December 17, 2014


2/3 lb ground pork
2/3 lb ground lean beef
2/3 lb ground veal
1 big carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 1/2 cup cider
1 1/4 cups mashed Russet potatoes*
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon chervil or savory
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
pastry for a 2 crust pie
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, sauté meat until no longer pink, breaking up any large chunks. Drain off any fat. Add onions, carrots and spices and saute until the carrots are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add cider and bring to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, then stir in potatoes and allow to cool to nearly room temperature.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Fill with meat filling. Cover with remaining pastry. Pinch shut. Brush with egg. Vent and bake 40 minutes. Allow to sit 5 minutes prior to serving.

*I used roasted Russet potatoes

My thoughts:
Tourtière is a Canadian meat pie served traditionally around Christmas and New Year's. This version is roughly in the style of what is served in Manitoba and has quite a mix of spices! Tourtière in other parts of French-speaking Canada vary in which spices they use but most serve it with chutney or other pickle-y items. It is a bit time-consuming but very easy to make and your whole house will smell fantastic as it bakes! The finished dish is flavorful and well spiced and really does taste like the holidays.

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December 15, 2014

Broiled Oysters with Bacon and Leeks

12 oysters (unshucked)
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 leeks, minced (white parts only!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzo meal

Saute the leeks and garlic in 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease until soft. Remove from heat. Add the bread crumbs and bacon bits and stir to combine. Shuck the oysters. Discard top shell.

Place oysters in their shells on large baking sheet or broiling pan.

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over each oyster.

Broil until crumbs are golden, about 3 minutes.

My thoughts:
Oysters are my favorite food if I have to pick just one. Maybe it is growing up in Baltimore but add oysters to anything and I am in! Oyster stew, po'boys, oyster casserole, scalloped oysters, oyster stuffing, oyster Eggs Benedict, whatever! I even put a Buffalo fried oyster on the half shell recipe in my new cookbook. So when I could add two dozen oysters from Barren Island Oysters to my produce delivery one week, I had to do it! We hadn't shucked oysters at home before and it was a little tricky because the oysters' shells were so irregularly shaped but we got the hang of it. If you don't have an oyster knife, you can place them in a 350 oven for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to open. Then you can pry the shells off pretty easily. Since I had the oysters in the half shell, I came up with a savory, bacon-y stuffing for them. It was so good; not overpowering of the oysters at all but a fun, flavorful change from just having raw oysters. Serve as a meal or as an appetizer. The recipe can be easily doubled.

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December 10, 2014

Stripetti Squash with Sage and Romano Cheese

1 2 1/2-lb Stripetti*, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, small dice
5 leaves sage, chiffonade
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash cut side down on the parchment. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. Scoop out the insides. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Cook the onion until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, squash, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Serve immediately.

*Stripetti is a cross between delicata squash and spaghetti squash which has thinner, milder strands than typical yellow spaghetti squash. Regular spaghetti squash can be substituted.

My thoughts:
I probably sound like a broken record but I am still really enjoying my weekly produce box. I get a good variety of vegetables and fruit and I have a lot of fun trying to think of ways to use it all up! Sometimes I am surprised, like when my turnip was pink inside or when instead of regular spaghetti squash I got Stripetti. I ended up liking it even more than regular spaghetti squash. I hope it makes it into the box again. I kept it simple and just tossed with with some sage and romano cheese. So good!

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December 05, 2014

Bacon-Apple Kalette Salad

2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz halved kalettes, lightly steamed and cooled
3 oz crumbled feta
1 large crisp apple (I used Gold Rush) cubed
2 tablespoons aged apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the bacon, kalettes, feta and apple in a medium bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
My thoughts:
My mom called me all excited about a new vegetable she had read about in a magazine called kalettes. It is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. I'm a little eh about kale but I like Brussels sprouts so I wanted to give it a try. I couldn't find it anywhere so I finally emailed the kalettes people via their website and they said it is mostly available in California but some Trader Joe's nation-wide sell it under the name "kale sprouts". I do not really care for TJ's (mostly because of many bad experiences at our local one) but I did manage to track it down. I did some experimenting to come up with this salad. Raw, the kalettes were a bit bitter and too tough but a quick steam and cooling took the edge off enough that they could be used in a salad. So, it was a little more work than just tossing them in raw but it the salad was hearty and tasty despite the simple ingredients.

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December 01, 2014

Cranberry-Ricotta Cake


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup half and half, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, ricotta, half and half, oil and vanilla paste. Slowly stream in the dry ingredients (while the mixer is running!) and mix to combine. Fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared pan, bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Unmold to a wire rack and cool.

My thoughts:

I was asked to come up a recipe that paired well with Lipton tea. Since it is the holiday season, I thought I'd come up with a simple cake that could be served as dessert or better, yet for breakfast! I combined rich ricotta and fresh cranberries to create a cake that is moist, slightly tangy and full of bright cranberry flavor.

I ate it plain, but it would also be good with a drizzle of thinned leftover cranberry sauce, sprinkled with powdered sugar or even toasted and spread with butter. The choice is yours: classic dessert or decadent breakfast?

Sponsored post by Lunchbox, all opinions and recipe are 100% my own.

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November 24, 2014

Pomegranate and Grapefruit Green Salad

5 oz Dole Sweet Baby Lettuces
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 ruby red grapefruit, supremed and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta

for the dressing:
1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice*
1 oz olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon honey
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the salad ingredients (or shake them in a dressing shaker) until well-combined. Drizzle over the salad. Toss and serve immediately.

*Squeezed out of the bits leftover from supreming the grapefruit.

My thoughts:
Dole approached me to create a recipe for a healthier Thanksgiving side dish. I was excited because it was the excuse I needed to make the grapefruit-pomegranate salad I had thought of last year but never got around to making. I thought the sweet baby greens would be a good choice because I didn't want them to overpower the grapefruit and pomegranate but to complement it. Supreming the grapefruit and peeling the pomegranate was a bit of work but the rest of the salad is so easy! What I would do is prepare the grapefruit, pomegranate and salad dressing the day before Thanksgiving and refrigerate them. Then you just have to toss it all together and serve in the big day! The perfect light, festive yet flavorful side for Thanksgiving!

Check out more healthy Thanksgiving dishes by Dole. My favorites are the Butternut Squash with Eggplant-Pomegranate Sauce because I can't get enough of pomegranate and Vegetable and Kale Au Gratin because it uses up a lot of the vegetables I always have on hand and baby kale is kale even I like!

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November 21, 2014

Turkey Kale Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

1 lb sliced turkey breast
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced

for the dressing:
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise (Best Foods on the West Coast)
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:

Every year, I enjoy sharing Thanksgiving leftovers recipes with you all! They are some of my favorite recipes to create. This year Lunchbox approached about me about developing a leftovers recipe using Hellman's mayonnaise (which I use anyway!) I was happy to do so. I used leftover turkey, carrots and celery from my faux Thanksgiving dinner and some kale I received in my veggie box. It ended up being a very hearty salad, perfect for lunch the day after Thanksgiving.

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