recipe: crack slaw

January 27th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This recipe was given to me by a friend, and it works well if you are on a no carb/sugar diet.  My family loved this so the second time I made it I increased the recipe so I had plenty of leftovers!  I have changed the recipe a bit.  If you want to play with the flavors and texture you can always add water chestnuts for crunch and crushed peanuts or cashews.  I change a recipe most every time I make it depending on what I have in my pantry.


• 1½ lbs of ground beef (you can substitute turkey or chicken)
• 2 Tbsp of sesame oil
• 4 minced garlic cloves
• 6 diced green onions
• 16 oz coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Boston Lettuce or smaller cups of lettuce

• ½ tsp sweetener (Truvia)
• 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
• 1½ tsp white vinegar
• 3 Tbsp Tamari Sauce, a gluten free soy sauce
• ½ to 1 tsp of hot sauce (chili paste or Sriracha)



• Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain any fat, and set aside.

• Salt & pepper to taste.

• While the meat is browning, combine all the sauce ingredients.

• Heat up the sesame oil and add the garlic green onions and cabbage until cooked.

• Add the sauce and the ground beef mix well and serve hot with your lettuce cups.

This recipe is so easy and takes only a few minutes to put together so we have been making it quite a bit lately.




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recipe: grilled open face sandwiches

September 18th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

After a morning at Evanston’s Farmers Market, I had fresh arugula, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet onions in my bag.  I had also picked up a loaf of fresh bread, prosciutto, and sliced mozzarella from my favorite small Italian grocery store, Poeta’s in Highwood.  It was a gorgeous day and several people were stopping over, so I decided to make an open face sandwich with all my purchased goodies.

Heat, clean, and oil your grill.  Cut your loaf of bread in half and drizzle it with olive oil.  Place the bread open side down to crisp and grill, being careful not to burn.  Take your bread off the grill and set aside.  Finely dice several cloves of garlic and sprinkle over bread.  Next I cut up all my goodies from the morning shopping trip.  I sliced my tomatoes and onions, washed my arugula, and snipped and diced some fresh basil from my potted garden.  I sliced a ripe avocado (drizzle lime juice over the slices to prevent browning) and sliced the prosciutto and cheese.

Now it’s time to have fun!  I made one sandwich with meat and veggies and one with avocado and veggies.  The important thing to remember is start with a layer of cheese and end with cheese on top.  You can layer your veggies and herbs also adding a dash of kosher salt and cracked pepper.  The next step is to place them back on the grill until the cheese melts being careful not to burn the bread.  Slice and serve!




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Summer means Saturday Farmers Market shopping, and dinner is determined by the fresh veggies I find.  Today it was shiitake mushrooms, arugula, and these amazing garlic bulbs.  I sautéed 2 bulbs of garlic with 2 tbsp of olive oil (note the bulbs have seeds that can be pulled off the bulb and used).  I added 2 cups of cleaned and sliced shiitake mushrooms and 1/3 cup of pine nuts.  Prepare your choice of pasta al dente and set aside.  Save 1 cup of pasta water.  Add 1/2 cup of wine and the mushrooms to a sauté pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add cooked pasta.  Stir in 1/4 cup of pasta water and 1/2 cup shaved parmesan.  Toss and add 1 cup of cleaned arugula.  I like to add fresh lemon zest and the juice of 1 lemon.  You can add any additional veggies that are fresh and tasty!

I have never used this type of garlic before but I loved the color and taste of the little pinkish buds.



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Flank steak is a great summer beef entree.  It’s easy and serves a crowd.  I also served this recipe on the fourth.  The marinade is delicious.  It is based on two recipes, one from Serious Eats and one from Simply Recipes.  Enjoy!


• ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 4 anchovy filets
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons chopped chives
• 1 medium shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
• 1 whole flank steak, about 2 pounds


• Combine Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, anchovies, garlic, mustard, tomato paste, and vegetable oil in a blender and blend until smooth, creamy, and emulsified.

• Transfer 1/3 of marinade to a small container, add chives and shallots, stir to combine, and reserve.

• Place flank steak inside a gallon-sized zipper-lock bag with remaining marinade. Press out air, seal bag, and allow meat to marinate, turning occasionally, for at least 1 hour and up to 12.

• Take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. The salt and pepper will help form a savory crust on the steak.

• Place steak on the hot grill. If you are using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side. Half way through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90° so that you get more grill marks.

• Flank steak is best eaten medium rare; well done will make it too tough. When the steak has cooked to your preferred level of doneness, remove from the grill and place on a cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil to hold in the heat and to keep the steak from drying out, and let rest for 10 minutes.

• Make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide.

Serves 6.



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recipe: sambal chicken skewers

July 8th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I have been slightly preoccupied with planting this past month and my new recipes posts have been slim.  So today I want to share my Fourth of July barbecue recipes.  I’ll start with the delicious chicken recipe and sauce.  It’s found in the current issue of Bon Appetit and this may be my favorite marinade of all time.  You’ll probably need to shop for the ingredients but the extra time is well worth it.  I love chicken thighs… they are moist, succulent, tasty, and soooo cheap.  Let’s face it, when cooking for a crowd sometimes it’s nice not to spend a fortune on meat.  The recipe calls for cubing the thighs and putting the meat on skewers, but I like them whole and grilled.



• ½ cup brown sugar (packed)
• ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
• 1/3 cup hot chili paste
• ¼ cup of fish sauce
• ¼ cup Sriracha
• 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
• 1 ½ LB skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into 1½ – 2″ pieces
• 8 bamboo skewers (soaked in water for at least 1 hour)



• Prepare grill at medium-high heat.

• Whisk the first 6 ingredients together then coat and toss the chicken pieces and thread 4-5 pieces onto a skewer.

• Transfer the marinade to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.

• Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by ½ (1 cup) 7-10 minutes.

• Grill chicken turning and basting with the sauce 8-10 minutes.

Ready to serve, enjoy!!!




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This is a wonderful recipe in this months Bon Appetit.  A light tasty pasta featuring leeks and arugula, two of my favorites.  I served this with a simple but delicious piece of baked salmon.  Enjoy!


• ½ pound pappardelle or fettuccine
• Kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 leeks, white and pale greens only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
• ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
• 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus more for serving
• 1 bunch arugula, thick stems trimmed, leaves torn (about 4 cups)
• 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan plus more for serving
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3 ounces prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces


• Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.

• Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, 5-8 minutes.

• Add pasta, chives, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, and ¾ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing and adding more cooking liquid by 1/4-cupfuls as needed, until a glossy sauce forms that coats pasta, about 4 minutes.

• Add arugula and 1/3 cup Parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Add prosciutto and toss again. Top pasta with more lemon zest and Parmesan.  (Add the prosciutto at the last minute to preserve the pretty pink color.)

Serves 4


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recipe: crepes

March 28th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Desserts | Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I’m a crepe fan… if you are from Chicago and remember the restaurant “Magic Pan”; it was one of my favorites.  I used to meet my husband there once a week for a savory crepe, but really always wanting the sweet dessert crepes.  I haven’t made crepes in a along time maybe because its not easy forming those perfect crepes in my own magic pan.  I found this “White Toque” brand Organic Crepes already made and decided to revisit an old favorite.

They are delicious and easy, I suggest you try them and have fun making up your own filling!



• 1 lb sliced mushrooms white or cremini
• ½ lb sliced shiitake mushrooms
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 shallots, minced
• Kosher salt & pepper
• ½ cup white wine
• ½ cup heavy whipping cream

• Melt butter in a heavy sauté pan add mushrooms, garlic, and shallots. Sauté till mushrooms are cooked. Add Salt & pepper to taste.

• Add wine and sauté for another 2-3 minutes to reduce, then add cream and heat through.  Your filling is ready, set aside and make crepes filling with mixture and spoon on top.


This brand “white toque authentic organic French crepes” is a great choice if you don’t have time to make your own.  They’re easy and delicious.

I also add sautéed chicken or beef to the mushroom mixture for a heartier meal. Dessert crepes are another option just adding fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar!




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This is a recipe from Smitten Kitchen’s new cookbook.  I found the dough a bit thick but the flavors excellent.  The next time I make this I may try using the “DuFour” puff pastry dough instead.  This is a perfect winter lunch, appetizer or dinner!  Enjoy!


• 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
¼ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup ice water

• 1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
• 1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
¾ cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves



• Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

• Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

• Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

• Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

• Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

• Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.




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recipe: chicken pot pie

January 22nd, 2013 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

I love pot pies, chicken, beef, and lobster.  This recipe is Ina garten’s but I use Dufour pastry dough for the topping.  It’s the perfect puff pastry and a pantry (freezer) staple in my house.  When it’s cold outside this is a wonderful meal to serve with a great salad and a glass of wine… maybe even in front of a warm fire.  Enjoy!


• 3 whole chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on (split)
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
• 2 chicken bouillon cubes
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
• ¾ cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup heavy cream
• 2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
• 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
• 1 ½ cups frozen small whole onions
• ½ cup minced fresh


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

• Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil.

• Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

• Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

• Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin.

• Cut the chicken into large dice.

• In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock.

• In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and sauté the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent.

• Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.

• Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce.

• Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring until thick.

• Add 2 teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream.

• Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

• Use the Defour Pastry Dough… remember to defrost in the fridge for two to three hours.

• Roll out dough and cut out around your ramekin to fit, making sure it hangs over the edge.

• Use an egg wash to brush on dough. (Egg wash: 1 egg & 1 tablespoon of water whisked).  You can use extra dough to cut out show flakes, leaves or hearts.

• Divide the filling equally among 4-6 ovenproof bowls.

• Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top.

• Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl.

• Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick.

• Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top.

• Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.

• Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.



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recipe: veal stew

December 21st, 2012 | Posted by admin in Entrées | RECIPES | Soup - (0 Comments)

This is a great one pot meal for winter entertaining.  You’ll want to reheat the leftovers as the next day it’s even better.


• 28-30 cipollini onions
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 pounds veal stew meat, cut up into 1 inch pieces
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1-1/2 cups dry white wine
• 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (homemade is the best!)
• 1 (14-1/2 ounce) can diced San Marzano tomatoes in juice
• 28 small red potatoes, peeled and halved or quartered
• 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2-3 turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


• Peel the onions and cut off the ends.

• Next heat the 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy pot or casserole over medium-high heat (I use an 8 quart iron pot).

• Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper.  Toss the veal with the flour in a large bowl to coat.

• Working in 3 batches, add the veal to the pot and cook until browned, adding another tablespoon of oil as needed, about 10 minutes per batch.

• Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned veal to a bowl.

• Add the garlic and thyme to the same pot and saute over medium heat until tender, about 30 secords.

• Next add the wine and simmer over medium-high heat until reduced by half, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Return the veal to the pot.

• Stir in the broth and tomatoes with their juice.  Cover partially and simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

• Add the onions, potatoes, turnips, and carrots to the stew and simmer uncovered until the veal and vegetables are tender and the juices are thick, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

• Stir in the parsley.  Season the stew to taste with salt and pepper.

The stew is ready to serve.  Enjoy!




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