Beef Stew with Charred Rainbow Carrots

Oh Top Chef you've done it to me again.  I swear I watch that show and just am blown away but the creativity that comes out of those chefs on the fly and under stressful conditions.  On a recent episode one of the chefs charred carrots on a wood smoker and then used them as the star of his vegetarian dish.  The judges went wild for it and, for me, it reinforced the idea behind how I like to cook - highlight one simple ingredient to make a twist on a classic dish. While this isn't Top Chef ... Continue Reading

Greek Kebab Skewers

If you can't travel to Greece this year then bring the flavors and aromas of Greece to you. We are all missing travel right now and looking for ways to stay connected to the world around us.  I love watching cooking travel shows on Netflix like 'Feed Phil' and 'Chef's Table' for inspiration and to feel like I've actually been somewhere! When I was a young twenty something I had the chance to go to the Greek Islands and let me tell you it was an experience I'll never forget and, especially now, ... Continue Reading

Caprese Cups with Blackened Shrimp

It's summertime and that means lots and lots of summer tomatoes and classic Caprese salads right?  Well....it used to.  A big ol' platter set out to share with family and friends is a memory from last year.  This year it's all about how do I still socialize and picnic with friends but keep things to an individual portion.  This is my answer to that.  Caprese cups.  They can be made individually by each person and best of all the ingredients can be packed up before assembled and brought to ... Continue Reading

Smoked Salmon Spread

What is the difference between a spread and a dip?  In my book, a spread should be thicker (not runny) and a dip should be able to be scooped up and eaten with a chip or a delicate cracker.   You don't want your spread dripping through your bread and making it soggy and you don't want your chip to get stuck mid dip - like a tire in the mud. This smoked salmon and cream cheese spread is meant to slather on toast or a bagel for a simple but delicious breakfast.  But, I will say, that I did ... Continue Reading

The Perfect Giant Meatball

Let's face it, there is something really appealing about eating a giant meatball.  It's like a feat.  Sure you can eat ten smaller meatballs and you are bound to be just as full but there is so much less satisfaction than knowing you conquered the giant meatball, right?  And just the presentation alone is worth it, friends.  Here's your plate and your one giant meatball.  Enjoy.  People get a kick out of it.  Well...at least I do. I've made a lot of meatballs in my life and there are ... Continue Reading

Pimento Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken

Pimento cheese is essentially a cheddar and cream cheese mixture with a few spices thrown in there and little bits of jarred pimento, which is just a sweet cherry pepper that has a very mild heat.  It's a southern classic and, having spent a few years of my life in the south, one that is nostalgic in the way only Virginia ham biscuits with butter can come close to.  It's so easy to make and it keeps well in the fridge. There are probably lots of great recipes out there for this spread but I ... Continue Reading

Wild Cod with Creamy Herb Sauce

Fresh, wild cod is one of those fish that even people who don't really like fish often will eat.  It's used in the fried version of fish tacos or fish and chips.  I love it and I especially love it just seared with a light and creamy herb sauce on the side.  This is one of those filling but calorie friendly meals for the summer.  And....it's gluten free.  Which for me, my friends, is a new thing I'm trying out.  I do have a tendency to add bread and pancetta to every recipe I make so this ... Continue Reading

Summer Corn Risotto

My favorite summertime veggie is fresh corn. It's everywhere and it's cheap and it's sweet and crunchy right off the cob.  The best thing is almost everyone loves corn, right?  The biggest problem we seem to have is figuring out what else to do with it.  Corn on the cob....check.  Done and done and done.  Corn and black bean salad is another favorite side dish of mine that is great for picnics or summertime BBQ's because it holds up well and can sit out without wilting.  So here's my ... Continue Reading

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed portobello mushrooms make the best gourmet weeknight meal.  Perfect for date night or even a casual evening with friends because the presentation is elegant but really the flavors are something everyone is familiar with. I mean who doesn't love a cream cheese and sausage stuffed mushroom as an appetizer at any cocktail party, right? So why not take the same idea and make it into a meal?  But even better because it's a little lighter without all that cream cheese and with a touch of ... Continue Reading

Chicken and Mozzarella Puff Pastry Cups

Leftover chicken? Busy week night? Weekend brunch? These versatile chicken and mozzarella puff pastry cups are the 'go to' for any occasion.  They can be served right out of the oven - gooey and hot -or at room temperature as part of a brunch buffet.  And they reheat beautifully in the oven for a few minutes.  This makes it a great do-ahead dish, too.  How do you make these magical little cups?  Here's the play-by-play....and it couldn't be easier. Game Plan Start with a few good ... Continue Reading