Thursday, October 25, 2012

ROTD: Healthy Tomato, Basil & Corn Salad

Simple & Delicious is all that needs to be said about this amazingly fresh and Earthy salad. This can be a meal in itself or can be situated lovely alongside a piece of fresh baked chicken, sautéed fish or of course a Grilled Steak.

For those of you who want a vegetarian meal, omit the Mozzarella and another ingredient such as sliced Dried Figs or Sliced Pears they pair with this salad perfectly.

3 TBS white wine vinegar
2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ears fresh corn, husked (about 4 cups corn kernels)
2 cups red or orange grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch scallions (white and green), thinly sliced
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
1 ½  cups fresh basil leaves

Whisk the vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
Gradually whisk in the oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream, to make a smooth dressing.
Shear off the corn kernels with a sharp knife over a bowl.
Toss in the tomatoes, scallions, and mozzarella.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.
Cover and let set for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Before serving tear the basil over the salad and stir.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ROTD: BLT Pasta Salad

The classic BLT Sandwich is a time honored, tried and true recipe that doesn’t seem to ever be going out of style. Perfectly balanced smoky bacon strips, with fresh crisp lettuce and juicy slices of tomato with a dab of mustard and mayo make for the perfect breakfast, lunch or dinner treat when you don’t feel like whipping up a huge meal. 
For those of you tired of eating sandwiches like your in grade school we decided to spruce up things a bit and turned the BLT into the BLT Pasta Salad and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

BLT Pasta Salad
12 oz corkscrew-shaped pasta
½ cup milk
12 oz lean bacon
3 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
4 TBS chopped chives or scallion greens
5 heads Bibb lettuce, quartered, or 5 cups chopped romaine hearts

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water as the label directs.
Drain and toss with the milk in a large bowl; set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp.
Drain on paper towels.
Discard all but 3 TBS drippings from the pan.
Add the tomatoes, thyme and garlic to the pan and toss until warmed through; season with salt and pepper.
Crumble the bacon into bite-size pieces; set aside ¼ cup for garnish.
Toss the remaining bacon and the tomato mixture with the pasta.
Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream and 3 TBS chives with the pasta until evenly combined.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the lettuce; toss again to coat.
Garnish with the reserved bacon and the remaining 1 TBS chives.
Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vegetable Samosas w/ Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Nothing warms up the body like something fresh out of a piping hot oven. These days we receive a fair amount of emails asking us how to turn some leftovers into a quality meal the next day without it tasting the exact same as before. We decided that most people have a tremendous amount of leftovers right after Thanksgiving so we’d work out a recipe that uses pretty much everything your going to have on the table, minus the puff pastry sheets.
The resulting product became some delicious Samosas that we dipped into a creamy Cranberry Yogurt sauce.
Saving money never tasted this good.

Baked Vegetable Samosas w/ Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce
1 cup Mashed Potatoes
½ cup Cooked & Chopped Vegetables (Carrots & Green Beans work really well)
½ cup Frozen Peas (Thawed)
¼ tsp Curry Powder
1 TBS Cilantro (chopped)
1 TBS Mint (chopped)
1 TBS Ginger (chopped fine or grated fine)
Kosher Salt
Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
1 or 2 sheets of Puff Pastry
2 or 3 Eggs (beaten well)

Preheat Oven to 350˚
Mix the mashed potatoes, the chopped vegetables, the thawed peas, curry powder, chopped cilantro, mint and ginger.
Season the mixture with salt and cayenne pepper.
Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry and cut it into a 14-inch square, then cut that down into 25 or so smaller squares.
Place 1 TBS of the mixed filling in the center of each square.
Brush the edges with a bit of the egg, fold into triangles and press to seal.
Bake at 350 degree until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

To Make The Dipping Sauce:
1 cup fat free Greek Yogurt
½ cup dried sweetened Cranberries

Combine the yogurt and dried cranberries in a food processor and blend until the berries are finely chopped.
If the mixture is not sweet enough for you (which is should be already) add a dash or two of honey and pulse the blender a few more times.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Slow Cooked Carnitas Tacos

There are few things in this World that can beat coming home to a delicious Home-Cooked meal (especially one that wasn’t hard to make or clean up after.) Having the sense to pre plan out a few meals during the week will enable you to spend some time doing something else that either needs to be done in your life or around your home. 

These slow cooked Carnitas Tacos are always a hit, simply because they cook themselves over 5 or 6 hours in a Crock pot or Dutch oven. Putting them up before you head out for work is a great idea, just make sure that your not going to be gone too long (if over 6 hours, try lowering the heat a tad bit to avoid burning the tender meat to a crisp.)

The Carnitas can be used to fill up tacos, burritos on a tostada, on nachos or even rolled up and fried into flautas, the possibilities are endless.
(for the Entire Recipe, click READ MORE)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Candied Pecan & Pear Salad

With Summertime trying to make itself a distant memory we all need to start focusing on what to eat during Fall, so that by the time Winter is here, we haven’t gained any unwanted weight or bad habits in the kitchen. The best way to avoid putting on any superfluous pounds is to incorporate a few salads into your routine that aren’t packed with horrible ingredients. Keeping things simple and healthy over the next few months is crucial for people who live in areas where once the cold weather hits, there is no chance to get outside and work out. The Candied Pecans are the perfect blend of crunchy sweetness that this salad needs to keep it from being mundane.
Set your weekend off right and give this healthy, delicious salad a try tonight.

Candied pecans:
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 TBS packed light brown sugar
½ cup raw pecans

Maple-balsamic dressing:
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 head endive, separated leaves
2 hearts frisee lettuce, hand torn
1 large radicchio, torn leaves
1 red pear, sliced
¼ cup shaved Parmesan

To make the candied pecans, set a nonstick pan over medium heat.
Add the butter and sugar and once it has melted toss in the pecans and continue to toss to coat and cook evenly, about 1 minute.
Transfer to a sheet tray lined with waxed paper (use 2 forks to separate pecans) while you prepare the salad.
Make the dressing by combining the chopped shallot, Dijon and balsamic vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while you whisk to emulsify.
Add the maple syrup and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Assemble salad by tossing greens and pear slices in a large mixing bowl with maple-balsamic dressing.
Top with shaved Parmesan and candied pecans.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Croque Monsieur Macaroni & Cheese

This one right here was put together after having a conversation with an old boss of mine from my music industry days. Without a doubt one of the coolest and most influential people in not only my life but in this World that most people have never heard of, is a gentleman named Côme Chantrel. When I used to work at LOUD Records, every afternoon we would get lunch and he would order a Croque Monsieur sandwich from this little café in Beverly Hills while we would power through all of the hustles that had to be perfected by weeks end so that we could enjoy the fruits of our labor.
I recently spoke with Côme on the phone after both going in separate directions as many friends and co-workers do when companies change ownership and just laughing about old times, made me think of the simple things in life, like how a good sandwich and profound conversation can really change your outlook on life.

Taking cues from the ingredients in the sandwich we flipped this beauty into a delicious bowl of Macaroni & Cheese. I hope the big homie, Côme enjoys this, wherever he is surfing the world and doing the fly sh!t that he always does.

Thanks for everything boss.

(click Read More for the entire recipe)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jay-Z for D'USSE Cognac

ROTD: Chicken, Sausage & Peppers

Chicken, Sausage & Peppers, is one of those recipes that anyone can do, almost anything can be used to make it pop that much more and it doesn’t take but a few minutes to pull together. 
One of those great, sobering up meals that can be made in mass amounts to help friends before they hit the road after a long night, this Chicken, Sausage and Peppers recipe is an old school classic that just about everyone I know enjoys eating especially after a few strong drinks.

2 TBS unsalted butter
¾ lb sweet or hot Italian sausage or chicken & apple  sausage, cut into ½“  chunks
¾ lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 TBS all-purpose flour
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp Creole seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
2 Italian green frying peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
2 jarred pickled cherry peppers, chopped, plus 2 TBS liquid from the jar

Heat 1 TBS butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook the sausage until golden, about 2 minutes.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper then toss with the flour, paprika, cayenne, Creole seasoning; add to the skillet and cook until browned but not cooked through, about 3 minutes.
Add the onion, peppers, garlic, ½ tsp Kosher salt, and pepper to taste and cook 3 minutes.
Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits; bring to a boil and cook until slightly reduced, about 1 minute.
Add the broth and bring to a gentle simmer.
Cover and cook until the sausage and chicken are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the chicken, sausage and vegetables to a platter with a slotted spoon. Increase the heat to high and stir the parsley and cherry peppers and their liquid into the skillet; boil until reduced by one-third, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 TBS butter.
Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Vegetarian ROTD: Roasted Cauliflower & Plum Tomatoes

Roasted Cauliflower & Plum Tomatoes

This is the perfect side dish for some Salmon & White Wine. It takes little to no time, which works well since fish usually takes the same or less to cook perfectly.
This works itself out in about a half hour or you just the right amount of time to sauté up some fish and pour up a few glasses of something for everyone to get the appetites going.

7 cups small Cauliflower florets
3 medium sized Plum Tomatoes
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
¼ tsp Tumeric
½ tsp Cayenne pepper
½ tsp Kosher Salt
cracked Black Pepper to taste
½ bunch Cilantro, chopped
juice from 1 Lemon

Preheat oven to 450°
Toss cauliflower florets and plum tomatoes with olive oil, minced garlic, cumin seeds, turmeric, cayenne, Kosher salt, and pepper to taste on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven, about 25 minutes.
Sprinkle with lemon juice and chopped cilantro.
Serves: 4