Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms


  • 1 lb (16 oz) portabella mushroom caps
  • 2 cups shredded moderate-fat mozzarella cheese (3-6 g fat per oz)
  • ½ cup (1 medium 2-3/5”) fresh tomato, chopped
  • ½ tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/8 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 350°F or outdoor grill to medium-high heat. In a medium-sized bowl, combine chopped tomatoes and shredded mozzarella; toss with ½ tsp of olive oil, rosemary,  black pepper, and garlic. Remove stems from mushroom caps and discard. Using a spoon, scoop out interior of mushrooms to create “mushroom bowls.” In a small bowl, mix ½ tsp olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Using a pastry brush, brush soy sauce mixture on both sides of mushroom caps. In the oven: Bake mushroom caps in oven until soft, then divide tomato and cheese mixture into mushroom caps. Cook an additional 2 minutes, or until cheese is melted. On the grill: Once warm, grill mushroom caps, starting with stem-side down, 5 minutes on each side or until soft. Spoon ¼ of tomato and cheese mixture into each cap. Cover and grill about 2 minutes or until cheese has melted. (For easy cleanup, place a piece of aluminum foil directly on grill; lay mushroom caps on aluminum foil.) Garnish with cilantro. Each serving includes two mushrooms and ½ cheese and tomato mixture.


My 30 day Challenge

Nutritional Information


Bucatini with Spicy Tomato Sauce


  • 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced  pancetta, cut into ¾” pieces
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • ½ medium onion, minced
  • ½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 (28-oz.) can peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, undrained and puréed
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 lb. bucatini or spaghetti
  • cups grated Pecorino Romano


1. Heat oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Increase heat to medium-high; add garlic, carrots, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add chile flakes; cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and flavors meld, 20–25 minutes. Season with salt; keep warm.2. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente, 6–8 minutes. Reserve 1⁄2 cup pasta water; drain pasta. Heat reserved sauce over medium heat. Add pasta and reserved water; cook, tossing, until sauce clings to pasta, 2–3 minutes. Add 1⁄2 cup Pecorino; toss. Divide between serving bowls; serve with remaining Pecorino.

Colored Pasta.. can you do that?

French Flan


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 1¼ cups flour, plus more for pan
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs


Heat oven to 425°. Butter and flour a 10″ pie plate; set aside. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk milk, vanilla, and eggs in another bowl until combined. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into wet ingredients to make a smooth batter. Pour batter into prepared pie plate; bake until browned in places, puffed in the center, and set around the edges, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill 30 minutes before slicing.

Twice Baked Potato Bites


  • 2 lbs. red new potatoes (about 14), halved
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup (vegan) chive and garlic cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives, plus more for garnish  


  1. Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each potato half so they rest flat. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper, and arrange bottom side down. Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on sheet.
  2. When the potatoes are cool enough, scoop out about a teaspoon from the center of each potato into a medium bowl. Add cream cheese and chives, and mash; season with salt and pepper. Stuff potatoes with filling. (To store, refrigerate stuffed potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, up to 1 day.)
  3. Bake potatoes at 450 degrees until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Garnish with chives.

Torshi Seer… Pickled Garlic Persian style

Fermenting whole heads of garlic in a vinegar and wine solution with honey and dried barberries gives the garlic a mellow, complex sweetness and pungency in this Persian pickle.



  • 4 heads garlic
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup dried barberries
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 sprigs thyme


Place garlic in a sterilized 1-qt. glass jar; set aside. Bring balsamic and red wine vinegars, barberries, honey, salt, and thyme to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; pour over garlic, place lid on jar, and let cool to room temperature. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks before serving.

An Italian Sunday..

For a crowd-pleasing weekend meal, serve this menu and plenty of red wine for a comforting Italian-American feast.


The dish is a lean cut of beef pounded thin, then spread with a layer of grated cheese, fresh herbs, bits of prosciutto, raisins, and pine nuts, then rolled, tied, seared, and simmered for hours in tomato sauce.


⅓ cup raisins
5 tbsp. chopped parsley
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
12 6″x 4″ slices boneless beef chuck, pounded to 116” thickness
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ cup red wine
½ tsp. red chile flakes
2 (28-oz.) cans whole, peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand
1 bay leaf
Garlic bread, for serving

Serves 6


1. To make the filling, mix together raisins, 4 tbsp. parsley, pine nuts, Parmesan, and garlic in a bowl; set aside. Place a slice of beef on a work surface perpendicular to you, season with salt and pepper, and place about 1 tbsp. filling on the bottom half; starting with the filled half, roll beef up around the filling into a tight cylinder. Secure roll with toothpicks, and repeat with remaining beef and filling.

2. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef rolls, and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add onion to pot, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring to scrape bottom of pot, until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Stir in chile flakes, tomatoes, and bay leaf, and then return beef rolls to pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered partially and gently stirring occasionally, until meat is cooked through and tender, about 2 hours.

3. Remove meat rolls from sauce, remove toothpicks, and transfer to a serving platter; continue cooking sauce until reduced and thickened, about 20 minutes. Pour sauce over meat rolls, and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Risotto with a twist.

I apologize for such a long delay in posting. It seems like the start of every quarter I have to adjust to my new class and work schedule. Today’s recipe is currently being worked on in the restaurant in the coming weeks but risotto also happens to be my best friends favorite dish, well it seems that way, he makes it all the time. So this is for all of you guys to enjoy

Serves 4–6

6 cups chicken stock
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
8 oz. hen of the woods, chanterelle, or morel mushrooms, cleaned and halved if large
3 medium shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1¾ cups (12 oz.) orzo
1 tsp. freshly grated Meyer lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. juice
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup cream
½ cup finely grated parmesan, plus more for serving

Heat chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium heat; set aside and keep warm. Heat butter in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add mushrooms and cook until golden, 5–7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a bowl; set aside. Add shallots and garlic to saucepan; cook, stirring, until soft, 3 minutes. Add orzo, zest, thyme, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add reserved stock ¼ cup at a time, cooking until each addition is absorbed before adding next amount. Cook, stirring often, until liquid has all been used and orzo is tender, about 30 minutes. Add cream and cook, stirring, until liquid is creamy, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in reserved mushrooms, lemon juice, parmesan, salt, and pepper; serve with additional parmesan on the side.

To make it vegan friendly, substitute chicken stock for veg and use a non flavored but creamy cream milk substitute.

Beef Stew… Tudor Christmas

This hearty Tudor beef stew is likely to have been a firm favourite in the kitchens of Hampton Court Palace during the winter months. The recipe combines cinnamon, clove, sage and parsley with beef to create a dish fit for kings and queens alike!

This 17th century recipe might not be the version you are used to making at home… (I am still doing research on this but wanted to get what I found out)


Beef, cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs, onions, parsley, bread, vinegar, saffron and salt.


Cut the beef into bite sized chunks and place in a saucepan of water. Bring to boil, add the cinnamon, cloves, mace, grains of paradise, cubebs, parsley, sage and some finely chopped onions. Cover and reduce to a simmer. When the beef is almost cooked (about half way) take some of the liquid out and pour it into a separate bowl. Add the vinegar and bread chunks to this. The bread will absorb the liquid. Blitz in a food processor. Add the bread back to the stew and bring it to a boil. Add a splash of vinegar as a finishing touch with some saffron and salt to taste.

It’s the most wonderful time… For Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a sweet, aromatic spice and a medicine. It is one of the oldest spices known to man. Its uses and benefits have been documented as early as 2700 B.C. throughout China, Europe and Egypt. There are two types of cinnamon, Ceylon and Chinese (cassia). Cinnamon comes from the dried inner bark of a tropical Asian tree and has been used as a spice and medicine for centuries. Typically used as a sweet spice, cinnamon is now increasingly being added to savory dishes.

Cinnamon packs a flavorful and healthful punch with minimal calories. Just 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon provides 6 calories, 2 g of carbohydrates, negligible amounts of protein and fat, and 1g of fiber. Cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.

Serving Ideas
Though the sweet scent of cinnamon may remind you of your favorite holiday desserts, it can easily be added to everyday foods. Stir it into vanilla yogurt with a drizzle of honey or spice up your morning bowl of oatmeal with a dash of cinnamon. Sprinkle it onto fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas for a healthy dessert. Go savory by adding it to your favorite pork rub, a pot of chili, or hamburger. It will have your guests begging for your secret.

Medicinal Highlights and Research…
Cinnamon offers anti-clotting and anti-microbial benefits, boosts brain function and contributes to a healthy colon. It may also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes.

Three components found in the essential oils of cinnamon bark that offer health benefits include cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol. Cinnamaldehyde works against harmful blood platelet clotting, which can result in inadequate blood flow. Cinnamon is therefore beneficial for any condition that causes inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Because they are anti-microbial, cinnamon extracts may help stop the growth of harmful bacteria or fungi, such as those that are responsible for candida, or yeast infections. As a powerful anti-bacteria agent, cinnamon may have applications in food preservation, protecting against microbial overgrowth of certain food borne pathogens.

Blood-Sugar Control
The benefits of cinnamon on blood-sugar control have been well documented. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, seasoning a high-carbohydrate food with cinnamon helped lessen its impact on participants’ blood sugar levels. Cinnamon reduces the rise in blood sugar after eating because it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals.

Cinnamon may work in another way to help lower glucose levels. It appears to bring blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes to normal by improving their cells’ ability to respond to insulin. This occurs due to the ability of compounds in cinnamon to stimulate insulin receptors. In addition, these compounds inhibit an enzyme that inactivates insulin receptors, so cells are better able to use glucose effectively. The general consensus is that consuming approximately 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon daily is effective.

Brain and Gut Health
Some research suggests that the aroma and flavor of cinnamon acts as a cognitive stimulant, possibly improving working memory, visual-motor speed and virtual recognition memory. Positive early results have encouraged researchers in the area of Chemoreception Sciences to see if cinnamon may be beneficial for slowing or alleviating age-related cognitive decline.

Since cinnamon is rich in dietary fiber, it may also provide relief from constipation.