recipe: bean salad

March 27th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Salads - (0 Comments)

I’m cooking today for a client and this is one of our standard salads to have in the fridge for lunch or a side dish.  I made the salad with more of an Italian flavoring but you can change this up with different beans add corn and avocado with a bit of cilantro and you have a great side for fajitas or chiles rellenos.  I enjoy this recipe because it’s easy to make healthy, high in fiber and low in calories.



Serves 6


• 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
• ¼ cup of canola oil
• ¼ cup of olive oil
• 2 cloves of minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
• Salt & Pepper


• 1-15 oz can of white beans
• 1-15 oz can red kidney beans
• 1-15 oz can garbanzo Beans
• ½ can (7.5oz) black beans
• 2 small red peppers seeded and cut in rings
• 2 small yellow peppers seeded & cut in rings
• ½ red onion sliced
• ¼ cup of fresh basil chopped


• Whisk or use an emulsion blender to blend all of the dressing ingredients.

• Rinse and strain beans then mix with peppers, onions and basil.

• Mix in dressing.

• Add salt & pepper to taste.



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My dear friend, who has not yet given me permission to mention her by name, is my companion in all food matters.  When the season starts for fresh produce and outdoor markets we are ready at the crack of dawn with bags and baskets in hand.  Our senses are inspired by the smell of fresh herbs, the variety of the produce and the creativity of the specialty foods for sale.  Since the weather here north of Chicago feels like the southern coast we needed to venture to a market.  We headed farther north where the weather was a bit warmer… go figure!  “Brass Ball Fruit” and “River Valley Kitchens” were our stops today.  It satisfied our urge for fresh market shopping and we revisited old friends that we will see at the outdoor market soon enough.



Known for their homemade pies and breads.  It is a very small open market store.  The pies were “HOT”, fresh from the oven and too hard to resist.  I will be back for bread, pancake mix, syrup, more fresh produce and of course another pie.




We met this vendor at the farmer’s market in Evanston, IL.  They are mushroom farmers and have a selection of mushrooms you don’t find everywhere.  They pickle their mushrooms, make mushroom salsa, mushroom pasta sauce and “Shroomschetta”.  Their 5-cheese Garlic Spread is out of this world.  I use it for pasta sauce, as a dip and love it on burgers!  They have cheeses, homemade scones, fresh eggs, fresh bacon and so much more.  When the markets start I suggest you visit their booth but in the mean time on a lovely Spring day take a ride up to Wisconsin and visit their store.


I have included their “Stuffed Mushroom” recipe:


• 1 pound of medium to large mushrooms
• 2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
• ¼ cup of chopped onion
• 1 small garlic clove minced (I always add another clove)
• 1/3 cup of bread crumbs
• 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley
• ½ tsp of kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon of dried oregano
• Dash of fresh ground black pepper


• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Remove stems from mushrooms, place cap side down in a greased casserole dish.

• Finely chop the stems, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.

• Add chopped stems, onions and garlic to heated oil.  Saute until lightly browned.

• Combine bread crumbs, parsley salt, pepper and oregano in a large bowl.

• Add sauteed mushroom mixture.

• Stuff mushroom caps and bake for 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.



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I have to give the credit for this recipe to a great cookbook “The Family Chef” by Jewels & Jill Elmore. I am not known to follow any recipe to the tee. I changed up the tomatillo sauce because I like it blended raw not cooked. You can season your meat with additional spices. The credit goes to the Elmore sisters. My family is a big fan of these peppers. Give it a try & let me know!

My recipe is a bit different but my inspiration is from their recipe.


Serves 4-6

• 6 Chicken Breast halves, boneless skin on
• Kosher Salt & Pepper
• Dash of Olive Oil
• 8 Poblano Peppers
• ½ cup of chopped cilantro
• 1 sweet onion finely chopped
• 3 ears of corn, kernels removed
• 1 cup of Tomatillo Sauce (recipe follows)
• 3 ½ cups of shredded cheese mixed Cheddar, jack, & cotija


• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Season Chicken with salt & pepper… Roast on a sheet pan with olive oil for 40 min             or until done.

• Roast and Peel the poblanos.

• Then cut a slit down the middle of each pepper and remove the seeds.

• Take the cooled chicken and shred removing the skin.

• Add the onion, cilantro, corn kernels, and tomatillo sauce then add 2cups of shredded         cheese. Use a wooden spoon to mix, add salt & pepper to taste.

• Stuff the roasted peppers with the chicken mix & top with the remaining cheese.

• Put the peppers on a sheet pan & bake for approx 25 minutes.

• If you make these the day ahead then wrap tightly with plastic wrap & take out of fridge to   come to room temperature before heating.



• 8 medium tomatillos husked & cleaned cut into quarters.
• ½ medium sweet onion finely diced
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• 1 large garlic clove minced
• ½ cup cilantro
• ½ avocado
• Juice of 1 lime
• Salt & pepper to taste


• Blend in a food processer and this sauce can be used for everything! Over steak…               to dip… with tacos just be creative.


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recipe: pineapple delight

March 14th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This is a dessert my mom made whenever she had a dinner party.  It brings back memories of wonderful leftovers (hopefully) after all guests departed.  This is where my love of any dessert with a graham cracker crust started.  It is rich but still light… the perfect ending for a special evening.


Serves 6

• 18 graham crackers, crushed
• 2 sticks butter, melted
• ¾ cups of sugar
• 4 tablespoons of corn starch
• 1 cup of water (can use ½ cup of water & ½ cup of pineapple juice)
• 1 cup of crushed pineapple
• 3 egg whites
• 2 cups heavy whipped cream


• Mix graham crackers and melted butter and line the bottom of a square pan with ½ of the     mixture.  Save the other ½ for later.

• Mix the sugar, corn starch, and water together and cook over medium heat until thick.

• Take off heat and let cool.

• Once cooled down, add 1 cup of crushed pineapple.

• Beat the 3 egg whites, then add the pineapple mixture.

• Pour mixture into graham cracker crust. Top with the rest of the graham cracker mixture.

• Refrigerate for an hour.

• Whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and spread on top.



Keep refrigerated.


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recipe: healthy, spicy slaw

March 14th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Salads - (0 Comments)

Serves 4 as a side dish or condiment for sandwiches


• ¼ green cabbage sliced thinly
• ½ red onion cut & sliced thinly
• 1 fennel bulb sliced thinly
• 1-2 jalapeño peppers seeded & thinly sliced into rings
• 1½ cups of cauliflower thinly sliced

• ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
• ½ cup of olive oil or canola
• 2 cloves of garlic minced
• 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
• Dash of kosher salt & pepper


• Mix dressing ingredients, best to use an immersion blender or food processor.

• Combine and mix the slaw ingredients with the dressing.

• Season to taste. Store in an airtight container.


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recipe: stuffed peppers

February 29th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

Since it is spring… I think of Lamb. What can I say, I’m Armenian, so cooking with lamb is like cooking with beef for most people.  I grew up eating leg of lamb, shish kabob, lamb chops, lamb burgers, stuffed peppers with lamb, a lamb soup, and I could go on and on. Today my family requested stuffed peppers. I love to pick a medley of colored peppers red, yellow, orange,  and green. I take my ground lamb and mix with the ingredients listed below.  Then I stuff each pepper about ¾ full with the meat mixture.  Cover with sauce and cook for approximately 45 minutes… until meat is cooked through.  The best thing about this meal is you have your veggies and meat so really it’s a complete meal.


Serves 4-6

• 2lbs of ground lamb
• 1 cup of #1 grain Bulger
• ½ cup of finely chopped parsley
• 1 small white onion finely chopped
• 1 tbl of tomato paste
• Dash of kosher salt & freshly pepper
• 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
• ½ cup of red wine
• White onion sliced in wedges.


• Preheat oven to 350°.

• Cut the tops off the peppers and clean out any seeds, save tops.

• Mix the next 6 ingredients and kneed with your hands. Stuff each pepper with the meat       mixture about ¾ full.

• Place in a deep oven safe dish upright. Place onion slices between the peppers.

• Mix tomatoes & wine… then pour over peppers.

• Place tops on peppers and cook in preheated oven for 45 min. (If you have extra meat         make meatballs and place between the peppers.)




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