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Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

Fresh Basil Pesto (photo)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.


Coriander Lime Herb Butter Recipe

Ingredients

Method

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Mix together butter, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Serve as is or save for later.
If you save the butter for later, wrap it up in plastic wrap in the shape of a log and refrigerate until stiff. To use, just unwrap and slice from the butter log.
Serve with corn-on-the-cob or over your favorite fill-in-the-blank.


Herbed Turkey Burger Recipe

Ground turkey is typically much leaner than ground beef. In order to keep the burger from being too dry it helps to use ground dark meat from thighs and legs if you can get it. Adding a little olive oil to the mix helps too.

Ingredients

Method

1 Sauté the chopped onion in olive oil for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes, or until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat. Transfer the onions, garlic, and oil to a large bowl to cool down.
2 Once the onions are cool to the touch, add the ground turkey, salt, pepper, and herbs into the bowl. Using your hands, gently mix everything until well combined. You want the herbs mixed in without overworking the meat (which would make the burgers tough).
3 Form the meat into patties. Here's a burger patty tip: use your fingers to form a slight indentation in the middle of the patties. When burger patties cook, the meat contracts from the edges. Having the middle part slightly thinner than the edges when raw will help the patties finish with a more even shape (less bulge in the middle).
4 Cook on a hot grill or in a hot cast iron frying pan for 5-6 minutes per side, until cooked through (165°F if using a meat thermometer). If using a grill, coat the grill grates first with a little vegetable oil. If using a frying pan, put a little oil in the pan first to help keep the burgers from sticking. A trick my mother uses when making burgers in a cast iron frying pan is to sprinkle the bottom of the pan with a little salt. The salt acts sort of like ball-bearings, keeping the patties from sticking when you go to flip them.
Serve with toasted buns, and the accompaniments of your choice—sliced onions, lettuce, sliced tomatoes, bacon, mayonnaise (especially good with mayo), mustard, relish, ketchup.
Yield: Makes 8 turkey burgers.


Herbed Roast Chicken

Herbed Roast Chicken (photo)

Recipe

Ingredients

Method

1 Preheat oven and a roasting pan to 400°F. Rinse the chicken and chicken cavity with water and pat dry with paper towels.

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2 Rub salt over the inside of the cavity. Grasp the skin at the tip of the chicken breast and gently pull up. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the breast meat, taking care not to tear the skin. Sprinkle a little salt into the gaps and insert as much of the chopped herb mixture as you can. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, bay leaves, rosemary, and any remaining herbs. Pull the skin of the chicken breast over the breast so that none of the meat is exposed. Tuck in the wings and truss with kitchen string.

3 Rub some olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and add a little oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken on one side, breast side down, on the roasting pan and put it back in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken so that the other breast is on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Starting off by cooking the chicken this way will help brown the breasts. Then turn the chicken over so that it is back-side down. Cook for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 175-180°F for the thigh.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5.


Classic Rack of Lamb Recipe

The cooking time depends on how big your rack of lamb is, and how rare you want it cooked. Rack of lamb should be cooked rare, or at most medium rare. The instructions are for a rack 1 1/2 to 2 pounds big. If you have a smaller roast (I've seen packages of just a pound), reduce the cooking time from 7 minutes to 5 minutes on 400, and use the lower end of the cooking time given at 300. If you are cooking multiple racks (unless you are doing a crown roast which is a different matter), lay them out separately on the pan, and estimate a roasting time based on just one rack, not the weight of the combined. Of course, use a meat thermometer! This is too lovely and tender a roast to risk overcooking.

Ingredients

For each rib rack:

Method

1 Rub rib rack(s) all over with mixture of rosemary, thyme, and garlic. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Place in a thick plastic bag with olive oil. Spread oil around so that it coats the lamb rack(s) all over. Squeeze out as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Place in a container so that if the bag leaks, the container catches the leak. If you want, place in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you are not marinating overnight, let lamb rack(s) sit in the rub marinade as it comes to room temperature before cooking.
2 Remove lamb rack from refrigerator to 1-2 hours before you cook it so that it comes to room temp. (If the meat is not at room temperature it will be hard for it to cook evenly.)

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3 Preheat oven to 400°F, arrange the oven rack so that the lamb will be in the middle of the oven. Score the fat, by making sharp shallow cuts through the fat, spaced about an inch apart. Sprinkle the rack all over with salt and pepper. Place the lamb rack bone side down (fat side up) on the pan. Wrap the exposed ribs in a little foil so that they don't burn.
4 Roast at 400°F for 7 minutes, then lower the heat to 300°F. Cook for 7-15 minutes longer (depending on the size of the lamb rack, or one of the lamb racks if you are cooking more than one), until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat 125°F on a for rare or 135°F for medium rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Cut lamb chops away from the rack by slicing between the bones. Serve 2-3 chops per person.
Yield: 1 rack serves 2 to 3 people.


Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs (photo)

When I was a kid, the only time we ever had meatballs was with spaghetti or in albondigas soup. It never occurred to me that one could simply have meatballs with sauce, until I wandered into a restaurant in San Francisco and ordered some Italian meatballs, as an appetizer, or so I thought. To me, meatballs were small little things and three of them would have made a lovely starter for the more substantial entrée to follow. Hah! My eyes practically fell out of their sockets when the meatballs arrived. They were almost the size of baseballs. Holy moly. But they were fabulous, and it just meant I had more food to share with my friends.

These meatballs aren’t quite the size of baseballs though they could be if you wanted them to. Actually you could make them any size you wanted. They’re tender, loaded with herbs and cheese, a mixture of ground beef and pork, and covered with a classic tomato sauce. Enjoy!

Italian Meatballs Recipe

We've used equal amounts of ground beef and ground pork. You could also use a third each of ground beef, pork and veal.

Ingredients

Meatballs:

Tomato Sauce:

Method

1 Start with the tomato sauce, which will simmer while you prepare the meatballs. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and parsley. Stir to coat with the oil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and cooked through. Remove the cover, add the garlic, and increase the heat to medium high. Cook the garlic for half a minute, then add the tomatoes (if using whole canned, break up with your fingers as you add them to the pan.) Add the tomato paste and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low and let cook uncovered until thickened while you prepare the meatballs, 15 to 30 minutes. Purée in a blender, or push through a food mill for a smooth consistency. Adjust seasonings.

2 Heat the milk in a small pot until steamy. Turn off the heat, tear the bread into little pieces and soak it in the milk until it partially dissolves. Mash it until you get something that resembles a paste. Turn it out onto a plate to let it cool.

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3 In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, eggs, salt, parsley, oregano, black pepper, garlic cloves and the bread-milk mixture. Mix it well with your hands until it barely combines. Don't overwork the mixture or it will become tough. It is OK to have some discernible bits of bread or meat in the mix; better that than overworked meatballs.

4 Wet your hands and form the meatballs. A traditional size for this sort of meatball is 2-3 inches across, but you can make them any size you want. Once you roll the meatball in your hands, roll it in the flour to give it a good coating. Set each one on a baking sheet as you work. You might need to rinse your hands a few times as you make the meatballs.

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5 When all the meatballs are formed, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on at least two sides. Don't worry about the center getting cooked through, as you will finish these in the sauce.

6 Once all the meatballs are browned, arrange them in the sauce, turning each one over in the sauce to coat. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Serve with the sauce and pasta or crusty bread. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley for garnish if you want.
Yield: Makes about 16 meatballs. Serves 8.


Stuffed Herbed Chicken with Boursin Cheese

Stuffed Herbed Chicken with Boursin Cheese (photo)
Recently my father was inspired to make chicken breasts stuffed with Boursin cheese from a recipe he found online. If you are unfamiliar with Boursin cheese, it is essentially an all natural soft cow’s milk cheese dressed up with garlic and herbs. You can easily make your own herbed cheese with cream cheese and herbs; using something like Boursin saves a step. Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen has a similar stuffed chicken recipe which inspired me to add a Parmesan bread crumb crust to this one. Either way, with the crust or without, the stuffed chicken with those herbs and the cheese is quite tasty. (Skip the crust if you are going low carb.)

Recipe

Ingredients

Ingredients

Herbed Cheese

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Put each chicken breast half between two layers of plastic wrap, on a chopping board, and use a meat mallet to pound until 1/4-inch thick.
2 Dip each basil (or other bitter green) leaf in boiling water, drain and set aside.
3 If you are not starting with Boursin herbed cheese, make your own by mixing together the Herbed Cheese ingredients mentioned above. Mix the walnuts into the cheese mixture, set aside.
4 Lay the chicken breasts flat, season each side with salt and pepper. Spread the cheese-walnut mixture over each breast, covering the surface of the breasts. Layer on the basil leaves. Starting at the shortest end of the chicken breast, roll up as tightly as possible and tuck in the ends to form a neat roll. Secure each breast with 2 toothpicks.
5 Put flour, beaten egg, and bread crumbs combined with the Parmesan cheese on to 3 separate flat dishes. Dredge each chicken breast roll first in the flour, then the egg, and finally the Parmesan bread crumbs. (Skip this step if you are going low carb and/or gluten-free.)
6 Transfer chicken breasts to a greased baking dish, seam side down. Bake at 350°F for 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the breast, until the internal temperature is 165°F, the juices run clear, and the chicken is slightly browned.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield: Serves 2-4.


Tarragon Egg Salad

Tarragon Egg Salad (photo)

Recipe

Ingredients

* To hard boil eggs, put eggs in a large pot, cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Cover and let sit for 12 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to stop the cooking and to cool down the eggs.

Method

Gently combine all of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve alone, over lettuce, on toast, or on bread for a sandwich.
Yield: Serves 4-6.


As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole

As-You-Like-It Breakfast Casserole (alternate photo)

Recipe

The ingredient proportions are estimates. The more eggs, the firmer, and less likely to deflate, the casserole will be. Mushrooms tend to hold a lot of moisture, so if you use a lot of them, you may want to sauté them first to release some of their water. Sausage should be browned and cooked through first. Can also uses spices such as curry and cumin.

Ingredients

Additions

Method

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1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the milk and cheese. Add the bread and carefully stir until all pieces of bread are moistened (don't over mix or the bread may disintegrate). Add additions. Add salt and pepper to taste (if using Italian sausage, you won't need either.) Butter a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish. Pour mix into casserole dish.

2 Bake in oven for 50 minutes to an hour, until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Yield: Serves 8.

Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Italian Sausage Sauce

Fettuccine with Creamy Tomato Italian Sausage Sauce (photo)

Recipe

Ingredients

Method

1 Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add sausages and sauté until no longer pink, breaking up the sausages a bit, about 5 minutes. Add cream; simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices. Add sage. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
2 Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
3 Return pasta to same pot; add sauce. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with cheese and serve.
Yield: Serves 6.


Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart

Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart (photo)

Recipe

Ingredients

Method

1 Toss the walnuts, gorgonzola, thyme, chopped apples, and maple syrup together in a medium size bowl. As you are working with the apples (chopping them, mixing them in with the other ingredients), if you want, you can squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help keep them from discoloring. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap while you prepare the crust.
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2 Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry dough to 13-inches, at an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Place pastry dough on a rimmed baking sheet. (Rimmed because the pastry will leak butter during the cooking process.) Mound the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough, and spread out evenly to 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Pleat the edges of the dough over the filling.
3 Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is nicely browned. If at any time it looks like the walnuts are getting a little burnt, you can lightly tent a piece of aluminum foil over the center.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. A pizza wheel works great for slicing up the tart.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings.