Archive | September, 2020





½ ripe, honeydew melon, cut into ¼” cubes (you may also substitute cantaloupe or watermelon)

1 T fresh mint or basil, chopped

2 t sherry vinegar

2 t   honey

2 oz. thin sliced prosciutto, torn into bite size pieces

2 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into ¼” cubes

½ ea. high quality baguette, sliced into ¼” thick slices.


Prepare crostini:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange sliced baguette on rimmed baking sheets and brush with olive oil or spray lightly with olive oil pan spray.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake 12-15 minute or until crostini are browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and cool slightly before proceeding with recipe.  Alternately, grill baguette slices on the grill until lightly charred.

Prepare topping:  Combine honeydew, mint (or basil) honey, sherry vinegar and cubed mozzarella in a medium bowl.  Let flavors combine for 5 minutes.  Add torn prosciutto and place on top of crostini.

Serves 4-6



2 C Blackberries

3 T granulated sugar

2 T warm water

Juice of 2 limes

1 handful mint leaves

2 ¼ C Bourbon (you may substitute Vodka or Rum if you prefer)

2 C club soda

Crushed iced


In a 1-quart covered container, combine blackberries, granulated sugar, water, lime juice, and mint leaves. Using a spoon, crush berries lightly to release juice. Place lid on container and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Add bourbon if using and shake again. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a glass pitcher, being sure to press out all the liquid with the back of a spoon. Add club soda. Stir in ice to fill pitcher. Garnish each drink with additional mint sprigs.

*Note: if you prefer a mocktail, omit the bourbon and add 4 ¼ C club soda.


Spread thin slices of baguette with extra virgin olive oil and pesto. Top with slivers of sundried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.  Broil briefly until cheese melts.

Top whole grain bread with a mild creamy cheese (such as goat cheese) and garnish with sliced kiwi and berries.



3 T non-fat Greek yogurt

¼ C non-fat or reduced fat mayonnaise

1 clove garlic minced

½ t Worcestershire

1 ea. anchovy filets or 1 t anchovy paste (or to taste)

3 T parmesan cheese, grated

1 ea. juice of 1 lemon

1 t red wine vinegar

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Water to thin if needed


½ slice whole wheat bread

2 t   olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 T parsley, minced


½ # Brussels sprouts

2 T parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

2 ea. grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast


Prepare croutons. Process bread in food processor fitted with metal blade until fine crumbs form. In small skillet, over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add garlic and bread crumbs.  Toast until crumbs are crispy and fragrant.  Remove from skillet and salt and pepper liberally.  Toss in chopped parsley. Set aside

Prepare Caesar Dressing:  Combine garlic, Worcestershire, anchovy, parmesan, lemon juice, vinegar, and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until well combined.  Add mayonnaise and yogurt and pulse gently.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper.  Add a little water if dressing seems too thick.  Dressing may be prepared in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Prepare the sprouts.  Trim the rough ends off the sprouts and carefully remove outer leaves.  Shave remaining inner bulb into thin ribbons.  Alternately you can use a food processor to shred sprouts. Combine Brussels sprouts and remaining parmesan cheese in a mixing bowl.  Lightly toss with ¼ of the prepared Caesar vinaigrette.  Add additional dressing as needed. *Take care not to overdress the salad.  Serve the salad on top of grilled chicken breast topped with seasoned breadcrumb croutons.

Serves 2



3 T plain Greek yogurt

1 T mayonnaise (homemade or high quality store bought)

1 T honey

1 T cider vinegar

1C  cabbage, shredded

1 T cilantro, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


1 1/2 C water

¾ C brown lentils, rinsed

½ # chicken breast, ground

1 clove garlic, minced

½ large yellow onion, chopped

1 T olive oil

Pinch cayenne pepper (or to taste)

1 C ketchup

1 T prepared yellow

½ T brown sugar

Dash Worcestershire sauce

1 T molasses

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 whole wheat hamburger buns split with bottom half hollowed out and toasted


COOK LENTILS: Combine water and lentils in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium.  Cover and simmer until lentils are tender – about 20 minutes.  Take care not to overcook.  Drain and set aside.

PREPARE COLSLAW:  Whisk Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper together.  Toss with shredded cabbage and cilantro.  Set aside.

PREPARE SLOPPY JOES:  Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook until the onions have softened and are translucent.  Stir in ketchup, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire, and cayenne.  Simmer 5-7 minutes until thickened.  Set aside.

In a separate skillet, heat olive oil and sauté ground chicken over medium heat until cooked through.  Add cooked lentils and reserved bbq sauce.   Simmer 5 minutes.  *You may need to adjust consistency with a little water.

ASSEMBLE SLOPPY JOES: Spoon chicken-lentil mixture into slightly hollowed out bottom bun.  Top with slaw, pickled vegetables and bun lids.

Serves 2



1 T vinegar – good quality red or white wine, champagne, balsamic, sherry

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 t shallot, minced

Pinch of sugar (optional)

½ t salt

½ t Dijon mustard

2 ½ T – 3 T extra virgin olive oil


Whisk by hand: Combine minced shallot, sugar, Dijon and salt in a small mixing bowl. If you are adding other aromatics or seasonings, add them now. Squeeze lemon over the bowl. Add the vinegar and beat with a wire whisk. Whisking constantly, add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Whisk until the mixture turns opaque and the seasonings are suspended. Tip: To prevent your bowl from spinning while you whisk, you may want to shape a slightly damp tea towel or piece of paper toweling into a small ring and nestle your bowl inside.


Immersion blender or Mason jar: You can use an immersion blender (for larger quantities) or a Mason jar with a tight fitting lid to make vinaigrettes too. Blend or shake up the acids and other ingredients first. Then add the oil. Shake or blend again until an emulsion forms. *Note: If you are adding fresh herbs, I prefer to add them at the end when using an immersion blender. That way you keep the fresh herbs recognizable rather than crushing them into a paste.

Enough to dress a green salad for 2.

Recipe may be scaled up without issue



6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces

1/4 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 ½ t sugar

¼ C ice cold water + more if needed


Cut chilled butter and shortening into ½-inch cubes and place in freezer.

In the work bowl of the food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar and frozen butter and shortening. Pulse in 1-second bursts, about 5-7 times until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces remaining.

Remove the lid and sprinkle the ice water (minus the ice) over the flour mixture. Replace lid and pulse again until mixture comes together slightly and is evenly moistened.  You should be able to pinch a portion of the pastry together and have it hold its shape. If it won’t hold shape, carefully add more water one tablespoon at a time and pulse until proper consistency is achieved.

Turn out dough onto a sheet of plastic film, cover and form into a flat disk.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using.


2 T olive oil

½ onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small eggplant, unpeeled, cut into ¼” dice

1 small zucchini, cut into ¼ “dice

1 ea. red and green bell pepper, seeded and cut into ¼” dice

1 t kosher salt

2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 T sherry vinegar

1 large sprig of fresh thyme

Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste

¼ C fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

3 T fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat.  Sweat the onion and garlic until softened and just beginning to color.

Add the eggplant, squash and bell peppers.  Stir in salt and sauté until vegetables have softened but still have a bit of bite.

Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, thyme sprig, and hot sauce to taste. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat and cook, about 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened.  Remove from heat and discard thyme sprig.

Stir in basil and parsley. Set aside to cool or refrigerate for up to one week. The filling may also be frozen for up to one month.


2 cloves garlic, minced very fine (if you have roasted garlic –see VDP #22 for recipe – on hand, this would be a good place to use it)

¼ t saffron threads

Juice of ½ lemon

½ C homemade or high quality mayonnaise

2 T bread crumbs

½ t cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

3 T high quality flavorful olive oil


Warm lemon juice in the microwave for 10 seconds. Add garlic and saffron swirling to combine.  Allow saffron to bloom for 2 minutes.  *The longer you steep saffron the more pronounced flavor and color your rouille will have.

In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, breadcrumbs and cayenne. Add lemon-garlic mixture. Using an immersion blender pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy. Then, while blending, slowly add olive oil in a thin stream blending until well emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. 

Rouille may be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Preheat oven to 400. (Video prep for making and rolling out pate brisee:

When ready to assemble pie remove pastry from refrigerator and cut off 1/3 or disk and set aside to use for lattice top. Quickly reshape remaining dough into a rough circle.

Sprinkle countertop with 1T flour and place remaining pastry on it. Sprinkle top lightly with flour. Use a rolling pin, roll from the center off the edge of the dough.  Try to avoid back and forth rolling – by rolling from the center off the dough, you’ll prevent the rolling pin from bringing the dough back onto itself.

Continue rolling until you get a circle large enough to cover your pie plate with a 1 ½” overhang. Use rolling pin to transfer dough to pie pan.  Gently nudge pastry into shape. Refrigerate while rolling out smaller disk for top crust.

Roll out remaining dough and cut into 1” wide strips. Fill pie with vegetable filling spreading evenly. Arrange strips in a lattice pattern on top of filling. Tuck edges of pastry strips and overhang under and crimp edges. Brush lattice top with egg wash if desired.

Place pie on baking sheet to catch any drips.  Bake pie on bottom oven rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for 45 minute or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.  Cool 1 hour before serving.

Serves 4-6