Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

July 31, 2014

Chocolate balsamic vinaigrette

2 tbsp chocolate balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp walnut oil

1 tsp honey

Pinch of salt

A couple of grinds of black pepper

In a small bowl, slowly whisk oil into vinegar. Whisk in remaining ingredients.

Serve with fruit and cheese. Watermelon and feta is good. I think it would also be good over strawberry shortcake or a chicken/berry salad.



Favorite citrus vinaigrette

March 24, 2014


Favorite Citrus Vinaigrette

This vinaigrette is delicious with hot or cold food and it takes about 5 minutes to make. I have used it as a dressing for greens, chilled and hot asparagus; in sandwich wraps; and over hot salmon. It is very versatile.

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed citrus juice

2 Tbsp. lemon-flavored olive oil

pinch granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. coarse-ground or Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper

pinch of salt

Pour citrus juice into a medium bowl anchored with a dish towl.  Begin whisking in the first tablespoon of olive oil by SLOWLY dripping it into the bowl.  If you see large pools of oil, stop pouring the oil until it has been incorporated into the juice.  The mixture should start to look slightly creamy.  Add the 2nd tablespoon in the same way.  Add the rest of the ingredients, tasting to make adjustments.  Whisk briskly until creamy.

Use immediately or transfer to a small container and store in the fridge.  Shake well before using.

Turducken Smashburgers

January 22, 2014

Turkey burgers have a bad reputation, deservedly so, I think. I swore I would not waste another burger on turkey. But I ran across a tip this week that adding miso to the mixture makes a pretty good turkey burger. I have a handy bottle of Miso and Easy liquid miso which I bought at Cost Plus World Market. So I decided to give turkey burgers another chance. To hedge my bets, I decided to top it with a fried egg. And what can’t be improved with some duck fat?

If you happen to have some leftover poultry gravy like I did, throw in a couple of tablespoons; however that is something I’m not usually going to have on hand.

Turducken Smashburger

1 pound ground turkey breast
2 Tbsp. Miso & Easy (or 2 Tbsp. miso paste mixed with 2 Tbsp. water)
3-4 Tbsp. duck fat
4 eggs fried in olive oil (yolk to your liking, but the runnier the better for me)
4 slices cheese*
salt and pepper
4 buns, buttered and toasted

*My current burger favorites all hail from Wisconsin:
Meister Cheese Co. Wild Morel & Leek Jack
Harmony Dairy Abergele Portabella and Chive Cheese
Harmony Dairy Ale Caerphilly Cheese)


Mix the miso into the turkey breast. Divide the mixture into 4 portions; form into balls.

Heat a large, well-seasoned heavy skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat until almost smoking (If you want to multi-task, you can toast the buns in the heating skillet).

Add the duck fat to melt. When the duck fat is spitting hot, carefully place the turkey balls into the skillet. Cook 1 minute and then flip and smash to about 1/2-3/4″ thick with a spatula. Continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, until nicely crusted. Flip again. Season with salt and pepper and top with cheese. Cook another 1-2 minutes, until the burger is cooked through (but not overcooked) and the cheese is mostly melted. Top with the egg. Place on a bun.

Serves 4

Lasagne . . . Soup? Short rib and sausage lasagna soup with cheese

April 19, 2013

I originally made this back in April on a cold rainy day, but never got around to posting it.  I thought I’d missed my chance to publish it for this year.  But here we are, almost June 1, and it’s still cold and rainy.  And what tastes better than soup on a cold and dreary day.  This soup tastes amazing on the second day, if you can wait that long.

Lasagne soup with short ribs, sausage and cheese
Adapted from

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 pound Boneless Short Ribs
Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ pound Hot Or Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed
1 medium Onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Red Bell Pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium Cloves Of Garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon
1 ½ cups Dry Red Wine
1 (28-ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes With Juice
6 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
1 tsp Fennel Seeds
1 Tbsp Dried Italian Seasoning Mix
¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
8 sheets Lasagne Noodles, (do not use no-boil) wrapped in a towel and broken against a counter edge
½ cup Ricotta Cheese
⅓ cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
¼ cup Shredded Asiago Cheese
1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (About 5 Ounces)
1 tsp Grated Zest From 1 Lemon
Pitted green olives (optional)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, oven-safe stockpot or Dutch oven. Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper. When oil is shimmering, brown short ribs on all sides until golden brown, about 6 minutes total. Remove meat and transfer to a platter.

Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking up into little bits, until nearly cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic to pan and sauté, stirring periodically, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Return short ribs to pan. Add wine, tomatoes, chicken stock, fennel seed, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, bay leaves and thyme. Season with about ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and transfer to oven to cook until meat is fork tender, about 2 ½ hours.

Remove from oven and transfer pot to stovetop. Shred short ribs using two forks. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme springs. At this point you could refrigerate until the next day.

When ready to serve, return the soup to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until still slightly firm. Meanwhile, combine ricotta, Parmesan, Asiago, mozzarella, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove soup from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Spoon into individual bowls, top with a generous dollop of cheese mixture and garnish with olives and serve.

Buttercream and Cheese Asian Sweet Bun

February 28, 2013

Butter Cream/Cheese Sweet Bun from Satay-2-Go by aharste
Butter Cream/Cheese Sweet Bun from Satay-2-Go, a photo by aharste on Flickr.

I’ve raved before on this blog about how much I love Corrina’s curry puffs and buns from Satay-2-Go in Apple Valley. She makes some of the best Asian pastries you will ever taste! They are baked from scratch every morning.

This morning I was in the area so I stopped by to pick up some pork bbq buns and chicken curry puffs for dinner. They have a deal when you buy 10 buns you get one free, so I asked the woman at the counter to give me her favorite sweet bun as the bonus.

She gave me this buttercream and cheese sweet bun, still warm from the oven. As I was driving away I took a bite, and it was so good that I stopped the car and ran back in to tell them how delicious it was.

A pillowy soft, light-as-air bun topped with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese is sliced horizontally and spread with silky vanilla buttercream. And I mean real buttercream! This was honestly better than a slice of cake, which is pretty much my favorite food.

Her pastries are available daily until they’re gone and if you arrive around 11 a.m. they should still be warm from the oven.