recipe: deviled eggs

May 7th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Appetizers | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This appetizer reminds me of my youth.  A staple treat when appetizer’s seemed to be much simpler.  I really enjoyed revisiting this wonderful egg concoction.  A perfect snack!

This recipe is derived from April Bloomfield’s… most recipes are similar.



• 6 hard boiled eggs peeled
• 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise (You can replace 1 tbsp with Creme Fraiche.)
• 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
• 1 tbsp of champagne vinegar
• Dash of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper


• Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, scoop out the yolks into a small food processor.

• Add mayonnaise and blend, then add champagne vinegar, mustard and Crème Fraiche.

• Add salt & pepper to taste.

• Chill the yolk mixture and egg whites for approx. 30 minutes.

• Spoon mixture into each egg white.

• Add chopped green onions, a bit of bacon or chopped chives.

• Sprinkle with cayenne pepper or paprika if you don’t like the heat.





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recipe: rhubarb bread

May 1st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I love spring for many reasons and one is fresh rhubarb.  I am a fan of anything involving this vegetable that really I use as a fruit.  Yesterday I was given a large bunch of fresh rhubarb from the garden.  After work I immediately had to go make something!  My initial thought was strawberry rhubarb pie or crisp.  I wasn’t having guests and I knew if I made either of those desserts I would probably consume most of the calories.  So I decided on bread and muffins.  I could easily freeze the bread (which doesn’t always stop my noshing) and the muffins would make a quick breakfast.

I was intent on making this bread a bit healthier.  So I added and switched a few ingredients.  The rhubarb is the star making this bread moist and sweet with a bit of tartness.  You don’t have to add the topping as the bread is still good without it.


• ½ cup of skim milk
• ½ cup of cream
• 1 ½ tablespoons of lemon juice
• 1 ½ cups of brown sugar
• 2/3 cup of vegetable oil
• 1 large egg
• 2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
• ¼ cup of milled flax seed
• 2 tablespoons of wheat germ
• 1 tsp of salt
• 1 tsp of baking soda
• 2 cups of chopped rhubarb
• ½ cup of chopped walnuts (or pecans)

• ¼ cup of brown sugar
• ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon of butter


• Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

• Grease two 9×5 loaf pans or use muffin tins (I used one loaf pan and had 6 large muffins).

• In a small bowl mix the milk, cream, and lemon juice… set aside for 10 minutes.

• Mix together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, and the egg.

• Combine the dry ingredients, and then mix part of the dry ingredients into the sugar             mixture alternating with the milk mixture until all is combined.

• Put into greased loaf pan or muffin tin.

• Mix the next 3 ingredients and sprinkle the mixture over the unbaked batter.

• Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes for the bread loafs. It takes much less       time for the muffins, approx 20 minutes. Use a toothpick to test; if the center comes out       clean the bread is done.




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recipe: lahmajoon (armenian pizza)

April 26th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (2 Comments)

Lahmajoon is really an Armenian pizza without cheese or tomato sauce.  Growing up this was one of my favorite meals.  I keep these in my own freezer for a quick snack or meal.  My girlfriend and I had a long day working with clients and we stopped at the house for a quick “nosh”.  I offered up the lahmajoon and the pizza idea sounded great to her.  I quickly heated up one for each of us and we were on our way.  My girlfriend loved the meal and was curious as to what was in it.  I said “lamb” of course!  Well she doesn’t eat lamb so she was surprised and slightly unnerved.  What I didn’t realize was that 40% of Americans have never even tried lamb.  Again this is a staple meat for my family.  She survived her encounter and actually liked the lamb pizza!  But for all of you who don’t eat lamb you can make this with ground beef.

I learned to make these from my grandmother.  She would stack 6 together and freeze them.  She would make about 50-60 so there was always food to serve.  The morning started with getting the dough ready, then mid-morning we would watch her roll out the circle of dough so fast your head would spin.

When she added the whole tomatoes to the meat mixture she squeezed them by hand, no food processor.  The tomatoes became part of the luscious lamb that rested on the crisp flat bread.  All the ingredients came from her garden so the peppers, tomatoes, parsley and onions tasted extra special.  I also have added garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the meat.  Do not be tempted to add cheese… there is no need.  I could eat lahmajoon for an appetizer, lunch or dinner.  Usually I serve it with a big salad.  This recipe does take some time but you can make a large batch, freeze a few… you won’t be disappointed.


• 4 ½ cups of sifted flour
• 1 ½ cups of luke warm water
• 1 package of yeast dissolved
• 1 tsp of kosher salt
• ½ tsp of sugar
• ½ cup of vegetable oil


• 1 ½ lbs of finely ground lamb
• 1 large white onion finely chopped
• ½ cup chopped parsley
• 1 green pepper finely chopped
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 small can tomato paste
• 1 14oz can of whole tomatoes



• Mix dough ingredients with sufficient lukewarm water to give a consistency slightly softer     than pie dough.

• Coat hands with vegetable oil and knead dough thoroughly for 12-15 minutes. (Important)

• Cover and permit dough to rise 2-3 hrs, it will double in size.

• While waiting for dough to rise, mix ingredients for meat in order given.

• After the dough has risen divide into 22-24 small egg size pieces, roll in hands and place     on counter or table and cover with a dish towel. Let sit for 10 minutes.

• Roll each round dough mound approximately 6-8 inches in diameter, about the size of         a pancake.

• Spread with your hands a layer of meat mixture on flattened dough.

• Place dough on a greased cookie sheet (or parchment lined sheet).

• Bake until dough is crisp on bottom and meat mixture is cooked. Serve!

• To store, stack lahmajoons between parchment or wax paper then wrap 4-6 together with      foil.  You can freeze for up to 2 months.

• To reheat place on a cookie sheet to warm.   Enjoy!



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I love these cookies!  I certainly will never turn away a great chocolate chip but this cookie may be my next go-to cookie treat.  Momofuku Milk Bar is in New York City; in their cookbook you will discover a whole new world of sweets.  One of the secrets of these cookies is the milk crumbs.  The recipe for those is as follows:



Milk Crumbs


• ½ cup of milk powder
• ¼ cup of flour
• 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
• 2 tablespoons of sugar
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 tablespoons of melted butter
• 1/4 cup milk powder
• 3 oz of melted white chocolate


• Preheat oven to 250°F.

• Combine the first five ingredients in a medium bowl, toss with your hands… add melted       butter and continue to toss using a spatula.  The mixture will start to look like small             cluster/crumbs.

• Spread the clusters on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.  The             crumbs should be sandy and your kitchen should smell amazing.  Cool the crumbs.

• Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than ½ inch and put the crumbs in a           medium bowl.  Add the milk powder and toss together.

• Next poor the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are enrobed.       Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens.  The             crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.




Blueberry & Cream Cookies


• 2 sticks of butter
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• 2/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons of corn syrup (or ¼ cup glucose)
• 2 eggs
• 2 cups of flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ recipe of milk crumbs
• ¾ cup dried blueberries


• Combine first 4 ingredients in medium speed mixer for 2-3 minutes.

• Scrape sides of bowl and add eggs one at a time, beat for 7-8 minutes till creamy.

• Reduce speed and add dry ingredients.  While still on low speed add milk crumbs and         then blueberries.

• Using an ice cream scoop put rounds of batter on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

• Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for about an hour.

• Preheat oven to 350°F.

• Keep cookies about 4 inches apart on cookie sheet and back, they will crackle and             spread.  They should be browned slightly on the outside and creamy yellow in the center.

• Cool completely on the cookie sheet… Enjoy!!!!



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recipe: armenian pilaf & lahvosh

April 18th, 2012 | Posted by admin in RECIPES | Side Dishes - (3 Comments)

Most American dinner tables accompany a meal with a starch… usually potatoes of some kind.  The staple side dish in our home was pilaf.  We had pilaf with our “lamb burgers” not fries!  It is quick, easy and delicious.  I always have these ingredients in my pantry for a side dish.  The bread is an Armenian flat bread.  My grandmother would make this, stacking flat rounds of bread a foot high each in the pantry.  I purchase the bread from “Valley Bakery” in Fresno, CA.  They call the bread Valley Lahvosh, original Armenian Sesame Seed Cracker Bread.  This is the closest bread I have found to my Grandmother’s.  You wet the bread with a spray of water and then wrap it in a clean dish towel.  As kids we had our sandwiches on this softened bread.  I was always slightly embarrassed by my Persian cucumbers and nontraditional sandwich bread, but it was so good.  It also comes in a whole wheat version.  You can order a case and it lasts a while… but in my house it doesn’t last too long!


RECIPE: Armenian Pilaf

• 1 cup of egg noodles
• 6 tablespoons of butter
• Dash of kosher salt
• 2 cups of Uncle Bens white rice.
• 4 cups of chicken broth


• In a medium sauce pan Sauté egg noodles in butter till brown.

• Then add the chicken broth and rice… bring to a boil then turn to low heat and cook until     rice is fluffy approx. 25 minutes.  Keep a close watch.  When you lower the heat keep         pan covered.



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We have an eclectic holiday celebration.  This year we decided on serving lamb for the second night of Passover and my traditional Easter.  Lamb and specifically lamb Shish kabob is my favorite meal.

My dad would cut the lamb himself but I cheated and asked the butcher.  This was my father’s meal… he was the butcher, the prep cook and the chef.  We watched and waited for a taste of luscious lamb sizzling off the skewer.  It was like waiting for a piece of crisp skin when cutting the turkey at Thanksgiving.

The metal skewers we use are from my Grandmother’s kitchen stored in an old bag made from a remnant piece of carpet. The large pan is also from Grandma’s… it serves a crowd. This recipe can easily be doubled and the veggies can stay about the same.

I serve this with a wonderful unleavened Armenian bread you may call lahvosh and Armenian pilaf.  Of course we added salad and fruit.


This really is a complete meal… enjoy!


RECIPE: Armenian Shish Kabob

Serves 6-8

• 5 lbs cubed leg of lamb
• Juice of 3 lemons
• 1 onion diced
• 2 ripe tomatoes diced
• 2 hot banana peppers diced (Use only one if you don’t like the heat!)
• 3 cloves of garlic minced
• Salt and pepper

I ask the butcher to precut my cubed leg of lamb.  I prefer domestic lamb as it is less gamey than New Zealand lamb. Marinate the lamb with the above ingredients.  Then add kosher salt and pepper.  Marinate the day before, this is important to get the best taste.

• 8-10 small ripe tomatoes
• 6 cubanella peppers (sweet peppers)
• 4-6 red peppers
• 4 green peppers
• 4 hot banana peppers
• 8 onions small white or sweet


• Clean the vegetables, cut the peppers in quarters to skewer cleaning out the seeds.

• The next day prepare a “hot” grill.

• Skewer the lamb separately from the veggies… skewer the onions, tomatoes and peppers   each on different skewers.  Have a large covered Dutch oven ready.

• Grill the meat and veggies alternating when done slice off into large pan.  As you do this      you will quarter the onions, and tomatoes.  The mixture will look like stew when                  everything is grilled and in large covered pot put it on the grill at a lower heat to simmer.

• Serve with pilaf and enjoy!


RECIPE: Armenian Pilaf  (Click to Read)


Wine Suggestions for this Meal (Click to Read)


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A night out with good friends, all great cooks, is always the best way to spend an evening.  My dear friend invited us over for a casual meal and basketball games!  As usual our small group seemed to keep growing which just makes the evening all the better.  A group effort, the menu started with steamed artichokes, hummus and veggies.  The crock pot barbecue beer chicken sliders were accompanied by sweet potato fries, kale salad and fruit salad.  I have to note that martini’s, wine and vodka were another side special.  We finished with two different brownie recipes, one a deep chocolate cake-like brownie, oozing with melted morsels, and my best ever Alice Medrich’s chocolate, almost caramel like fudgy,             classic brownies.



RECIPE: Sweet Potato Fries

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Slice and cut three large sweet potatoes into fries.

• Place on cookie sheet, do not overlap fries.

• Drizzle with canola or olive oil and kosher salt.

• Bake for 15 minutes, then toss fries to get all sides crisp… when they look cooked on all     sides remove from oven.



RECIPE: Kale Salad  (Click to Read)


RECIPE: Best Brownies Ever  (Click to Read)


RECIPE: Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken  (Click to Read)



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recipe: vodka bolognese

March 31st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I had a mishap unpacking my groceries, as I opened the trunk of my SUV my grocery bag came crashing out and the new sauce I wanted to try splattered all over my garage floor.  I thought I’d cheat a little, make a pasta, add a few spices to it… dinner would be quick!  Well it was a great plan but now I had to make my own sauce.  So I quickly sauteed 3 minced garlic cloves in tablespoon of olive oil, with a ½ tsp of red pepper flakes.  I chopped up a cup of shitake mushrooms (caps only) and 1 small diced onion, added that to the garlic.  I cooked for approx. 2-3 minutes until the onions were translucent.  I then added 1 pound of grass feed ground beef and browned.  My next addition was a large 15 oz can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, 1 cup of fresh grape tomatoes cut in half, ½ cup of heavy cream, 1/3 cup of vodka, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil.  I let this simmer for about 20 minutes.  I boiled my pasta; I used Barilla Cellentani, a twisted pasta that I love.  The final step was to mix the pasta and sauce and serve.

Everything I used in this recipe was something I had in the house… I just made it up as I went along.  This is the way a fast meal works in my house.  I don’t always follow a recipe but rather work from scratch with whatever I have on hand.  It usually turns out and it’s fun to play with what you have in the house.  Enjoy, remember you can make changes, additions or subtractions… have fun with it!



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recipe: best brownies ever

March 30th, 2012 | Posted by admin in Desserts | RECIPES - (2 Comments)

The absolute best brownie recipe I have found is in the cookbook “Alice Medrich’s Cookies and Brownies”.  Alice Medrich’s brownies are a fudgy, chocolate decadent treat that elevates the normal cake-like brownie to a special dessert.  When making these brownies it is important to use a 13 x 9 metal pan.  I found this one in a cook store in Minneapolis; the brand is “Doughmakers”.  It turns out a perfect tray of brownies every time.  You can serve these brownies with fresh raspberries and whipped cream or caramel sauce and a dollop of vanilla ice cream.  I usually make a tray and keep them in the freezer so I always have a special sweet treat on hand.



Best Ever “New Classic Brownie” by Alice Medrich

I have doubled Alice’s recipe.  Serves 12-24 depending on how you cut them.


• 2 sticks of unsalted butter
• 8 oz of unsweetened chocolate (use semi-sweet and also ½ milk chocolate, it all works)
• 2½ cups of sugar
• 2 teaspoons of vanilla
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup of all-purpose flour
• Optional: 2/3 cups of chopped walnuts or pecans (I have also used cashews)


• Preheat oven to 400 degrees, position rack in lower third of the oven.

• I butter my metal pan and do not use parchment, but the recipe suggests lining the             bottom with parchment.  So try either way.  My pan works well without the parchment.

• First melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler stirring with a wooden spoon.  When   it is melted remove from heat and add the sugar, vanilla and salt.

• Next add the eggs one at a time stirring until each is incorporated into the batter.

• Finally add the flour mixing with a wooden spoon until the batter is glossy and smooth and   it comes away from the sides of the pan.

• Stir in the nuts if you are using.

• Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the   brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.  The surface of the brownies will         look dry but if you use a toothpick the center will be gooey.

• While the brownies are baking take a large baking pan and fill with ice cubes and cold         water about ¾ inches deep.  This is your ice bath and a crucial component to making         these brownies!

• When the brownies are ready take them out of the oven and carefully place the pan in the   ice bath (you do not want to splash water on the brownies).

• Cool the brownies in the ice bath for about ½ hr.

• When cool slice the brownies.  I cut them in squares and then cut them on a diagonal.

• Dust with confectionary sugar and serve.



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I am having a currant fixation… love them in everything.  They add a bit of sweetness, subtle and nice change of texture.  Both these recipes have currants in them so enjoy… use them as substitutes for raisins.  My plan is to make this chicken salad recipe and have it for lunch a few days during the week.  But the day I make it… it’s gone!  The Kale salad lasts another day but I’m not sure they (my family) have discovered how good it is yet.




This recipe is adapted from “Cooking My Way Back Home” by Mitchell Rosenthal.


• Four whole chicken breasts, skinless.  Prepare by either cubing or shredding chicken.  (You can poach and shred the chicken, saute or grill.)
• ½ cup currants (soak in warm water for 6 minutes and drain)
• 2 medium apples, diced
• ½ large fennel bulb, diced
• 4 stalks of celery, diced
• ½ cup of mayonnaise
• ½ cup dry roasted cashews chopped
• 1½ tablespoons of curry powder
• 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (I prefer meyer lemons)
• Salt & pepper to taste


• When your chicken has cooled and it is cubed or shredded mix with above ingredients.

• Mix and serve over mixed greens or on buns with greens.  Enjoy!






• 2 large bunches of Tuscan kale
• ¼ cup dried currants
• 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
• 1/3 cup of shaved parmesan
• 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
• 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
• 1½ tablespoons of honey
• ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
• Salt & pepper to taste


• Clean the Kale and chop do not use the stalks.

• Place in a large bowl.  Add the next three ingredients.

• Whisk together the remaining items… vinegars, honey and olive oil.

• Add salt & pepper to taste.

• Mix with Kale, currants and parmesan.  Ready to serve.

• If you dress the kale it will last for a couple of days.  This is a great healthy side for a           meat entrée, or serve with the chicken salad for lunch.


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