Archive | October, 2014

Preserved Lemons





10 small, organic lemons, scrubbed clean and rinsed well

1 C kosher salt

1 cinnamon stick

10 black peppercorns

1 dried thai chili

Olive oil to cover

* special equipment needed: Clean GLASS jar


Cut the cleaned lemons into quarters, but leave attached at the base.  Set aside.  Combine salt, peppercorns, and dried chili ( if using ) in a small bowl.  Sprinkle salt mixture inside lemons and pack into the sterilized glass jar.  After they have been packed into the jar, press down on the lemons to release the juices.  Let them sit at room temperature for one week, pressing down on them every day.  After one week, cover with olive oil and refrigerate for one month.  This allows lemon peel to cure and become edible.

To use the lemons, remove from jar and rinse in warm water.  Scrape out the pulp with the back of a knife.  Slice peel into thin strips and add to recipes.  The lemons take one month to cure, but will last many months in your refrigerator.





whole wheat cous cous  (2)

This salad uses Israeli cous cous or pearl cous cous which is larger than the traditional African form.  It is typically cooked like pasta in a flavorful stock.  It can be found in whole wheat or regular durum wheat varieties.  For this salad I like to use the whole wheat variety for the nutritional benefits and the pleasing bite to the pearls.  It can be found in most grocery stores in the bulk foods section.  If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute regular instant cous cous the results will be equally delicious!  You may also add preserved lemon for a truly Moroccan flavor.


1 small                               butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½” cubes

1 small                                white onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves                             garlic, minced

2T                                           olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 C                                         Israeli cous cous cooked with a pinch of saffron in vegetable stock, drained and cooled slightly

¼ C ea                                 dried apricots, cranberries and pistachios, chopped

½ C                                       parsley, minced


2 ea                                      orange, juice and zest

1 t                                         cardamom

1t                                           cinnamon

2t                                           cumin

2T                                           olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place chopped butternut squash, garlic and onion on a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.  Set aside to cool.

Combine 6C stock and pinch of saffron in large saucepan.  Bring to boil add cous cous and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes until cous cous is tender but still al dente.  Drain well and toss with cooked squash mixture.

Add dried fruits, pistachios and parsley.

In a separate bowl combine vinaigrette ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Add to cous cous and toss well.  This salad is equally good served room temperature or cold.

Serves 4-6

Wild Mushroom Soup with Yogurt Cream

wild mushroom photo 2

This soup has a delicious hearty flavor perfect for the Indian summer weather we’ve been having.  You can find a selection of wild mushrooms in most grocery stores and they’re worth searching out for this recipe.  Shitakes, Cremini, and regular button mushroom combine to make this soup deliciously flavorful and hearty.  The yogurt crème provides just the right tang and richness.



2.5 #                                    mushrooms (a combination of shitake, cremini, & button), thickly sliced

1 ea                                      yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves                             garlic, minced

1/3 C                                   dry sherry

1 T                                         smoked paprika

6 C                                        low sodium chicken or vegetable stock

1 T                                         soy sauce

2 T                                         flour

¼ C                                        non-fat buttermilk

1 T                                         fresh dill, chopped

Non-fat Greek yogurt

Additional dill and lemon juice


Clean, trim and slice mushrooms.  NOTE* If you are using shitake mushrooms, the stems are inedible and must be removed.  Set mushrooms aside.

Heat 2t of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add chopped garlic and mushrooms.   Sauté an additional 5 minutes.  Cook until moisture from mushrooms has evaporated and mushrooms are nicely browned.  Reduce heat to medium.

Stir in paprika, soy sauce and sherry.  Simmer until liquid has reduced by ½ and the alcohol has evaporated.   Add chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat again and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Whisk buttermilk and flour together in a small bowl to dissolve flour.   Make sure there are no lumps.  Stir slurry into simmering soup to thicken.

Add chopped dill and lemon juice to taste.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with non-fat Greek yogurt and additional chopped fresh dill


rc willey showroom (4)

These meatballs may be served as an appetizer prior to a dinner or over rice with the flavorful sauce as a delicious entrée.  Because the meatballs finish cooking in the sauce, much of this recipe can be prepped earlier in the day and finished off right before service.


1 slice                                             white bread

¼ C                                                   whole milk

1#                                                       extra lean ground beef

¼ C                                                   cilantro, minced

2 cloves                                      garlic, minced

½ small                                          onion, minced

2 t                                                        ground cumin

2 t                                                        ground chili powder

1 t                                                         salt

Pinch                                               black pepper

1 large                                             egg



1 small                                          onion, minced

2 cloves                                         garlic, minced

1 28 oz can                                 diced tomatoes in juice

½  C                                                  low sodium chicken stock

2 ea                                                 dried Guajillo Chilies, stems and seeds removed

2 t                                                      ground cumin

2 t                                                      ground coriander

Salt and pepper


In a large bowl combine the bread and milk.  Mix together to form a smooth paste.  Add ground beef, cilantro, egg, onion, garlic, spices and salt and pepper.  Mix gently until well combined.  Shape the beef mixture into 36  meatballs.

Heat 2 t oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the meatballs in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet.  Brown meatballs on all sides.  Do not overcook the meatballs as they will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove to a paper towel line plate and set aside.  Pour off all but 2 T oil from the pan.

In the same skillet, prepare the sauce.  Heat the skillet over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and brown lightly.  Add dried chilies, coriander and cumin.  Sauté briefly.  Add 1 large can diced tomatoes with juice and low sodium chicken stock.  Bring up to a simmer and cook for 20 – 30 minutes to soften dried chilies and allow flavors to come through.  Remove from heat and puree sauce using an immersion blender.  Taste for salt and pepper.  Add browned meatballs to sauce and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to a serving platter and top with cilantro pesto*, lime crema** and additional chopped cilantro.

*To prepare cilantro pesto follow any traditional basil pesto recipe substituting cilantro for the basil and eliminating the parmesan and pine nuts.

**To prepare lime crema, combine 1 cup sour cream with 2 t fresh lime juice and the zest of 1 lime.