balls. Roll about a tablespoon of the mixture into balls and set aside.

For the soup

In a large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Cook onions until soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and red chili flakes, cook 1 minute more. Add chicken stock, carrots, celery fennel, and parmesan rind. Increase heat and bring to a boil, drop in chicken meatballs, lower heat to a simmer and cook, 15 minutes. Add pasta and continue to cook till vegetables are tender, meatballs are cooked through, and pasta is cooked, about 7 minutes. Add spinach and cook, 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and serve drizzled with mixed herb gremolata.

Italian Herb Gremolata

Makes approximately ½ cup

INGREDIENTS

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped fine
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped superfine
3 tablespoons lemon zest

Spicy Italian Sausage

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 9 sausages

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds pork butt, cubed into ½-inch cubes
½ pound pork fat, chunk bacon or fatback
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Casings, of your choice

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl very well and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Using the finest blade of the meat grinder, grind the mixture following grinder instructions. If you are making or using the meat without the casing go right to that step. If you are making links put the mixture back in the mixing bowl and place in the freezer for a little while. In the meantime soak the casings in warm water and rinse a few times. Get out your sausage stuffer and slip the casing onto the stuffing tube, making sure you leave about 6 inches off the end of the tube, this is the part that you will need to tie the sausages off. Remove the meat from the freezer and stuff it into the stuffer, if all the meat does not fit leave what will not fit in a bowl in the refrigerator. Turn the stuffer on and begin the process, air will be the first thing to emerge. As the meat begins to slide out use one hand to maneuver the speed of the sausage output. Let the sausage emerge into one long coil, the links will be tied later in the process. When the sausage is done, turn off the machine and tie up the ends, you can use kitchen twine. To make the links, pinch a section together, then spin the links and turn them opposite from each other several times, repeat this moving down the entire main link. Make sure both ends are tied off. Hang the links up so you can review for air bubbles, using a sterilized pin or sewing needle, pop each section that has an air bubble with the pin and the link should move flat and the air bubble should be resolved. Hang the links for about an hour and then refrigerate them covered in the refrigerator overnight, use them or freeze them in about a week.

Sundried Tomato & Herb Chicken Sausage Pizzas

April 23rd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 3 10-inch pizzas

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless & skinless chicken breasts, cubed
½ pound pork fat, cubed (optional)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
½ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped fine
2 tablespoons salt
Casings, of your choice
Canola or olive oil
Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
Fresh Tomato or Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
Cheese, of choice
Fresh baby spinach or arugula

DIRECTIONS

Mix all the sausage ingredients in a large bowl, and refrigerate, about 2 hours. Using the finest blade on your meat grinder, grind all of the ingredients, following the instructions. Once the mixture is ground, place in the freezer. Meanwhile, soak the casings in warm water, and rinse a few times. Using your sausage stuffer, slip the casing onto the stuffing tube, making sure you leave about 6 inches off the end of the tube – this is where you will need to tie the sausage off later. Remove the meat from the freezer, and place it in the body of the sausage stuffing machine. If all the meat does not fit (you must acquit, just kidding), place the rest back in the refrigerator until you are ready for more. Turn the machine on, and begin the process – air will be the first thing to emerge. As the meat begins to slide out, use one hand to maneuver the speed of the sausage output. Let the sausage emerge into one long coil – the links will be tied later in the process. When the sausage is done, turn off the machine, and tie up the ends – you can kitchen twine. To make individual links, pinch a section together, then spin the links, and turn them opposite from each other several times, repeat this moving down the entire main link. Hang the links up so you can review for air bubbles. Using a sterilized pin or sewing needle, pop each section that has an air bubble with the pin, and the link should move flat and the air bubble should be released. Hang the links for about an hour, and then refrigerate them covered in the refrigerator overnight. Use them or freeze them within about a week (in other words, use it, or lose it).

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the sausages on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 4-5 minutes turning once or until browned. Remove from oven and slice into 1 inch slices for pizza topping.

Place already rolled out pizza dough on a baking sheet and top with pizza sauce, cheese of choice, spinach or arugula and sliced sausage. Place in oven and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.

Pizza Dough

Makes 3 (10 inch) pizzas

INGREDIENTS

1 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
2½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Dried herbs (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl gently mix the warm water, yeast and honey until frothy and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute for activation of the yeast. In a separate large mixing bowl combine the flour and salt and any optional dried herbs: oregano, basil, etc. Mix well. Slowly combine the yeast mixture to the flour mixture mixing well until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until very smooth and elastic adding more flour if needed. Knead for about 8-10 minutes. In a lightly oiled bowl, preferably ceramic or stainless steel, place dough covered with greased plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft free location for about 1-2 hours or until the dough doubles in size. Flatten the dough to desired size shape and thickness – thin, thick, or regular.

Fresh Tomato or Pizza Sauce

Makes approximately 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

6 medium tomatoes, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, chopped
½ medium yellow onion, chopped
½ cup red wine
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1½ cup fresh oregano, chopped (reserve ½ cup)
1 cup fresh basil, chopped

DIRECTIONS

In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, add tomatoes, garlic, onions, red wine, red chili flakes, dried oregano, salt, pepper and fresh herbs and bring to a boil. Place on low simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring regularly until all tomatoes are broken down. With a hand held food processor blend all ingredients in the pot until smooth and all ingredients are well blended. Skins are included in the sauce as they give a very rustic look and texture. Cook blended sauce on low for another 20 minutes, until thick and reduced. Season with more salt (if needed) and finish with remaining fresh oregano.

Nissa’s Lasagna

April 19th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes one large lasagna

Ingredients

Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 medium yellow, onions, chopped small
2 medium carrots, chopped small
2 medium green zucchini, chopped small
1 cup broccoli florets, cut super small
4 medium tomatoes, chopped small
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved)
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup red wine
Salt/pepper
Lasagna noodles (cooked or fresh)
4 cups fresh spinach
1 ½ cups feta cheese, crumbled
1 ½ cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 cups fresh mozzarella

Directions

In a large soup pot, over medium high heat, add oil. Cook onions and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add the zucchini, broccoli and tomatoes and reduce heat to a medium simmer. Add the fresh herbs (making sure to reserve some for the end). Add the tomato sauce and red wine, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool a bit before assembling lasagna.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large casserole dish, place a layer of lasagna noodles (cooked or fresh) down first, then spread a little sauce over the noodle. Add a layer of fresh spinach and then a layer of sauce, followed by a little bit of each cheese. Repeat the layers until the dish is filled. The top layer should end in a noodle covered with sauce and cheese, mostly the pecorino in order to make it nice and crusty.

Place lasagna in the oven and bake for about 45-60 minutes or until the top is crusty brown. Allow the lasagna to sit and rest about 20 minutes before serving.

Spicy Horseradish Herb Pretzels

February 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 12-15 medium pretzels

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1½ cups warm water
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh horseradish, grated
2 tablespoons of each of the following fresh herbs, chopped: thyme, marjoram, chives, parsley, tarragon
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped fine, for garnish
Pretzel salt

DIRECTIONS

Mix together sugar, yeast and water in a metal or glass mixing bowl until frothy. Let sit until foamy, about 5-7 minutes. In another large mixing bowl combine flour and salt.

Whisk together 4 cups flour and 1 tablespoon table salt in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture, horseradish and herbs and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms into a soft dough. Gently dust a smooth flat work surface with flour, turn out dough and knead gently, using enough additional flour to make a smooth sticky dough, about 10 minutes (Dough needs to be somewhat sticky to facilitate rolling and forming into pretzels).

Place dough back into the bowl and cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, let dough sit in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface and cut into 12-15 equal pieces. Using your palms, roll 1 piece back and forth on a clean dry work surface into a rope about 12″ long. If dough sticks to your hands, lightly dust them with flour. Twist dough into a pretzel shape. (Dough will retract as you form the pretzel.)

Transfer pretzel with your hands to an oiled or lined with parchment paper baking sheet and place all the formed pretzels about 2 inches apart on all sides.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Let pretzels stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Bring a wide 6-quart pot of water to a boil.

Using both hands, carefully add a few pretzels, 1 at a time, to boiling water and cook, turning over once with tongs, until pretzels are puffed and shape is set, about 3 minutes. Transfer parboiled pretzels to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining pretzels.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper, then arrange pretzels on sheet. Brush pretzels lightly with some of egg and sprinkle with pretzel salt and chives. Bake until golden brown and lightly crusted, about 35 minutes. Cool 15 minutes, then serve warm.

Fall Stuffed Mushrooms

December 16th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Makes 40 stuffed mushrooms

INGREDIENTS

40 medium sized crimini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tablespoon of each of the following fresh herbs: thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage, marjoram; chopped fine
½ medium tart apple, cored and chopped fine
½ cup walnuts, chopped fine
½ cup kashi whole grain nuggets cereal or whole wheat bread crumbs
¼ cup asiago cheese, shredded finely
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Gently separate mushrooms caps from stems and place cap-side down on a baking sheet. Next, chop stems super fine and set aside. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and olive oil. Sauté shallots and garlic and cook, 5 minutes. Add the herbs, apple, mushroom stems, and walnuts and cook, 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and place all ingredients in a bowl. Add kashi cereal or bread crumbs and asiago cheese. Mix well. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Using a teaspoon, stuff mushroom caps until full. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Spicy Italian Sausage Baked with Tomatoes & Potatoes

December 6th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6 (makes 6-9 sausages)

INGREDIENTS

For the Sausage

2 pounds pork butt, cubed into ½-inch cubes
½ pound pork fat, slab bacon, or fatback
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Casings of your choice

For the Baked Sausage Dish

6-9 spicy Italian sausage
2 medium sized green peppers, seeds and pit removed, cut into long strips
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into wedges
1 can (28-ounces) crushed tomatoes
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon salt

PREPARATION

For the Sausages

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl very well, and refrigerate for about 2 hours. Using the finest blade on your meat grinder, grind all of the ingredients, following the instructions. If you are making links, put the mixture back in the mixing bowl, and place in the freezer for a little while. Meanwhile, soak the casings in warm water, and rinse a few times. Using your sausage stuffer, slip the casing onto the stuffing tube, making sure you leave about 6 inches off the ened of the tube- this is where you will need to tie the sausages off later. Remove the meat from the freezer, and place it in the body of the sausage stuffing machine. If all the meat does not fit (you must acquit, just kidding), place the rest back in the refrigerator until your are ready. Turn the mahcine on, and begin the process- air will be the first thing to emerge. As the meat begins to slide out, use one hand to maneuver the speed of the sausage output. Let the sausage emerge into one long coil- the links will be tied later in the process. When the sausage is done, turn off the machine, and tie up the ends- you can use meat or butchers twine. To make individual links, pinch a section together, then spin the links, and turn them opposite from each other several times; repeat this moving down the entire main link. Hang the links up so you can review for air bubbles. Using a sterilized pin or sewing needle, pop each section that has an air bubble with the pin, and the link should move flat and the air bubble should be released. Hang the links for about an hour, and then refrigerate them covered in the refrigerator overnight. Use them or freeze them within about a week (or lose it).

For Baked Sausage Dish

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place in an oven proff baking dish with a lid, and bake for about 1 hour or until potatoes are soft.

Sicilian Style Herbed Meatballs

November 30th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

For the Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, ground
8-9 cloves garlic, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh basil, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
½ cup fresh oregano, chopped fine (2 tablespoons reserved for sauce)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
1-3 teaspoons red chili flakes (for spicier meatballs use 3 teaspoons)
½ cup pine nuts, chopped fine
½ cup currants
½ cup Kashi Whole Grain Nuggets or Grape Nuts (substitute with breadcrumbs)
2 eggs, beaten
Olive oil

For the Sauce

Olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped fine (reserved from above)
2 tablespoons each fresh parsley, basil, marjoram, and oregano, chopped fine (reserved from above)
2 pounds plum tomatoes, diced fine
½ cup red wine
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper

PREPARATION

To make the meatballs, mix ground beef and ground sausage with garlic, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, and chili flakes.
Use hands to mix well and combine ingredients. Make sure the mixture is well blended. Add the chopped pine nuts, Kashi cereal, and the currants. Again, mix very well using hands. Add the beaten eggs, and mix until all ingredients are well combined and moistened by the eggs. The eggs should cause the mixture to bind together.

Form mixture into about 1 to 1¼-inch balls, and set aside.

In a large and deep heavy bottom pan, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on high heat. Sauté meatballs in batches until all are well browned. Then, transfer them to another plate with paper towels to absorb any grease.

After all the meatballs are cooked, lower the temperature of the same pan, and add another tablespoons of olive oil if necessary. Sauté the garlic until translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and tomatoes, stirring well to loosen the meatball scraps from the bottom of the pan. Add the red wine, salt, and pepper, again stirring to deglaze the pan. Bring to a low boil for about 5 minutes. Turn to low heat, and add the meatballs to the sauce, stirring gently until the meatballs are covered by the tomato mixture. Cook on low temperature for approximately 30 minutes, making sure you stir gently every few minutes being careful not to break apart the meatballs.

Serve over polenta or pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese!

The alternative to sautéing meatballs is to bake them in a 375°F oven for approximately 30 minutes, until browned and cooked through. Follow the same directions as above for the sauce.

Leek and Mushroom Frittata

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks, green part removed, chopped and cleaned
1 lb crimini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
10 eggs
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt
Freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350ËšF.

In a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, leeks and mushrooms and sauté until tender and golden, 10 minutes. In a small bowl, beat eggs and add herbs, parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Turn cast iron pan down to medium and pour in eggs and start to move eggs around to start cooking them, once eggs start to set, place pan in the oven until eggs set, about 15 minutes. If eggs are still runny on top, turn on broil and cook for 3 more minutes.

Sheppard’s Pie

November 22nd, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 1 Pie, serving about 6-8

This mashed potato crusted “pot pie” is brought to us by the British and their love of rich protein filled dishes in the dead of cold damp winters.

INGREDIENTS

1-2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped
1½ pounds lean ground beef
1 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped fine
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons of the following fresh herbs, chopped fine: parsley leaves, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves, marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt/black pepper
2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup fresh chives, chopped fine for use; 1 tablespoon saved for garnish

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat, and cook garlic and onions until slightly cooked or translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the carrots and parsnips, and cook another few minutes. Next add the ground beef, and sauté until it is fully browned, around 4 to 5 minutes. Drain off fat and add crimini mushrooms, sauté for a few minutes and next add the frozen or fresh peas and the herbs. Mix in tomato paste, season with salt and pepper and place on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water until tender. Strain and add butter, buttermilk and salt. Mash the potatoes until very smooth. Mix in the chives and set aside 1 tablespoon for garnish. Place the meat mixture in a lightly greased round glass pie dish or deep ceramic casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes over the top evenly and sprinkle with chives. Bake until the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm.

Fresh Herb Pasta

November 19th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (total) chopped fine, basil, parsley, tarragon, mint, marjoram, chives
1 teaspoon salt

Directions

To make dough in a processor:

Blend flour, egg, and salt in a food processor until mixture just begins to form a ball (dough should be firm and not sticky). Process dough for 15 seconds more to knead it. Transfer to a floured surface and let stand, covered for about 30 minutes for the dough to relax.

To make dough by hand:

Mound flour on a work surface, preferably wooden, and make a well in center. Add egg and salt. With a fork, gently beat eggs and water until combined. Gradually stir in enough flour to form a paste, pulling in flour closest to egg mixture and being careful not to make an opening in outer wall of well. Knead remaining flour into mixture with your hands to form dough, adding more water drop by drop if dough is too dry (dough should be firm and not sticky). Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Roll pasta:

Divide dough into 8 pieces, then flatten each piece into a rough rectangle and cover rectangles with an inverted large bowl. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Follow directions on pasta maker to roll and cut the desired pasta.

Apple Cider Gravy with Ginger Apple Bits

November 19th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

Makes 2 cups of gravy

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 medium shallots, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 cup tart apples, chopped fine
1½ tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped super fine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram, chopped fine
½ tablespoon fresh sage, chopped fine
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1 cinnamon stick
2 fresh bay leaves
1 cup apple cider
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons apple brandy or Lairds applejack (optional)
½ cup heavy whipping cream

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 400ËšF.

In a medium sauté pan, heat butter and oil over medium high heat. Sauté shallots and garlic and cook, 5 minutes. Next, add apples and ginger, cook 3 minutes longer. Remove 2 tablespoons of the mixture and place on a lined baking sheet and place in the oven and cook until until crispy, 7 to 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the fresh herbs, nutmeg, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, apple cider, chicken broth and apple brandy to the rest of the sauté mixture, combine and cook, 30 minutes or until liquid is reduced by a quarter. Remove pan from heat and add heavy whipping cream and add cooked crispy apple bits.

Spinach and Fresh Herb Risotto

November 9th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

2 cups water
1 cup vegetable broth
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups baby spinach
½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh marjoran, chopped
1½ cup Arborio rice
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup Asiago cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

PREPARATION

In a medium sized saucepot heat water and vegetable broth until warm and simmer while making risotto. In a separate large saucepot, sauté onions and garlic in oil until translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add spinach and herbs and sauté, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add rice, cook stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Next add white wine and reduce until rice absorbs all the liquid, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add ½ cup liquid, reduce liquid and then add another ½ cup liquid every 7 minutes or so until rice is cooked through and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat, finish with butter and cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Romano Beans with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Tapenade

October 13th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Romano beans, cleaned and cut into 3 inch sections (steamed to aldente)
1 pint cherry tomatoes (all different varieties) lightly grilled and sliced in half
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Juice of one lemon
¼ cup olive oil
Sea Salt course
Cracked Black Pepper
Olive Tapenade (recipe follows)

PREPARATION

Mix beans, tomatoes and garlic in a large salad bowl. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice and toss well, season with salt and pepper and serve drizzling a little olive tapenade atop each serving.

Black Olive Tapenade

Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup nicoise olives, pitted
1 anchovy fillet
2 tablespoons capers
1 clove garlic
¼ up chopped herb (basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, marjoram)
¼ cup olive oil
Salt/pepper

PREPARATION

Mix all ingredients in a blender or with a hand held processor until coarsely ground.

Romano Beans with Grilled Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic and Olive Tapenade

Late Summer Garden Chicken and Herbed Dumplings

October 13th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Wine Pair: White & Red

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 cloves, garlic, chopped fine
1 medium red onion, chopped small
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch strips, lightly dusted with whole wheat flour
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 stalks of celery, chopped small
2 medium carrots, chopped small
1 medium turnip, cubed small
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
â…“ cup white wine (use the wine you choose for the wine pairing)
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup of the following herbs destemmed and chopped: parsley, thyme, marjoram, chives
2 fresh bay leaves (if not, substitute dry)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup fresh spinach
Herb Dumplings*

PREPARATION

In a large heavy bottom stew skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Sauté garlic and onions for a few minute until translucent. Add chicken and green onions and sauté until chicken is browned or about 3 minutes. Add celery, carrots, turnips and salt and pepper. Deglaze pan with white wine and add chicken stock and herbs, including bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn to low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Meanwhile, put together dumplings, see recipe that follows). Add the cream, nutmeg, cayenne and spinach. Drop spoon full’s of dumpling dough over the top of the soup and let cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, uncovered and not stirring, until dumplings are cooked through.

Dumplings

INGREDIENTS

1 cup flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed very small
½ cup cold milk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

PREPARATION

In a mixing bowl combine dry ingredients and stir well. Add butter and using fingers make a crumbly mixture. Add milk, cayenne and herbs and mix well, adding more flour if needed in order to make a slightly sticky but manageable dough.

Indian Summer Ratatouille

October 13th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6 – 8

Prep Time : 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour (very little if any attention during this time)
Wine Pair: Red

INGREDIENTS

Olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
3 bell peppers (1 yellow, 1 red, 1 orange), chopped medium
3 medium zucchini, chopped medium
1 medium fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 medium to small eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 medium carrot, chopped small
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper, cracked finely
1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
4-5 medium sized tomatoes, chopped medium
¼ cup of each of the following fresh herbs : marjoram, oregano, basil, chopped fine
â…“ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped fine
¼ – ½ cup of red wine (the wine you choose for the pairing)
Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish

PREPARATION

In a heavy bottom stew pan heat olive oil to medium heat, sauté garlic and onions for about a minute or two until slightly translucent. Add the bell peppers, and sauté another minute or two. Add the zucchini, fennel, eggplant and carrots and sauté a few more minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir well, add chili flakes if desired and half of all the herbs. Add tomatoes and wine and mix well, turn down heat to low and let simmer stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes. Add the remaining herbs and take off heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Serve over polenta, pasta or just as vegetable stew!

Orzo Marjoram Pasta Salad

October 11th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups cooked orzo pasta
½ cup chopped calamata olives
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped fresh marjoram
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ cup crumbled feta cheese

PREPARATION

Mix together all ingredients except cheese and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, add cheese and mix gently.

Orzo Marjoram Pasta Salad

Chicken Cacciatore

October 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
2 chicken wings, skin on, bone in
Sea salt
Black pepper
½ cup flour (for dredging)
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
1 medium yellow onion, chopped medium
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped medium
2 medium carrots, chopped medium
2 ribs of celery, chopped fine
½ cup fresh oregano, chopped fine
½ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine
½ cup fresh basil, chopped fine
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
¼ cup of each reserved for the end
½ cup dry white wine
1 large (28-ounce) can peeled whole tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock

PREPARATION

Season chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. In a heavy bottom 5-Qt pot heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté chicken until brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. You can do the chicken in two batches if need be, take chicken out and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, and add garlic and onion, sauté until the garlic and onions are tender and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add bell peppers, carrots, and celery, and continue to sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add half of all herbs and sauté just until coated. Add the wine and remove any little bits and pieces stuck to bottom of the pan. Add the tomatoes, squishing them with your fingers to break apart whole tomatoes. Add chicken stock, stir well. Add the chicken and mix well. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Add remaining herbs and take off heat. Remove any excess oil or fat floating on the top of the sauce with a spoon. Serve over Herbed polenta.

Herbed Tapenade

October 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 15

INGREDIENTS

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
1 yellow pepper, chopped fine
1 orange pepper, chopped fine
1 cup black olives, chopped fine
1 cup walnuts, chopped fine
1 small jar capers
3 small anchovy fillets
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh marjoram, chopped fine
½ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

PREPARATION

Mix in a food processor until blended well. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.

Marjoram Tomato Mac & Cheese

December 19th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 pound medium shell macaroni
¼ cup butter
¼ cup unbleached white flour
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated
¾ cup fresh marjoram, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Cook until al dente. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat, melt butter and then add flour, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, then decrease heat to medium to bring to a simmer, continuing to whisk. The mixture will begin to thicken. Then, add cheese and continue to whisk until melted, about 6-8 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir well and take off heat. Add the tomatoes and marjoram, stir well. Add the pasta to the melted cheese and the fresh herbs and mix well. Serve.

Sarsuela

December 14th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

PREPARATION

Sarsuela is a seafood medley and is the variety show of Catalan food. It can contain any combination of different types of white fish, prawns, shrimp, squid, mussels, clams, crayfish or lobster with lots of fresh herbs like oregano, thyme and marjoram. All of these ingredients are combined in a casserole with olive oil, tomato, lemon, paprika, white wine, sherry and other spices. Yum.

Mediterranean Fish Rub

October 25th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

INGREDIENTS

¼ c chopped fresh oregano
¼ c chopped fresh basil
¼ c chopped fresh marjoram
3 T mixed cracked pepper berries
2 T grey sea salt
zest and juice of 2 lemons
1 T olive oil

PREPARATION

Mix all ingredients in a mortar and pestle and rub on fish before grilling or baking. This is also wonderful on broccoli.

Marjoram Cornbread

October 24th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink

INGREDIENTS

3 t butter, softened
1 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1 ½ t salt (try one of the herb-flavored salt recipes in this issue if you dare!)
¾ c cornmeal
1 T sugar
1 c milk
2 eggs
3 T fresh marjoram, chopped
4 T butter, melted

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375° F. Butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Sift all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir just until all the ingredients are moistened. Stir in the marjoram and melted butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until the cornbread is lightly browned and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan before cutting and serving.

Marjoram Orzo Salad

October 13th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink

pics 097

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups orzo pasta, cooked aldente
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
½ cup green onions, sliced thin
½ fresh marjoram leaves, chopped fine
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper

Directions

Mix together all ingredients except cheese and let stand before eating at least ½ hour. Just before serving add cheese and mix gently.

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