Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Rustic Artichoke & Leek Tart

Here is the Tuesday Tart.

This is scary good, like you can't stop at just one slice. You have been warned.

You can use store bought puff pastry, which is one of the greatest inventions ever made.....and gives it that "rustic" look.

I was lucky enough to receive a carton of fresh eggs as a gift.....from happy chix named Ginger, Mary Ann and Buffy.

There's nothing like the taste of fresh eggs.......what a difference, and I eat a lot of eggs, so consider myself a connoisseur.

There are no rules here. You can use more or less eggs, any fresh herbs, and any cheese you like.....

Here is my basic recipe. This tart is a WINNER.

Rustic Artichoke & Leek Tart:

1 sheet of puff pastry, defrosted, rolled out to fit into a 9" tart pan w/ removable bottom
1 large can or jar of artichoke hearts (marinated, grilled or just plain), liquid drained
2-3 leeks, white parts only, sliced
1/2 cup of green peas (optional)
fresh parsley
4 fresh eggs,
1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano
salt & pepper
butter and olive oil

Keep your puff pastry chilled in the fridge while preparing the filling.

Saute the sliced leeks in 1 tbsp of butter w/ 1 tbsp of olive oil, until softened. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper.

Add in the drained artichoke hearts and cook another minute. Add in the peas last (if using).

Pour the artichoke and leek filling into the tart pan that has been fitted w/ the puff pastry.

Next, sprinkle the cheese on top of the filling......whisk the eggs until frothy and pour on top of everything.
Sprinkle w/ fresh parsley.

Bake in a 375F preheated oven for 35-40 minutes.

Let cool 15 minutes before unmolding from the tart pan.

Delicious warm or at room temperature.

The tart queen is back!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

May Random Bites

Here are some recipes that didn't make a whole blog post, but are definitely worthy of cooking.

With the rest of the Jersey asparagus, I made this amazing Pasta Primavera from the New York Times recipe.

You can use frozen peas if you like, I usually do. Don't be afraid of a little butter and cream, it's a once in a while thing, and we are only making this in May. ;)

Green Pasta Primavera (true spring pasta):

1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and sliced in half if too fat
3/4 cup English peas, fresh
2 garlic cloves
olive oil for the skillet
3 tbsp parsley
1/4 cup spring onion or chives
1/4 lb sugar snap peas, stems
1 tbsp tarragon
12 oz fettuccine or tagliatelle or shells
sea salt & pepper

2 tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
2/3 cup Parmigiano-reggiano, grated
2 tbsp of starchy pasta water

It's pretty self explanatory.....Saute the asparagus and onions for a minute or two with the garlic in some olive oil in a large skillet.

Throw in the peas and the cooked pasta and coat w/ butter, cream, tarragon, the parmesan cheese and add pasta water to thin out the sauce.

Takes only 5 minutes total. Don't skip the tarragon, it's really good here. Season w/ salt & pepper and serve right away.


This is my second year growing rhubarb in the garden. You are supposed to cut the stalks after the 2nd year, so here they are.
Just a few, so the plant doesn't use all of its energy....the rest I will buy at the farmer's market (remember: don't eat the leaves, they are highly toxic).

Here is a simple lemon yogurt cake, topped w/ rhubarb and pistachios.

Most people pair rhubarb w/ strawberries, but I am not a strawberry fan.....so the barb will have to stand alone.

This cake freezes well and is even better the next day. My husband loved it. Said it was one of the best cakes ever....but he always says that!

Lemon Rhubarb Cake w/ Pistachios:

1 cup sugar
3 large rhubarb stalks, cut into pieces
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup plain, low-fat or nonfat Greek-style yogurt
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
1/4 cup of pistachio meats, chopped
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease or line a loaf pan w/ parchment paper.

Mix the sugar w/ the eggs, oil, vanilla and almond extracts.

Add in the dry ingredients and half of the rhubarb pieces (save the other rhubarb pieces for the top).

Mix to make a smooth batter.

Pour into prepared loaf pan.

Decorate the top with the rest of the rhubarb and chopped pistachios.

Sprinkle w/ the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes.

It's pretty and delicious.

I made this no mayo potato salad with just sherry wine vinegar, honey, mustard and fresh herbs for Mother's Day.

I added in hardboiled eggs, because potato salad needs eggs in my opinion.

This will be my go to summer potato salad from now on. Everyone raved about it, and no guilt eating all that mayo (though we all know I LOVE MAYO).

Here's the recipe:

1 lb. baby potatoes, boiled about 15 minutes, cooled and quartered
3 hard boiled eggs


1 garlic clove, minced
big handful of chopped scallions
1 tablespoon diced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons diced fresh flat leaf parsley
big handful of minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup sherry wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt & pepper

Dress the potatoes and eggs with the herb dressing.
Can be made the day before and kept in the fridge.

Serve at room temperature.

Ok, 3 for 1 today.

You're welcome! xo

Monday, May 14, 2018

Swordfish w/ Caper Anchovy Butter

I love this sauce so much....I could put it on everything.

It reminds me of that delicious anchovy butter I spoon over that decadent Spiedini alla Romana (fried mozzarella sandwiches).

If you don't love anchovies and garlic, then stay away. This recipe is all about it.

Another great weeknight recipe from Alison Roman's Dining In cookbook.

Here's how:

Start w/ 2 pieces of swordfish (8 oz. each).
Season the steaks with kosher salt & pepper on both sides.

Heat a large, heavy skillet w/ canola oil (I use avocado oil, because it has a high heat index and I love it).

Sear the swordfish steaks about 4 minutes on each side (will depend on their thickness).

After about 8 minutes, add in 2 tbsp butter (you can use more if you like....), 3 smashed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon capers and 4 anchovies that have been cut up.

Cook this mixture for about a minute, tilting the skillet while the butter is sizzling. Keep spooning the butter mixture over the fish.

I added smashed boiled fingerling potatoes to the pan, because that sauce was just too good just eat on the fish!

Garnish with fresh oregano leaves.

You can serve this one right from the pan.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Cauliflower w/ Dates & Tahini

I am in love w/ Alison Roman's new cookbook DINING IN.

She is a funny and honest writer and I want to make EVERYTHING in this book.

This is the first recipe I tried, and it is a winner. More of a winter dish, but hey, I always make cauliflower, no matter what the season.

This was great along side roast chicken.

Cauliflower w/ Dates & Tahini: (adapted from Dining In)

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 teaspoon cumin
5 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 dates, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a dry skillet
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar


Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.

Using your hands, break the cauliflower into smaller florets, keeping the stalks long (this way you get some well-roasted tender parts as well as smaller, crispier parts). Toss the cauliflower and cumin with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and season with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast, tossing occasionally, until just starting to brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the dates, toss to coat, and continue roasting until the cauliflower is deeply brown and caramelized all over and the dates are plump and starting to caramelize around the edges, 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, whisk the tahini and 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking the skillet occasionally, until the pine nuts are golden brown and become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool enough to coarsely chop.

In a small bowl, combine the chopped pine nuts, scallions, mint, cilantro, vinegar, and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the tahini onto the bottom of a large serving platter.

Remove the cauliflower and dates from the oven and place them on top of the tahini. Spoon the mint mixture over and serve with any extra alongside.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Asparagus, Leek & Ricotta Quiche

You know you want it.

That luscious, creamy quiche that only heavy cream and lots of eggs can make.

Add in some fresh Brooklyn made ricotta and you're in business.

You know how I feel once asparagus season gets started.....rejoiceful!

That tasteless winter asparagus from the Southern hemisphere is only for show, not for taste....I cringe when I see it on restaurant menus during the winter months....sort of like tomatoes.
We live in The Garden State, why are you serving me a bland, barely pink tomato in January?

Anyway.....now that I am happy about the first asparagus to be seen at the farmer's market, let's make this quiche!

Make your own crust or buy a premade one....no judgement here.

Mix 6 eggs with 1 cup of heavy cream (or creme fraiche if you want it to be oh so good).....
Add in about 1 cup of fresh ricotta cheese and some Parmesan (as much as you can). Lots of salt & pepper.

Saute up some sliced leeks (about 2 big ones) in butter, yup butter, until wilted.

Pour all this eggy, cheesy goodness into your pie shell.

Steam trimmed asparagus spears for just a minute and lay on top of the quiche.

Bake 350F for 35 minutes, or until custard is set.

I love this, and you will too.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

One Pan Meal: Roasted Honey Soy Salmon w/ Brussels Sprouts

Do I really need to do a blog post for this recipe?

Why not.

Some of you might appreciate that I am posting something so embarrassingly simple, so here it is.

I am getting more and more fond of these one pan meals.

Everything cooked on one sheet pan, no cleanup mess....just throw away the foil.

Here is that wonderful soy honey glaze, and you mix it in with the Brussels sprouts too.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top, and dinner is ready in 20 minutes.

Here's how:

1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
1/4 cup honey
2 garlic cloves, shaved on a microplane
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 lb. piece of salmon (I leave skin on)
kosher salt & pepper
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

Make the marinade. Pour half over the brussels sprouts in a bowl, and mix to coat the vegetables.

Lay the piece of salmon in the center of a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. (I like to spray my foil with non-stick cooking spray for easy removal....trust me).

Pour the marinated Brussels around the fish and pour the rest of the marinade over the salmon.

Sprinkle everything on the pan w/ kosher salt and pepper.

Roast in a 425F preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle w/ sesame seeds and serve.

You're welcome ;)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Overrated Ramp & Feta Muffins (the ramps, not the muffins)

I had never heard of ramps until I started a food blog 10 years ago.

Little did I know that they were just wild leeks that grow in the woods in NJ right behind my house.

But since I am not a forager, and want immediate gratification, I am forced to pay a premium price at the farmer's market.

They are around now, for about 3 weeks in the spring, and everyone gets so excited when they see them.
By 11 a.m., the sign is up at Union Square Market "RAMPS SOLD OUT".

Really people? What is all the fuss about??

They are just little wild leeks, and they are just not that exciting (in my humble opinion).

Truth be told, scallions and chives get me way more excited, especially the gorgeous pink blossoms on my chive plants (next week!).

Well, I got caught up in the hype and spent my 13 bucks and bought a small bunch on Sunday at my local farmer's market.
Now, the dilemma, what to do with them.

I had already made ramp butter and ramp pesto.....so how about a ramp pizza and ramp muffins?
(I can be creative when I need to be).

If you can't find ramps, and you don't feel like shelling out the big bucks, then go ahead and use leeks or scallions or onions! They do the job just fine.

Ramp & Feta Muffins: (what's all the fuss about?)

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
6 grinds of black pepper
bunch of ramps (wild leeks) washed and sliced
3/4 cup of feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup of roasted red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1 2/3 cup milk
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 9 muffin tins with some oil.

Sift flour into a bowl. Add shredded ramps, feta, diced red peppers and parmesan, and stir to combine.

Use a fork to whisk together milk, butter and egg until well combined.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture and use a metal spoon (so the mixture doesn't stick to the bowl) to stir until just combined (do not over mix).

Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with extra parmesan if you like.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out onto wire rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

These freeze well too.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring Potato & Asparagus Salad w/ Chive Vinaigrette

I love this salad.
I love this dressing.

It's a winning combination and so simple.
Make sure you are only making it now, spring, when asparagus, radishes, chives and new potatoes are in all their glory!

Not sure why the little bit of maple syrup works in the dressing, but it does!
I want to pour this on everything.

This is the perfect salad for your Mother's Day or Memorial Day gathering.

You can also make a scallion vinaigrette, but the chives are more subtle.


1 lb. red new potatoes
1 lb. skinny asparagus spears, cut into quarters
3 radishes, sliced

Chive Vinaigrette (adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow):

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup (do not skip this)
2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
big tablespoon of fresh chives
salt & pepper

Mix vinaigrette with a fork, and keep separate until ready to serve.

Boil the new potatoes for 22 minutes (until fork tender).
During the last 2 minutes of boiling, I throw the cut asparagus spears in the same pot w/ the potatoes......cook 2 minutes if they are skinny spears.

Cut the potatoes into quarters and throw them into a bowl w/ the sliced radishes and cooked asparagus (I rinse my asparagus after cooking in very cold water to set the green color).

Let everything sit at room temperature until you are ready to serve the salad.

Just before serving, pour the vinaigrette over the salad components and toss.
Season w/ salt & pepper.

This is good stuff.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Random Spring Bites

I am so happy spring has shown up. It seemed like we were stuck inside for way too long this winter.

March brought 3 snow storms to the Northeast, and I was afraid I would be wearing my winter coat forever.

But no more complaining. Spring is finally here.

Ramps, rhubarb, flowers, gardening, peas and asparagus. I love it all.

I planted my potted herbs and look forward to using them in my daily cooking.

Here are a few simple recipes for your weeknight repertoire.

I hope you try them.

This was a happy accident. I went to make a frittata and was experimenting with cooking leeks....and then I decided to add some cream, and a quiche was born.

Where's the crust? you are asking.
I didn't make one, but go ahead, please do.

I had some leeks that unraveled in the cooking process, so instead of tossing them, I outlined the pie dish with them to make a pseudo collar/crust.

This was delicious. Leeks cooked in butter are so luxurious.
I added in green peas, cause it's spring and because I love them.

Here's the recipe. Next time, I will fill into a pie shell.

Leek & Pea Quiche:

3 large leeks, sliced into 1 1/4 stacks
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of frozen peas, defrosted
salt & pepper
fresh dill or dried dillweed

In a skillet, heat the butter and olive oil. Lay each stack of leeks and cook on medium heat for about 3 minutes.
It's a little tricky flipping them, but I have faith in you.

Carefully, using tongs or a thin spatula, flip the leek stacks over and cook another 2 minutes until golden.

Lay the leeks in a buttered pie dish, or in your pie shell. If some of the leeks unravel, just use them as the border of the pie.

Make the filling, by whisking eggs, dill, cream, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.

Gently pour the custard around the leeks, but not over them.

Scatter some green peas around the custard.

Bake in a 350F oven for 30 minutes.

Have leftover salmon? Have no fear.

Diana Henry's perfectly delicious Japanese Rice Bowl to the rescue.

225g (about a cup) Japanese sushi rice (I used basmati rice)
1/2 lb. salmon fillet, skinned
2 tsp flavourless oil
2 tbsp very finely chopped onion
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp sake or dry sherry
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp chopped avocado tossed with a little lemon juice
sesame seeds, black or white
1 sheet of toasted nori (optional) (I use Eden Shake, and it has nori in it)

If you are using sushi rice wash it thoroughly in a sieve. Drain and place in a pan with 1 cup water. Leave to stand for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the heat off and let it stand with the lid on for a further 15 minutes without opening the lid. You should have grains that are sticky but not watery.

To cook the salmon, put about 2" of water in a small pan and, when it’s at gentle simmer, add the fish.

Cover and poach over a very low heat for about 3 minutes. You want it raw in the middle but cooked round the outside (cook it right through if you prefer).

Remove from the heat but keep it warm by covering with a lid.

Heat the oil in a small frying pan and gently sauté the onion until soft but not coloured.

Mix the eggs with the sake or sherry, add to the pan and cook very gently, stirring, until you have a creamy mixture like very soft scrambled eggs.

Flake the warm fish and mix it with the soy sauce.

Divide the rice between two bowls. Top each with half the egg, the fish, avocado and sesame seeds, then crumble on the nori, if using.

Serve immediately with pickled ginger, wasabi and more soy sauce.

I baked a Basbousa cake...which is a dense, syrup soaked Middle Eastern cake with almonds and it is oh so good.

I used this basic recipe, but added in a tsp of baking powder and baked it in a loaf pan.

It was moist and rich and delicious. It didn't last long.

Happy spring!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Asparagus Flatbread Pizzas w/ Pesto and Pistachios

Rejoice! It's asparagus season!

And I will be making this Naan flatbread pizza weekly with my bounty.

While NJ asparagus will not be here for another month, I am able to find delicious California spears.
Go and get some!

If the asparagus spears are too fat, slice them in half.......make a batch of pea pesto (recipe here). (Feel free to use purchased pesto).

Spread a small amount of pesto on top of the flatbreads.

Top with the trimmed asparagus spears and place a few pieces of fresh mozzarella around.
Drizzle with pistachio oil (I don't expect you to buy it, it's pricey, but it's worth it...).

Place in a 400F oven (you can use the toaster oven!!). Cook until cheese is oozing....about 10 minutes. It's ok if the asparagus is still firm, if it's fresh, it will taste better on the raw side!

Sprinkle with sea salt and top with chopped pistachios and serve.

So good!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Puttanesca Bianco (sans tomatoes!)

I love a puttanesca sauce.....that lusty peasant sauce made w/ olives, capers, anchovies, tons of garlic and tomatoes. But since I am not eating red sauce lately (indigestion, big time), I decided on a puttanesca bianco!

There is a great recipe in Franny's Cookbook (a Brooklyn restaurant, now closed) for Spaghetti w/ White Puttanesca.
I was all in.

I didn't really need to follow a recipe, but I liked that they used Cerignola olives instead of the crappy supermarket variety that most use (NEVER USE CANNED RUBBER OLIVES). I threw in some kalamatas too for color, and added in a jar of artichokes....why not? It's spring.

This was fabulous.

Next time, I am topping with garlic breadcrumbs to make it even LUSTIER!

Spaghetti w/ White Puttanesca
: (loosely adapted from Franny's)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
can of anchovy fillets, drained
1/4 cup salt-packed capers, soaked, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pitted and sliced Nocellara or Cerignola olives
6 fat garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 jar or can of artichoke hearts (not marinated)
1 pound spaghetti
big handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
kosher salt

In a very large skillet (or a Dutch oven), warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat until very hot.

Add the anchovies and capers and cook, stirring occasionally, until anchovies are dissolved, about 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the olives, garlic and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water to the pan. Remove from the heat.

In a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Toss the spaghetti into the skillet with the caper-anchovy mixture. Add in the jar of artichoke hearts, if using.
Warm over medium heat another 1 to 2 minutes, adding additional pasta water if the sauce seems dry.

Toss in the parsley and season with salt to taste.

This could be my new favorite pasta dish.