Family Meal

by Chef David Ferguson




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Rosemary, Thyme, & Fennel Crusted Rib Eye Roast with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Prep Time:  8 hrs    Cook Time:  4 hrs    Serves:  8-10


Nothing is more impressive on a Holiday table than a gorgeous roast, and Rib Eye is the King of roasts.  Now while the time table on this may seem intimidating, it's the oven that does most of the work for you.  I used a 7 lb roast for this recipe, with a cook time of four hours.  If you need a larger roast for your crowd at the table than this, I would suggest breaking it down into 2-3 rib sections so that your cook times line up.  

The day before you put your roast in the oven, season it heavily and place it uncovered in the fridge. This technique is called  a "dry brine", and it will achieve two things for you: It will infuse the meat with flavor, and it will draw out excess moisture so you get better caramelization.  Let the roast sit in the fridge for a minimum of eight, and up to 24 hours before cooking. Before you place the roast in the oven, let it come up to room temperature for two hours first.  The closer the roast is to room temp, the more evenly it will cook.  I would also suggest browning the roast at the end of cooking as opposed to the beginning.   This is the opposite of what most recipes will tell you.  Starting at a lower temperature and then raising to 500 or throwing on the broiler at the end though will avoid the tough ring of overcooked meat than can often result from a hard sear or browning at the start.  



  • 3/4 cup rosemary leaves
  • 3/4 cup thyme leaves
  • 3 tbsp fennel pollen
  • 1 6-bone standing beef rib-eye roast (10–13 pounds)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Horseradish Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup prepared white horseradish
  • 6 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 4 tsp fresh lemon juice


Grind the rosemary and thyme leaves in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle to a powder. Transfer the leaves to a small bowl and mix in with the  fennel pollen, salt, and ground pepper. 

Place the  roast fat side down on a cutting board with a long side facing you. Using long strokes, cut the roast into two 3-bone roasts. French the rib bones 1½" from tip of bones, if desired (this is strictly for presentation and will have no affect on the cooking of the roast). Score the fat cap in a crosshatch pattern, spacing cuts 1" apart.  This will help the fat fully render as the roast cooks. Coat the roast heavily with the rosemary mixture. Place the roasts fat cap up, on a rack set inside a roasting pan. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

Place a rack in lower third of your oven and preheat to 225°. Roast meat, rotating pan once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of roasts registers 125° for medium-rare, or 130° for medium; about 3 ½–4 hours. Remove from the oven and tent with foil.  Let the roasts rest 30 minutes.

Whisk all the ingredients for the horseradish sauce together in a mixing bowl and then season with salt and pepper.  Cover and chill in the fridge.

Meanwhile, move rack to the upper third of the  oven; increase oven temperature to 500°. Roast meat until deep brown and exterior is crisp, 8–10 minutes. It may be necessary to use the broiler if you oven does not go this high.  In this case, lower the rack in the oven and broil on high until the desired color and texture is reached. Serve roasts alongside horseradish cream sauce.  Happy Holidays!

Fried Green Tomatoes, Burrata, Reduced Balsamic & Fresh Basil, with Arrabbiata Sauce

Prep Time:  30 min    Cook Time:  20 min    Serves:  2

As we approach the end to another summer, there are still a few treats left in the season.  This pairing of the southern classic, fried green tomatoes, and a spicy arrabiata sauce is a perfect way to burn through the abundance of fruit showing up on the vines right now.   Add in some fresh basil and some reduced balsamic vinegar and you have a late summer recipe to send the season out in style.

Arrabbiata means angry in Italian, denoting the spiciness in this tomato based sauce.  Simmer the red pepper flakes and garlic together in olive oil before adding in your tomatoes.  This will allow the heat and favor to diffuse into the oil and into your finished sauce.  

Simmer the vinegar slowly over low heat to reduce. This will ensure you don’t over reduce or scorch the syrup.  Reducing the vinegar not only makes it more sauce like, it concentrates the flavor.  The sweetness in the vinegar is important as it counters the heat in the arrabbiata, and makes the dish more balanced as a whole.    



  • 2 large green tomatoes (either roma or beefsteak); sliced
  • 8 oz burrata cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil; chopped
  • ½ cup arugula; chopped
  • 2 large eggs; whisked
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Arrabbiata Sauce

  • 4 large san marzano or roma tomatoes; chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil; finely chopped
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


Add olive oil, chopped garlic, and red pepper flakes to saute pan and simmer over medium/low heat.  Simmer for two-three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in your chopped tomatoes and raise the heat to medium, continuing to simmer for another 10 minutes.  Stir and break down the tomatoes using a wooden spoon before transferring to a food processor.  Pulse the sauce until it achieves a light chunky consistency.  Add in the fresh chopped basil then set aside.

Add the vinegar to a small sauce pot and bring to a simmer.  Drop the heat to low and reduce the vinegar to the consistency of a light syrup.  Remove vinegar from the heat, add to a small bowl and set to the side.   

In three separate bowls add your eggs, flour, and cornmeal.  Take the sliced green tomatoes and dredge them first in the flour, then in the eggs, and finally in cornmeal, before setting aside on a wire rack.  

In a high sided pot add the cup of vegetable oil and set over medium/high heat. The oil should reach approximately 300 degrees.  If you don’t have a thermometer to measure this, a good way to test the oil is to just have a spare piece or two to test fry.  When the oil is at the proper temperature, the tomatoes should turn a golden brown after about a minute on each side.  Remove the tomatoes from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel before seasoning with salt and pepper.  

Toss the remaining chopped basil, arugula, and olive oil together with some salt and pepper.  Plate a small amount of the arrabbiata sauce before placing your fried tomatoes on top.  Top the tomatoes with the salad of basil and arugula, then add the burrata on top and drizzle the balsamic syrup.

Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Sweet Corn Pudding, with Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Pesto

Prep time:  30 mins.    Cook time:  10 mins.    Serves:  2

Late August brings with it the rewards of a whole summer’s worth of work in the garden.  The greatest of those rewards for me being squash blossoms.  While squash blossoms great fresh and tossed in a salad or in a pasta dish, I wanted to make the blossoms the star in this recipe.  By stuffing them with a ricotta and herb mixture and then lightly batter frying, these blossoms become a  fresh and satisfying appetizer or light entree.  

Squash blossoms are very delicate and have to be handled with care when stuffing with the ricotta.  Slice the blossom open vertically, from the base to the top of the flower.  It’s better to slightly under fill the blossoms so that you have enough room to fold over and close the incision.  I would also suggest letting the  blossoms set up in the fridge for 20 to 30 mins after filling before battering and frying so that the filling does not run out once they hit the oil.  

While you could deep fry the blossoms in a more neutral flavored oil like vegetable, shallow frying in a pan with olive oil works great here.  Leaving a small bit of stem at the base of the blossom allows you to dip them in the batter and gently lower into the oil.  Fry the blossoms for one to two minutes on each side until a light golden brown then flip before allowing them to drain on paper towels.  


  • 8 cherry tomatoes; halved
  • basil leaves for garnish
  • ½ cup olive oil

Squash Blossoms-

  • 8 squash blossoms
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano; chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil; chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • ¾ cup seltzer
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • salt & pepper to taste

Corn Pudding-

  • 1½ cup yellow sweet corn
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup light cream
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp yellow cornmeal
  • salt & pepper to taste

Basil Pesto-

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl combine the ricotta, egg yolk, chopped oregano, chopped basil, salt, and pepper.  Cut open the squash blossoms and gently fill the flowers with the ricotta mixture, then set aside in the fridge to set.

Add the butter and corn to a small pot and lightly saute.  When the corn has begun to cook, add in the cream, sugar, salt and pepper and cook down until the cream has reduced by roughly half.  Add the corn mix into a food processor and pulse until smooth.  Add the corn mix back to the pot and return to heat, adding in the cornmeal.  Stir the corn pudding, adding in more cream or cornmeal in necessary until you achieve a thick, smooth texture.  Set aside.

Add the basil, walnuts, lemon juice, cheese, garlic to a food processor.  With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper then set aside.  

In a bowl combine the seltzer, flour, cornmeal, salt, and pepper with a whisk until well mixed.  Add the olive oil to a saute pan and place over medium heat.  Once the oil is heated, dip the blossoms one by one in the batter and then add to the pan.  Work in small batches, frying the blossoms for 1-2 minutes on each side.  

Plate the corn pudding before staggering your squash blossoms out.  Garnish with the cherry tomatoes, basil leaves,  and pesto.  

Charred Cucumber Salad with Roasted Carrots, Pepitas, Herbed Feta, & Turmeric Crema

Prep Time:  20 mins    Cook Time:  10 mins    Serves:  2

While charring in a hot pan may not be the first treatment that comes to mind for cucumber, I promise you will be happy with the results.  Cucumbers are in the squash family, so cooking them this way really isn’t too far outside the norm.  Due to their especially high water content, cucumbers must be seared in a screaming hot pan or they will steam instead of char.  Cut the cucumber in half vertically and salt the exposed flesh before cooking to draw out excess water and pat dry before adding to the pan.  


  • 1 persian hothouse cucumber; halved lengthwise

  • 4 carrots; halved lengthwise

  • 6-8 bibb lettuce leaves

  • ⅓ cup pepitas

  • ⅓ cup feta cheese

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 2 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • 2 tsp marjoram

  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl whisk together sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and marjoram.  Cover the crema and refrigerate until needed.  

Add a tablespoon of the olive oil to a large saute pan and place over high heat.  When the pan has become very hot and the oil begins to smoke, very carefully add the cucumbers cut side down.  Sear the cucumbers for approximately one minute then flip and lower the heat.  Continue to saute the cucumbers for another two minutes then remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.

Toss the carrots with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil then season with salt and pepper.  Cook the carrots in a saute pan over medium heat until fork tender, then set aside and drain on paper towels until ready to use.  

Plate the lettuce leaves then fan out the carrots and cucumbers on top.  Liberally add the crema  then garnish with the pepitas and feta.

Raspberry Sorbet, with Mango Cheesecake, Chambord Coulis, & Brûléed Mango

Prep Time:  1 hour    Cook Time:  45 mins    Serves 2

After an all too brief summer vacation it’s nice to come back to something sweet.  The creamy texture in this mango cheesecake and the vibrancy of the raspberry sorbet create a perfect summer dessert  and look beautiful on a plate together.  It is important to use fresh fruit for these recipes.  While frozen or canned substitutes would work, there is no replacing the intensity and depth of flavor you get when using fresh product.  And since it’s summer and both fresh mangoes and raspberries are readily available, you really have no excuse not to use fresh ingredients.  

There are a few different parts to this recipe.  However, since all the components require time to set in the fridge, you have the ability to focus on one task at a time.  Although  you could start early enough to get everything ready for dinner, I would suggest letting both the sorbet and cheesecake set over night in the fridge.



  • 4 6-ounce containers fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 cups water; divided
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup

Mango Cheesecake 

  • Filling-
    • 3 large ripe mangoes; peeled, pitted, coarsely chopped
    • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese; room temperature
    • 1¼ cup sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 large eggs
  • Crust-
    • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
    • ½ cup slivered blanched almonds
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter; cut into pieces
    • ¾ tsp almond extract
    • 2 tbsp ice water
  • Mango Topping-
    • 1 cup mango puree
    • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 tbsp gelatin
    • 2 tbsp warm water

Chambord Coulis

  • 1 cup Chambord
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries

Mango Brûlée

  • ½ ripe mango; cut into thin slices
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon


Place raspberries in a food processor and process until smooth. Press the raspberry  puree through a fine sieve to remove any seeds. Next, whisk together pureed raspberries and honey in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine three cups of water, sugar, and corn syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until the sugar is fully dissolved, approximately two minutes; do not stir. Stir the sugar mixture and the remaining one cup of water into the reserved raspberry puree.

Make an ice bath by filling a very large bowl with water and ice. Set the bowl of raspberry puree in the ice bath and whisk until cool. Pour the cooled puree into a 9”x 13” baking dish and cover by pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the puree.  Freeze overnight until solid.

For the cheesecake; Blend flour, almonds, sugar and salt in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add in butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in almond extract and enough water to form moist clumps. Knead dough briefly on work surface to combine before flattening into a disk. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate until firm before rolling; at least two hours.

Once the dough has cooled and set, preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter 9” diameter spring form pan with high sides. Press almond dough firmly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake until the crust is set, about 12 minutes. Cool completely while maintaining the oven temperature.

Puree mangoes in a food processor until smooth, yielding approximately three cups. Set aside two cups mango puree (reserve remaining puree for the topping). Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add two cups mango puree and beat until well blended. Pour filling over crust in pan.

Bake cake and setting the spring form pan into a larger baking dish filled with water.  It’s important the water level in the larger pan is filled to the same level as the cheesecake filling to ensure proper baking.  Bake until  set and the cake is puffed and golden around the edges (center may move very slightly when pan is gently shaken), about an hour and 25 minutes. Cool cake one hour.

Mix together together the tablespoon of gelatin and two tablespoons of warm water and stir to combine.  Whisk gelatin mixture into your reserved cup of mango puree along with a tablespoon of granulated sugar.  Place mango topping in fridge to cool and set at least one hour before pouring onto cheesecake and refrigerate uncovered overnight.

With the coulis simply combine the Chambord liqueur and fresh raspberries in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Ignite the Chambord to burn off the alcohol and allow to simmer until reduced by at least half.  You are looking for a thin syrup-like consistency that should easily coat a spoon.  Remove the mixture from the heat and puree in a food processor until smooth.  Pass the puree through a mesh sieve to remove any seeds and cool.  

Finally, the for the brûléed mango topping, sprinkle the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon heavily over the reserved mango slices.  Using a food torch, caramelize the sugar and cinnamon mixture on the mango slices.  Allow the slices to cool completely before slicing into strips and using to top cheesecake slices.


Ranier Cherries, Endive, Hazelnut Butter, with Goat Cheese, Black Pepper Bacon, and Cherry Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  30 mins.    Cook Time:  10 mins.    Serves:  2

Summer makes cooking very easy as it supplies us with a glut of beautiful and delicious ingredients to use.  At the top of both those categories are Ranier cherries.  Super sweet, with golden flesh and a bright red blush, you could do very well with just placing them in a bowl and letting your guests go at it.  For those interested in a slightly more elaborate treatment though, this salad balances the Ranier’s sweet flavor with the bitterness of endive,  smoky black pepper bacon, and creamy hazelnut butter.

For this recipe, it is recommended to use thick cut bacon.  Thinner cuts won’t break down properly and you’ll end up with bacon bits instead of the nice crispy lardons the recipe calls for.  Using a thick cut, and cutting the bacon into a small dice before rendering slowly will get you the best results.  Cook the bacon over low heat very slowly to cook all the fat out, then drain on a paper towel lined plate.  Reserve 3 tbsp of the bacon fat for your vinaigrette.

Toss the hazelnuts in olive oil and salt before roasting the oven, then cool. To remove any skins from the hazelnuts, simply dampen a towel and clean the skins off after roasting.  It's important to let them cool after roasting them in the oven.  Placing them directly in the food processor while still hot will cause the hazelnuts and oil to separate and prevent the “butter” from coming together.  If this happens, or if you accidentally add too much oil, add in a tbsp or 2 of cold water to bring everything back together and smooth out the texture.   You want to shoot for a very creamy and easily spreadable consistency.


  • 2 cups Ranier cherries; pitted and halved
  • 3 strips thick cut bacon; diced
  • 1 large endive spear; cleaned  and halved with leaves separated
  • 1 cup mache greens
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Hazelnut Butter

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 5+1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cold water (optional)

Cherry Vinaigrette

  • 1 cup Rainier cherries; pitted and halved
  • 1 tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 3 tbsp reserved bacon fat
  • 1 tbsp chopped thyme


Preheat your oven to 375°.  Toss the hazelnuts in a tbsp of olive oil with salt to season before transferring to a lined sheet tray and placing in your preheated oven.  Roast the hazelnuts for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer the nuts to a paper towel lined plate and place in the fridge to cool.  Once cool, place the nuts, honey, salt, and vanilla extract into a food processor.  With the motor running, slowly start to drizzle in the remaining 5 tbsp of olive oil and process until very smooth and creamy.  

Meanwhile, place a saute pan over medium-low heat and add in your bacon.  Render the bacon slowly until very crisp then transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

In a food processor add the cup of pitted cherries along with the champagne vinegar and chopped thyme.  With the motor running, add the reserved bacon fat a tbsp at a time.  Transfer the vinaigrette to a small bowl and chill.  

To assemble, run a long streak of the hazelnut butter across the plate before adding you endive leaves, mache, and cherries.  Fill the endive leaves like cups with the cherries, goat cheese, and bacon, before liberally adding dollops of the dressing around the plate.  

Pan Roasted Halibut, with Patti Pan Squash, Fava Beans, Shaved Purple Asparagus, Micro Greens, and Chive Oil

Prep Time:  20 min.    Cook Time:  20 min.  Serves:  2

The great thing about fresh seafood is that it reflects the seasons and allows the perfect accompaniment to seasonal vegetables. Halibut s tender, flavorful, and a great partner for the squash and fava beans in this recipe.  Though it is a bit pricier than some of the other fish in the seafood case, it’s well worth it.  Halibut is served with the skin removed so if you are not comfortable enough removing the skin yourself make sure to ask your seafood provider to do it for you.  

If you have a hard time tracking down the squash and fava beans, check your local farm market.  Bishop’s in Guilford is currently carrying  both, as well as the beautiful micro greens for the salad in this recipe.  When cooking the squash, beans and asparagus, use a small amount of oil.  When the begin to soften and become tender, add a tbsp or so of water or stock and toss in a pat of butter.  This should provide a light sauce and help the ingredients come together a little more.  

Chive oil is a great simple dressing for salads and is a breeze to make.  Simply grab a handful of fresh chives and throw them in the blender with a cup of olive oil and blend on high.  The vibrant color is matched by the bright flavor.  Feel free to dress is up with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt as well.  


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  • Two 6 oz  halibut fillets; skin off
  • 1 cup patti pan squash; quartered
  • ½ cup fava beans; shelled
  • 3 stalks purple asparagus; shaved with vegetable peeler
  • 1 tbsp parsley; finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil; finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup mache greens; picked
  • ⅓ cup micro greens
  • ½ cup fresh chives
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic; minced
  • ½ shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp water or vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Season halibut liberally on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.  Add your chives and olive oil along with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt to a blender and set to high until the chives are completely emulsified into the oil.  Set aside

Set a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.  Add in your chopped shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant before adding your squash and fava beans to the pan.  Continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until the squash and beans have softened.  At this point, add in your asparagus along with the tbsp of stock and butter.  Toss everything together until a light sauce begins to form.  Add in the chopped parsley and basil and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, set another pan over high heat and add the remaining tbsp of vegetable oil. Once the pan is very hot and smoke starts to lightly rise from the pan, carefully add in the fish.  Slowly lower each piece into the pan away from you so no hot oil splashes back.  Slightly lower the heat and cook the fish until you can see browning at the edges.  Gently look to see if a good sear has formed before flipping the fish over and cooking only briefly (30 seconds to a minute).  Remove the fish from the pan and allow to briefly drain on a paper towel.  Dress your greens in a small bowl with the reserved chive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper before serving over the fish.  

Grilled Plums, Burrata, Baby Arugula, Shaved Almonds, and Vanilla-Honey Vinaigrette with Reduced Balsamic

Prep Time:  10 mins    Cook Time:  25 mins    Serves:  2

For the uninitiated, burrata is a cream filled mozzarella cheese.  Burrata is a wonderful, fresh ingredient on it’s own, that is exceptional with just some bread and a drizzle of olive oil and salt.  In this salad though, it really stands out with it’s heavenly texture and indulgent creaminess.  To serve; slice each piece in half, exposing the filling. Gently turn each half inside out and plate.  Serving the cheese this way will enable you to cut it with a fork without chasing it all over the plate.

I make a version of this salad in mid to late summer with peaches.  Since it is still April though I used red plums, which are an excellent substitute.  Make sure to heat the grill for at least ten minutes before starting your plums and to clean the grill well with an oiled cloth.  This will ensure high heat and a clean surface so you get proper caramelization on the fruit.  

Reduced balsamic is possibly my favorite condiment.  It’s great on everything from salads to ice cream.  And it’s simple to make.  Simply simmer balsamic vinegar over medium-low heat until it achieves the consistency of a light syrup.  Use a small pot and stir often with a rubber spatula.  Remember the vinegar will thicken more once it cools so do not over reduce or you will get something more akin to molasses in consistency.  If this happens simply whisk in a teaspoon or so of cold water to thin the syrup back out.  


  • 2 red plums; halved and quartered
  • 16 oz fresh burrata; halved
  • 16 oz baby arugula
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil; chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint; whole leaf
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint; chopped
  • ⅓ cup shaved almonds
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup + ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar; reduced
  • Salt to taste


Pour balsamic into a small sauce pot and set over medium low heat.  Simmer balsamic, stirring often, until reduced to a light syrup.  Remove  the pan from heat and let the reduced balsamic cool.  

Preheat your grill with burners on high.  Toss plums in ⅓ cup olive oil so they are well covered.  Place your plums on the grill evenly spaced.  Grill plums 3-4 mins on each side, looking for good grill marks on each side before flipping.  Let plums cool on a wire rack.

In a medium mixing bowl, add in lemon juice, honey, and vanilla extract.  Whisk ingredients until they are well mixed.  Gradually drizzle in olive oil while whisking, then add chopped mint and season lightly with salt to taste.  

In a large mixing bowl, toss together baby arugula, basil, mint, and almonds.  Dress salad before serving on top on plums and burrata, finishing with a drizzle of reduced balsamic.


Skirt Steak, Arugula Salad, Queso Blanco, Red Pepper Coulis, & Chimichurri

Prep Time:  20 mins.    Cook Time:  12 mins.   Serves:  2

Skirt steak is a cut more prized for flavor than tenderness.   Fatter than filet with slightly more steps in preparation, it is not the usual choice for home cooks.  However, it is a great choice to match with the bitter, peppery arugula greens, and the sweetness of roasted bell peppers.

Skirt steak can come with a tough membrane that needs to be removed before cooking.  You can request that your local butcher remove it or you can remove it yourself at home.  If not cooked properly skirt steak can be tough.  A quick pan sear to medium rare or medium is the preferred technique.  Make sure to slice against the grain, as with most steaks, to maximize tenderness.  

I used baby arugula in the salad as I think it has better flavor than the more mature greens.  The only drawback to this is that baby arugula can be a bit stemmy.  While definitely a labor of love, removing the stem from the leaves will give you a nicer product.  


  • 1 lb skirt steak
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 cup baby arugula; stems removed
  • ⅓ cup sweet corn
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso blanco
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic;  chopped and divided
  • ½ shallot; chopped fine
  • ½ shallot; sliced thin into rings
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp olive oil; divided
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place red pepper directly on oven rack and cook 10-15 mins until skin begins to char.  Place pepper in a mixing bowl and cover with a towel.  Set aside.

Place a saute pan over medium heat and add in 1 tbsp olive oil along with chopped shallot and 1 clove chopped garlic.  Saute garlic and shallot for 3-5 minutes.  Once cooked, add the garlic and shallot to a food processor.  Return to the red pepper and remove the skin and seeds.  Add the cleaned pepper to the garlic and shallot in the food processor along with the sherry vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.  Process pepper on high until very smooth, then pass mixture through a fine mesh sieve.  Set aside.  

Add ¼ cup olive oil along reserved garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, red pepper flakes and lime juice to a mixing bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  

Place a large skillet over high heat.  Add vegetable oil and heat pan until very hot.  Season skirt steak heavily with salt and pepper before placing in pan.  Cook skirt steak 3-4 minutes on each side before removing from the pan and letting rest 5-10 minutes.

Toss together baby arugula, corn, and sliced shallot in a mixing bowl.  Drizzle salad with olive oil and fresh lime juice then season with salt and pepper.  Serve salad alongside skirt steak, topping with crumbled queso blanco.  Serve chimichurri over steak with red pepper coulis on side.  

A Better Chicken Dinner Part 2: Organic Chicken Breast, Celery Root Puree, Spring Vegetables, & Pickled Radish

Prep time:  30 mins.   Cook time:  30 mins.   Serves:  2

The carrots and asparagus are intentionally given minimal attention here , in order to bring out their freshness and true flavor.  Simply seasoning with salt and pepper and roasting will bring out natural sugars and give a clean, fresh palate to work with.  

Celery root is exactly what it sounds like, the tuber that celery stalks grow from.  It has the vegetative taste of celery with the earthiness of a russet potato.  Simmered until very tender and then pureed with buttermilk and butter gives it a mashed potato like texture while retaining most of the original flavor.  


  • 1 whole split chicken breast
  • 1 whole celery root; peeled and cubed
  • 1 large leek; sliced
  • 4 whole carrots; peeled
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 1 radish; sliced very thin
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 3 tbsp butter; divided
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil; divided
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley; chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a small saucepan, add vinegar, tbsp salt, sugar, and celery seed.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.   When vinegar mix is hot, pour over sliced radish.  Set aside and allow radish to pickle while you prepare the rest of your components.

Place a sauce pan over medium  and add cubed celery root and water.  Simmer celery root until very tender.  Strain celery root and add to a food processor.  Puree celery root, adding in 1 tbsp butter and buttermilk, until very smooth.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Place a saute pan over medium heat with remaining butter.  Add leeks and season well with salt.  Allow the leeks to gradually cook down and become tender, occasionally stirring and adding a tbsp of water to make a light sauce.  

While the leeks are cooking, place a large skillet or saute pan over high heat with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.  When the pan is very hot, place your chicken breast skin side down in the pan.  Immediately place the pan in the oven and roast chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 160, about 15 minutes.  Flip the chicken over about halfway through the cooking time to ensure it cooks evenly.  

Meanwhile, add remaining vegetable oil to a saute pan and add carrots, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Place the pan in the oven and allow the carrots to roast until fork tender, about 10 mins.  Halfway through the cook time, add in the asparagus and roast both vegetables together.  Slice carrots in half to plate once they are finished.  


Asparagus Galette, with Bacon & Spring Onions

Prep time:  30 minutes    Cook Time:  30 minutes    Serves:  2-3

Perfect as an appetizer, a galette is a cross between a pie and a flat bread pizza.  Even though this recipe is easy to make, it can become even easier if you use a store bought pie crust.  Of course to some, combing the words “store bought” and “pie crust”  is a mortal sin.  Accordingly, I have included a recipe for a fool proof homemade pie crust as well.  To add another layer of indulgence and make your galette the perfect addition to your next brunch, add a fried egg or two on top.

Spring onions, or ramps, smell like garlic with a mild onion flavor.  If you are lucky enough, you can find them growing wild on a grassy hill in your yard.  Otherwise most local farmer’s markets will carry the sought after seasonal ingredient this time of year.  The leaves and the bulb are both edible, with the leaves being great tossed in a salad.  

The asparagus should be raw, peeled, then cut in half lengthwise before cutting again into thirds.  Be liberal with your toppings, especially the cheese. As a glaze, some people like to use egg wash on their pie crusts.  While this is a perfectly acceptable technique, I prefer brushing on some melted butter to give a deep golden color and add flavor.  Brush some butter on the edges right before you place the galette in the oven and then once again upon removing.  


Pie crust

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter; cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 6 tbsp (approx.) ice water


  • 1 cup asparagus; sliced in half and chopped into 3rds
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ½ cup shaved manchego
  • 1 shallot; finely sliced
  • ⅓ cup cooked bacon; chopped
  • ⅓ cup ramps; greens removed, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


For the pie crust add the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.  Add in the butter then pulse until a coarse meal forms. Gradually, blend in enough ice water so that moist clumps form. Gather  the dough into a  ball and divide it in half. Form the dough into two balls then flatten each into disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic and let chill for two hours at least.  If you are doing this ahead, the dough will hold for two days.

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Add  the bacon to a cold saute pan or baking tray and place in oven.  Cook the bacon until fully rendered, about 15 minutes, then place on a paper towel or wire rack to cool.  Coarsely chop your bacon and then set aside.

To assemble the galette, roll out your dough onto a well floured surface.   Form a circle about 12” and trim the edges.  Layer on your cheese then the asparagus, shallots, ramps, and bacon, leaving a one inch border.  Fold over the edge of the dough to form pleats.  Brush the edges of the galette with butter and drizzle the olive oil over the toppings.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and then place in the oven.  Bake 20-30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and asparagus is tender.  Remove the galette and brush the crust with the remaining melted butter.  Let cool five to ten minutes before cutting.       

Lemon Panna Cotta, with Lemon Rosemary Marmalade, & Pistachio Crumble

Prep Time:  15 minutes    Cook Time:  30 minutes    Serves:  8

Panna Cotta is Italian for “cooked cream”,  and is a traditional northern Italian dessert that is sweetened and thickened with gelatin.  Panna cotta is an easy and approachable dessert for beginners, but can be a beautiful showcase for fresh ingredients and subtle flavors.

This recipe makes several servings and will hold for a couple of days in the fridge, so it’s great as a make-ahead dessert for a dinner party.  To remove the panna cotta from the ramekins and serve, run a knife along the edge of the ramekin.  Place a small plate over the top of the ramekin and flip, so the ramekin is on top of the plate and the panna cotta comes out.  Serve with the marmalade and crumble and fresh lemon zest.  



  • Peel from 3 lemons
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh rosemary; finely chopped
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar

Panna Cotta

  • 1 cup whole milk; divided
  • 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Peel from 1 lemon

Pistachio Crumble

  • ¼ cup pistachios; shelled
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt


Place a large saucepan of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add lemon peel and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, then repeat another two times. Let the lemon peel cool then slice into a thin julienne; then once more in half.

Place a small heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in sugar, lemon juice, and water until sugar dissolves. Add in lemon peel and bring to a simmer.  Cook until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup and an instant-read thermometer reads 225°.  Cover and chill.

Pour a ½  cup milk into a medium bowl and sprinkle in gelatin. Let the milk and gelatin sit until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine cream, sugar, vanilla, lemon peel, and remaining ½ cup milk in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Remove mixture from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.

Bring cream mixture back to a simmer.  Add gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, then strain. Divide mix among eight ¾  cup ramekins. Chill uncovered until panna cotta is set, at least 6 hours. Cover and keep chilled.

In a food processor, pulse the pistachios a few times until roughly chopped. Add the flour, sugar, salt, and pulse until the ingredients are just combined. Add the melted butter and pulse a few times until the mixture forms pea-sized crumbs.

Transfer the crumbs to a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until crumble starts to brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and using a flat spatula, flip the crumble over, piece by piece, so that the browned side is now on the bottom. The pieces will break apart; this is O.K. Bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crumble is golden-brown and very crisp. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before breaking apart into crumbs.


Sole, Green Pea Pesto, Baby Yukon Potatoes, & Spring Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  30 mins    Cook Time:  30 mins    Serves:  2

With warmer temperatures and the return of Daylight Savings, Spring has officially returned.  Sole is a delightfully light and delicate fish that fits perfectly into this Spring recipe with a sweet and mild flavor.   Sole fillets can be very thin and fragile so it is important to handle them carefully and cook them quickly in a hot pan to avoid overcooking.  

The cucumber and carrots can be shredded with a box grater or cut into a very thin julienne, whichever you are more comfortable with.  If you have the knife control and skill, you might get better results with a julienne.  If you are pressed for time or just not confident enough to make such small cuts, shredding them is perfectly fine.  


  • 2 6-oz Sole fillets
  • 1 cup fresh English sugar peas
  • 8 Baby Yukon potatoes
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup shredded cucumber
  • ½ cup basil; chiffonade
  • ½ cup mint; chiffonade
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice; divided
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½ shallot; chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic; chopped fine
  • ¾ cup + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup chicken stock
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Place baby Yukons in a small  sauce pot and enough water to just cover the potatoes.  Salt the water heavily and bring the water up to a low simmer.  Simmer the potatoes until fork tender, about 15 minutes and then remove from the water.  Let potatoes dry on a wire rack before slicing them in ¼” rounds.  Set aside.

Place chicken stock in a small sauce pot and set over medium heat.  Blanch peas in stock until tender then strain, reserving the stock.  Add the peas, half the of the basil and mint and 1 clove of minced garlic to a food processor.  With the motor running add  stock gradually until  smooth.  Add in butter and process until melted.  

Add shallots and garlic to a pan with teaspoon of olive oil and set over medium heat.  Cook shallots and garlic until garlic has begun to brown and shallots are translucent.  Add in white wine vinegar and reduce.  Once vinegar, garlic and shallots  have reduced to a thin syrup remove pan from heat.  Add lemon juice, honey, and reduced shallots and garlic to a blender.  With the motor running, gradually drizzle in olive oil to emulsify.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.  

Place a saute pan over medium heat and add 2 tbsp vegetable oil.  Place potatoes flesh side down in pan.  Cook 2-3 minutes until brown, then flip.  Cook additional 2-3 minutes on opposite side before removing potatoes from pan with a slotted spoon and draining on a paper towel.

Return pan to medium high heat and add reserved vegetable oil.  Season Sole fillets with salt and pepper.  When the pan and oil are very hot, add the sole fillets.  Cook 4-5 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 4-5 minutes.  

Toss shredded carrot and cucumber along with reserved basil and mint in vinaigrette.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Plate pea green puree with potatoes, serve Sole over potatoes and top with salad.

Pappardelle, Pancetta, Sugar Peas, & Fried Sage, with Shallot White Wine Sauce

Prep Time:  30 min    Cook Time:  15 min    Serves:  2


Spring has begun it’s slow but inevitable conquest of winter.  While that victory may come a little slower in New England, I can’t help but get excited about some of my favorite spring ingredients. This pasta has a light sauce to feature the freshness of the components, but is also hearty enough to get you through those cold early spring nights.   

The pancetta should be rendered slowly under low heat to get all the fat out and achieve a nice, crisp texture.  Reserving the rendered fat provides a flavorful base to build your sauce from.  Make sure to also reserve some of the pasta water to add additional flavor, and a bit of texture to the sauce as well.  

The pasta should be cooked al dente, and finished in the pan with the rest of your ingredients in the sauce.  Finishing the pasta in the sauce not only allows flavor to soak in, but it also releases some of the the starch from the pasta as well.  This makes the pasta “stand-up” on the plate and makes the dish more cohesive, not just lose ingredients tossed together.  


  • 4 oz dried pappardelle
  • 1 cup pancetta; chopped
  • 1 cup English sweet peas; picked and rinsed
  • 1/2 shallot; finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic; finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese; shaved
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage; chopped + 6 whole leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter


Place a pan with olive oil over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and lower to medium-low heat, allowing the pancetta to render slowly.  Once all the fat has rendered and the pancetta has crisped, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Reserve the rendered fat.

Add the shallots and garlic to the pan with the pancetta fat and cook over medium heat, stirring often.  When the garlic has started to brown and the shallots turn translucent, turn off the heat to avoid a flame-up and add your wine.  Turn the heat back up to medium and reduce the wine until there is about 2 tbsp left in the pan.  Take the sauce off the heat and set aside.

Add vegetable oil to a pan and set over medium heat.  Test the temperature of the oil with one of the whole sage leaves.  The oil should be hot enough to fry the leaf without totally burning it. Too cold and the oil will soak into the leaf and make it soggy.  When the oil has come up to temperature add the rest of your leaves and fry quickly, removing from the oil with a slotted spoon and placing on paper towels to drain.  

Meanwhile fill a large pot with water and salt heavily.  Your pasta water should be almost as salty as sea water.  Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil before adding the pappardelle.   Cook the pasta until al dente before removing from the pot and adding to your shallots, garlic and wine.  Reserve some of the pasta water and add to the sauce pan as well, enough to just cover the pasta.  Return the sauce pan to medium heat, adding peas, and fresh sage.  Cook pasta in sauce, adding more reserved water if necessary, until the sauce thickens and coats pasta evenly.  Add in your reserved pancetta and butter, tossing to mix.  Plate your pasta, crumbling fried sage over the top and garnishing with shaved Pecorino Romano.


Stuffed Pork Loin with Dates & Golden Raisins, Salad of Arugula, Fennel & Blood Orange, with Blood Orange Gastrique

Prep Time:  1 hour    Cook Time:  30 min    Serves: 4

Pork loin is a fantastic protein for its versatility.  It’s also cheap, which is arguably a better quality.  This dish however, is luxurious and would be at home on any fine dining menu. Serve this to impress guests at a dinner party, or as a treat for a weekend dinner with the family.

A note on cooking pork.  Until quite recently, it had been suggested to cook your pork all the way through to 165 degrees.  Anyone who has had a dry pork loin before will know this is overdone.  To the joy of chefs everywhere -who had been insisting on the change for years - recommended temperature has been lowered to 145 degrees.  Since a stuffed roast pork loin is relatively large, resting the pork like a steak will allow it to come up to temperature gradually without risk of overcooking.  I recommend cooking your pork to an internal temperature between 135-140 degrees in  the oven, and allowing it to  rest and finish off the heat   This will produce pork with a slight rose-hue in the middle, but it is most definitely done.  The pork will be far more tender, juicy and flavorful at this temperature, rather than tough and dry.


  • 1 2-3lb pork loin roast - butterflied
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil


  • ½ cup chopped seedless dates
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 large shallot - finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 large fennel bulb - sliced thin on mandolin, leaves reserved
  • 2 large blood oranges - skin and pith removed, cut into segments
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • gastrique
  • ½ cup fresh blood orange juice
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • ¼ orange blossom honey
  • 3 tbsp chicken stock


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt butter in large sauté pan over medium heat.  When the butter has melted, add in the shallots and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic has browned and shallots have become translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add dates, raisins, and walnuts to the pan and stir to incorporate all ingredients thoroughly.  Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until walnuts start to brown and stuffing has become fragrant.  Remove stuffing from heat and add mix to a bowl and set aside.

Lay butterflied pork loin out on your cutting board and season heavily with salt and pepper.   Lay a thin layer of stuffing over the entirety of the pork loin and, beginning at one end, slowly roll up the loin into a tight cylinder and lay seam side down.  Using kitchen twine, tie the roast securely in 1” intervals.  Season the outside heavily with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a large skillet with 3 tbsp vegetable over high heat.  When the pan and oil are hot, sear all sides of the loin until golden brown.  Remove the pork loin from the pan.  Place pork on a lined baking sheet, and roast in the oven  for approximately 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135-140 degrees.   Remove from oven and let rest 10-15 mins.

Meanwhile, place a small sauce pot over low heat and add honey, vinegar, and blood orange juice.  Allow juice and vinegar to reduce over low heat until the mixture thickens and coats a spoon, about 15 minutes.  Add chicken stock and reduce again, another 3-4 minutes.  Remove gastrique from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.  Assemble salad of arugula, fennel, and blood orange in a large mixing bowl and toss with olive oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Slice pork loin diagonally on a bias and serve alongside salad, drizzling salad and pork  with gastrique.  Garnish with fennel leaves.

Pan Roasted Salmon, Red Quinoa Pilaf with Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, & Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  30 min    Cook Time:  40 min    Serves:  2


Cooking fish can be a bit intimidating.  A beautiful fish filet can go from perfectly cooked to overdone in a snap, and leave you with something dry and unpalatable.  However, once you get the timing down you will be producing flavorful dishes with tender, flaky flesh and a perfect crisp crust.   Salmon, due to its higher fat content and darker flesh, is more forgiving than white fish to cook. You can actually take temperature on a piece of salmon and cook it much like a steak from medium-rare to well done.  For this recipe I will be cooking the salmon to medium, but if you like your fish a little more well done, just add a couple more minutes in the oven.  To save yourself some time and effort, ask your fish provider to remove the skin for you. They should be more than happy to accommodate your request and it saves you a step in your preparation. 

Quinoa often carries a reputation as a bland health food, but this pilaf is hearty with lots of bold flavor. The sweet potatoes and onions balance nicely off the slight bitterness of the spinach.  Quinoa, like most grains, cooks at a proportion of 1:2 grain to liquid.  Always rinse your quinoa in cold water before cooking to remove excess starch and add in your onion, spinach and sweet potatoes at the very end of cooking.

When preparing the brown butter vinaigrette, be careful not to scorch the milk solids in the butter.  Cook the butter over medium heat.  At first the butter will foam up before the milk solids separate and settle to the bottom of the pan.  At this point, watch the color of the solids closely as they shift from a light golden hue to a darker brown color.  Brown butter smells heavenly and carries a complex nutty flavor that adds a depth and intricacy to anything it’s added to. 


  • 8 oz salmon fillets; skin off
  • 1 large sweet potato; peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 2 ½  cups raw spinach; separated. 2 cups whole, ½ cup chiffonade
  • ½ cup fresh basil; chiffonade (fine ribbon cut)
  • ¼ cup smoked almonds; chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • ½ large yellow onion
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil; separated
  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • 6 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Season both sides of your salmon liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.  Add your cubed sweet potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss the the sweet potatoes to evenly coat and spread out on a lined baking tray.  Place the sweet potatoes in the oven for 20 minutes and then set aside, they should be fork tender at this point. 

Meanwhile, place quinoa and vegetable stock into a medium sauce pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  The grains should appear soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a medium sauté pan and add garlic.  Allow the garlic to slightly color and become fragrant before adding your onions.  Cook onions until they become tender and translucent, about 5 minutes, then add 2 cups spinach.  Toss the spinach in the pan and cook lightly, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Allow the spinach to begin to wilt before removing everything from the pan and incorporating into the quinoa.  Cover and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until browned but not burned, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.  In a blender, combine the vinegar, olive oil, shallot and mustard. Blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the reserved butter and blend until thickened. Season to taste and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.

Place a sauté pan over medium high heat and add the remaining tbsp of oil.  Allow the pan to become very hot, with light wisps of smoke coming off before placing the salmon gently into the pan.  Immediately put the pan in the oven and cook for 8 minutes, allowing for extra time for more well done fish.  When you are ready to serve, dress the chiffonade basil, spinach, and chopped almonds with the vinaigrette and serve the small salad atop the salmon.


Poached Pears, Lavender Earl Grey Mascarpone, Honey Graham 'Earth', & Candied Honey Chip

Prep Time:  20 min    Cook Time:  1 hour    Serves:  2

This is a perfect dessert for a winter dinner party, elegant but not too rich.  Early grey tea, honey, and lavender marry together well and play off the tanginess of the mascarpone, which  adds a luxurious texture.  The prep and assembly for this is also refreshingly simple, and the components can be made a day ahead of time to give you one less thing to worry about when entertaining guests. The only thing to watch for when making this is the honey chip.  Use a silicone baking mat or parchment paper on a baking tray and monitor closely to ensure you don’t burn the sugar.  


  • 2 ripe (but still firm) bosc pears; peeled, halved, and cored
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong earl grey tea
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 4 sprigs fresh lavender
  • ½ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp blackstrap rum
  • 4 honey graham crackers


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soak pears in water and 1 tsp of lemon juice to keep from browning.  Combine white wine, tea, honey, vanilla extract, lavender, and remaining tsp of lemon juice in a medium sauce pot over medium heat.  Stir mixture until the honey dissolves and gently add pears to poaching liquid cut side down.  Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until pears become very tender; about 30 minutes. Flip the pears over about halfway through to ensure they poach evenly.

Meanwhile, put the graham crackers in a food processor and run until they become powdered, set aside for later.  

Once the pears have finished remove from the poaching liquid and drain on a wire rack.  Cool the pears in the fridge.  Bring the poaching liquid back up to a low boil and reduce to about ¾ cup.  Reserve ¼ cup of the syrup.  Drizzle a small amount of the syrup onto a parchment or silicone mat lined baking tray and place in the oven.  Monitor the syrup in the oven closely, once it begins to bubble and brown slightly at the edges, remove the tray from the oven and place to the side to cool.  

Add the mascarpone, sugar, and rum to a large bowl of a stand mixer and whisk.  Add in the reserved ¼ cup syrup and whisk on high until peaks form.  Place the mascarpone in the fridge to set.  Reserve the remaining syrup to drizzle over the pears once you are ready to serve.  

Pan Seared Diver Scallops, Fried Leeks, with Sauce Verte, & Pistachio Gremolata

Prep Time:  35 mins    Cook Time:  5 mins    Serves:  2

Scallops are a luxurious seafood that when cooked properly yield a soft texture and subtle, sweet flavor.  Searing scallops without overcooking can take a bit of practice, but once you have mastered the technique they will be one of you your favorite items to cook for their versatility.  Like all proteins, getting a good sear on scallops requires a few steps.  Scallops should be rinsed, patted dry, and allowed to come up to room temperature before searing in a very hot pan.  The time in the pan won’t be much, merely a minute or so each side.  You will be able to see them caramelize at the edges, indicating it is time to flip.  Due to their short cooking time, it is possible for you to complete all other items in the recipe and get them on the plate before turning your complete attention to cooking the scallops.  


  • 1 lb fresh diver scallops
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup leeks; thinly sliced into 2” segments
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley; divided
  • ½ cup chopped chervil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped; divided
  • 1 shallot, peeled and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon chopped anchovy
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pistachios
  • 1 lemon; juiced and zested
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


    Place a high sided pan over medium heat along with the vegetable oil and allow to come up to temperature.  To prepare the leeks, cut the white and pale green part off of the stem. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly (try to keep each half in tact).  Thinly slice the leeks into even pieces, about 2" -inches long. Dry thoroughly.  Test the oil with a few pieces to make sure the oil is the correct temperature and not too hot or cold.  Using a slotted spoon, lower the leeks into the oil. Fry them for about 1 to 2 minutes, just until they turn golden. Be careful of any splattering oil. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
    In a blender, combine  1 cup parsley, chervil, chives, 2 cloves garlic, shallot, anchovy, capers and lemon juice. Pulse to puree. With the motor running, very slowly drizzle in 1 cup of the olive oil until it is thoroughly incorporated. Transfer to a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Combine the reserved parsley and garlic along with the pistachios, lemon, and red pepper in a small bowl; let stand 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.  Place a large saute pan over high heat with reserved tbsp olive oil and butter.  Season both sides of the scallops liberally with salt and pepper and wait for the pan to come up to temperature.  When the pan is hot (thin wisps of smoke should be coming off the pan), gently add the scallops one at a time to the pan, making sure they are not touching each other.  Move quickly and ensure they have even contact with the pan.  Cook for one minute, looking for browning at the edges, then flip.  The scallops should have a 1/4-inch golden crust on each side while still being translucent in the center



Braised Beef Short Ribs, Sweet Carrot Puree, Pan Roasted Baby Potatoes, Button Mushrooms, & Seared Onions

Prep Time:  40 min    Cook Time:  2 ½ hrs    Serves:  2

Winter weather and colder temperatures call for a hearty braise.  This recipe may seem daunting, but fortunately most of the work is done in the oven. Developing the flavors gradually will help ensure you have a robust dish with decadent texture. Trust me; it’ll be well worth it in the end.

To begin, sear the ribs on high heat in a large pan on all sides. Sautéing the carrots, celery and onions in the leftover drippings will produce caramelization and build the deep flavors that a good braise delivers. 

When preparing the carrots, cut them into equal size slices and simmer in water with sugar and salt.  Cook the carrots until they are extremely tender, and reserve the liquid used to simmer them to make your puree.  Gradually add the reserved liquid as you process the carrots so you don’t accidentally add too much.  

The mushrooms are cooked twice; once in the oven to remove excess water, and then finished in a pan with butter when you’re ready to serve.  It’s important to cook them this way, as simply placing them in the pan first will result in soggy mushrooms that have steamed in their own liquid.

Cook the onions quickly in butter over med-high heat.  You want to cook them fast with higher heat and let them retain some texture while still picking up some flavor from the pan.  

When the ribs are finished, strain the solids out of the braising liquid and reduce until thickened for use as a sauce.  You may need to skim the liquid to remove some excess fat.  Simply remove the thin translucent layer of fat that will accumulate on top with a ladle and allow the liquid to reduce until it coats a spoon.  Stir in a small knob of cold butter to finish the sauce off the heat.


● 1 lb bone in beef short ribs

● 48 oz beef stock

● 1 cup  Amber ale

● 2 celery stalks, cut into ¼” slices

● 7  medium carrots, peeled and divided (2 cut into ¼” slices, 5 cut into 1/2 “ rounds)

● 1 ½  yellow onion, divided (1 rough chopped, ½ sliced into ¼” crescents)

● 2 cup button mushrooms, chopped

● 2 oz bacon

● 6 baby yukon potatoes

● 6 oz chives, divided (4 oz whole, 2 oz chopped fine)

● 4 oz thyme, whole

● 4 cloves garlic, minced

● 2  tbs olive oil

● 4 tbs vegetable oil, divided

● 4 tbs butter, divided

● 3 cups water

● ¼ cup granulated sugar

● salt and pepper to taste

● flat leaf parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place a large pan over high heat with 2 tbsp vegetable oil. While the pan is heating, season all sides of your short ribs liberally with salt and pepper.  When the pan has come up to temperature, begin searing the short ribs for 1 minute on each side.  When all sides have been seared, remove the short ribs from the pan and set aside.  

Remove any used oil from the pan. Reduce to medium heat and add in remaining 2 tbs of vegetable oil, garlic and rough chopped onions, stirring occasionally.  Cook for 2 minutes before adding in the celery and carrots.  Allow carrots and celery to begin to brown before pouring in the beer. Begin stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring to allow the beer to reduce and evaporate before returning the short ribs to the pan. Once in the pan, pour in enough stock to almost cover them leaving only the very top of the short rib exposed.  Add in the whole chives, thyme, and bacon and bring to a boil. Put on the  lid and place   in the oven for two hours. 

Coat the chopped mushrooms evenly with 2 tbsp of olive oil before spacing them apart on a lined sheet tray. Roast in the oven for 15-20 mins to remove any excess moisture and then set aside.  

Combine the remaining carrots with the water, sugar, and a liberal pinch of salt in a small sauce pot.  Set the pot over medium heat and bring up to a simmer, allowing the carrots to cook until very tender.  Strain off the carrots, reserving a ¼ cup of the liquid.  Add carrots to a blender and begin blending on low, gradually easing towards high to avoid splatter.  Carefully pour in reserved liquid in stages, pureeing the carrots until very smooth.  Season with salt (to taste) and set aside. 

Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and add in 1 tbsp butter.  Place the reserved onions into the pan and season lightly with salt.  Allow the onions to cook until they soften and start to brown, tossing occasionally.  Reserve the onions once they have finished.

Place potatoes in a medium sauce pot and cover with water.  Season the water heavily with salt and set the potatoes over medium heat to simmer until fork tender.  Remove the potatoes from the water and slice in half.  

Once the short ribs are fork tender, remove from the pan and strain off the solids in the liquid.  Return the liquid and short ribs back to the pan and reduce over medium high heat.  

Finish the mushrooms and potatoes while the braising liquid is reducing. Place a medium sized pan over medium heat and melt 1 tbsp of butter. Place the potatoes cut-side down into the pan.  Cook for two minutes on each side until golden brown, remove from pan, and set aside.

Return pan to high heat, along with 1 tbsp of butter. Add the mushrooms and allow to brown, tossing occasionally. Once browned, incorporate the chopped chives and potatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste.  .  

Once the braising liquid has reduced to the point where it will coat a spoon, remove the short ribs.  Add remaining 1 tbsp of butter and stir to emulsify.  Serve the short ribs, potatoes, and mushroom over the carrot puree spooning the reduced sauce on top. Finish by garnishing with whole parsley and the browned onions. Enjoy!