Category: Cooking Video

Grilled Bananas

Grilled Bananas

Grilled peaches, grilled plums, grilled watermelon, grilled pineapple – all pretty common. Grilled bananas??? That struck me as very different.

Grilled bananas are delicious and great for breakfast on cereal, granola, pancakes or waffles. They also make a great dessert over ice cream! Check out my ice cream cookbook here!

Grilled Bananas

The real key is not to use overly ripe bananas. A little green in the peel is best. If you want them sweeter, add a teaspoon or two of brown sugar to the melted butter before brushing the bananas.

Don’t forget to sprinkle with a little cinnamon right off the grill!

Watch the Grilled Bananas Video Here:

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

 

This recipe for triple-chocolate brownies has been in our family for generations. I believe this another of those recipes that got clipped from a weekly newspaper’s food column by one of my grandmothers. I’ve made adjustments to it over the years, using butter as opposed to margarine and adding chocolate chips and nuts.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

The brownies are very moist and may be made a day in advance. Don’t cut them into squares until they are completely cool and hold their shape. Use an 8” x 8” x 2” square pan, lightly greased and you’ll end up with 16 two-inch square brownies.

The nuts are optional and if you have a group that is divided over nuts, sprinkle some on half the top and all will be happy.

Triple-Chocolate Brownies

These triple-chocolate brownies are quick and easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. Don’t hesitate to serve with a scoop of ice cream on the side!

Watch the Triple-Chocolate Brownies Video Here:


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Triple-Chocolate Brownies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert/Baked Good
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 16 two-inch brownies
 
Brownies are an all-time favorite and these triple- chocolate brownies bring three times the flavor! Quick and easy to prepare.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8-inch by 8-inch by 2-inch baking pan.
  3. Place the butter and chocolate in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once the butter is melted, take off heat to stir the chocolate to help it melt. Don’t let the mixture get too hot or the chocolate will seize.
  4. Stir in the sugar and vanilla extract, which helps cool the chocolate.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla and beat lightly. Beating too hard will incorporate air and create a less dense brownie.
  6. Stir in the flour mixing until all the flour has been incorporated.
  7. Stir in the chips and nuts, if using, until thoroughly blended.
  8. Spread mixture into the greased baking pan.
  9. Top the brownie batter with the walnuts, if desired.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes; the rownies are done when top looks cracked and the sides have pulled away slightly. A toothpick inserted in the middle should show a moist crumb.
  11. Cool and cut into squares.

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup is a soup made with a roux, flour, butter and milk as a thickener. I often find that too much roux is used and the soup is pasty. So unappealing. Another problem these days is finding broccoli with full stalks. Stores are cutting them off and repurposing them for their deli or salad bar with broccoli slaws. This is a problem for me, because I only use stalks in my soup. I don’t care for the texture of the florets in the soup and I think they give the soup that bitter taste you get when you overcook broccoli.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Farmer’s markets are a great source for whole broccoli, but the season here is short. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful grocer nearby, The Village Market (LINK) in Wilton CT that accommodates all requests and I can ask for a couple of whole heads. The florets are then steamed for dinner and I might even put a few tiny ones on the soup as a garnish.

Broccoli stalks can be a tad woody and it’s important to trim the ends and pare the outer layer to remove the tough skin.

The recipe calls for a minimal amount of salt. Saltiness of cheese and stock varies and it’s best to have all the ingredients incorporated first and then adjust the salt at the end.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

This broccoli Cheddar soup has a silky texture and delicate flavor. It freezes well, so make up a batch or two for future use. I like to use two-cup Mason jars; the perfect serving for one.

Watch the Broccoli Cheddar Soup Video Here:

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 10 2-cup portions
 
This broccoli Cheddar soup is super delicious, has a silky texture that hits the spot on any day. Use and extra-sharp cheddar!
Ingredients
  • 8 cups broccoli stalks, pared and chopped (8 stalks, florets removed)
  • 2 cups sliced onion (1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup sliced celery (2 large stalks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • several dashes of hot sauce, such as Cholulu or Siracha
  • GARNISH
  • Small broccoli florets, steamed, optional
Method
  1. Place broccoli, onion, celery, garlic, salt and stock/water in a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle boil and cook for 20 minutes or until the broccoli is soft.
  3. Puree the soups in batches in a blender or food processor or in the saucepan with an immersion blender until smooth.
  4. Pour the pureed soup into another pourable container and wipe out the saucepan.
  5. Melt the butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk until smooth.
  6. Slowly pour in the warm soup, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Bring to a gentle boil and cook another 2-3 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
  7. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted.
  8. Shake in the hot sauce to taste; this gives the soup a boost, it doesn’t necessarily need to be spicy hot, but the sauce gives the soup piquancy.
  9. Soup freezes well.

 

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

 

I was recently confronted with an abundance of multi-colored bell peppers. Peppers are funny ingredient. Unlike zucchini, another prolific crop, which is easily turned into quick breads and muffins, fritters and casseroles, peppers are rarely the star of the dish. Think of sausage with peppers and onions, fajitas come with sautéed peppers and there are so many recipes that call for peppers to be chopped or diced and added to other aromatics such as onions, garlic, celery and/or carrots as the foundation of a recipe. The only time they stand on their own is as a shell for stuffing. And this is where it gets interesting.

Stuffed Peppers

There are so many different ingredients to choose from. Ground meat of any type is suitable and also optional. There are a multitude of grains and beans to choose from. Add chopped vegetables and herbs and moisten with a sauce and top off with some crumbled or shredded cheese and you have a delicious entrée.

Watch the Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers Video Here:

 

Along with the peppers, I also had a few eggplants and decided to go with a Greek-style stuffed pepper. Start by sautéing some ground lamb and diced onion with salt and pepper. Stir in garlic, oregano and just a bit of cinnamon. To keep it moist, I added a thawed pint of tomato sauce I’d made earlier in the season. Cube the eggplant and toss in couple of cups along with more of those bell peppers cut into small pieces. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes. To finish in a traditional Greek style stir in chopped Kalamata olives and crumbled Feta cheese.

Stuffed Peppers

While the sauce simmers, slice off the tops and remove the core, seeds and membrane and season the insides with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper.

I intended to freeze the stuffed peppers in batches for future use and needed to
partially cook the yellow bell peppers that would house the filling. The pre-cooking step deactivates the ripening enzymes to ensure that the peppers retain their color, shape and flavor.

Stuffed Peppers

Place the prepared bell peppers upright in a baking dish. and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or until slightly softened. Stuff each shell with the filling.

Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 6-8 servings
 
Use the abundance of vegetables at the farmers’ market to make these delicious and eye-appealing Greek-style stuffed peppers with lamb or to keep it vegan, use a grain such as orzo or quinoa in lieu of the lamb. Keep it colorful and use a variety of colors!
Ingredients
  • 8 bell peppers, tops removed, seeds, ribs and stems removed, save tops
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Filling
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 ½ cups minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon minced cloves garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, any color
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) fired roasted tomatoes or a pint of tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 9- by 13-inch casserole dish
  3. Lined baking sheet to catch any spills
  4. Season the inside of each bell pepper with a sprinkle of kosher salt and a grind or two of fresh pepper. Place upright in a baking dish.
  5. Note: If you are making in advance and planning to freeze, cover tightly with plastic wrap. Pop in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or just until slightly softened.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the lamb and onions, using the edge of a wooden spoon to break up the meat into a crumbly mix. Cook until the meat is no longer red.
  7. Stir in the oregano, garlic and cinnamon and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes or tomato sauce and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in the olives and feta off heat and stuff each pepper with the filling.
  10. Cover tightly with foil and place on a lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, one hour for frozen peppers.

 

Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto

Classic Pesto

 

The recipe for Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto didn’t start out with pepper flakes. It never even occurred to pair pepper flakes with pesto. However, when I was sautéing the zucchini and shrimp I forgot I wasn’t making a butter sauce and sprinkled in the spice. It was one of those “aha moments” – spicy pesto is delicious!

Sauté zucchini and shrimp and crushed red pepper flakes in olive, add pesto and combine, stir in cooked spaghetti, garnish with cherry tomatoes and you’re done! Click here for the Classic Pesto recipe.

Classic Pesto

Watch the Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto Here:


Spaghetti and Shrimp with Spicy Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 servings
 
Spice things up with this spaghetti and shrimp dish with spicy pesto!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini cut in quarters lengthwise and then in ½-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 pound large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
  • 1 cup pesto sauce
  • pasta water, as needed
  • GARNISH
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
Method
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta liquid before draining.
  2. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
  3. Stir in the zucchini and salt and cook stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimp and crushed pepper flakes, cook stirring occasionally until shrimp are pink and firm – about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the pesto sauce and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta liquid. Stir to loosen. Add the pasta, stir to combine and add as much pasta liquid as need to coat the spaghetti evenly.

 

Classic Pesto

Pesto

 

When basil is at its peak, the bunches are huge and plentiful. I scoop up tons and bring them home to make pesto; batch after batch. I freeze in one-cup portions, which is perfect for a pound of pasta.

Don’t limit yourself to pasta, though. Pesto is delicious over grilled chicken, just put a good dollop over each cutlet. I also like to use it in a caprese salad – instead of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, little dabs of pesto on the tomatoes and cheese is a fantastic variation.

Grill some eggplant rounds and stack with mozzarella, roasted red peppers and slather a little pesto on each layer.

Pesto

Here’s some tips to making pesto. Young basil (thin stems) use both the stem and the leaves. Remove tough stems on mature basil. Pine nuts are the classic nut used in traditional pesto, but don’t hesitate to use walnuts or almonds. Be sure to toast your nuts to maximize flavor!

Pesto

Keep nuts in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. Use the lemon juice not only for flavor, but it also prevents the pesto from turning black when mixed with hot food.

See our Spaghetti with Shrimp in Spicy Pesto recipe here.

Head out to the garden or the local farmer’s market and bring home the basil!

Watch the Pesto Video Here:

 

Classic Pesto
Author: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 2 cups
 
Classic pesto made from fresh basil is a multipurpose sauce. Make large batches and freeze for year-round use! Use on chicken, fish and vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh basil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garnish: quartered cherry tomatoes
Method
  1. Place the basil, cheese, nuts, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse to chop up the ingredients.
  2. Turn the processor to “on” and slowly pour the oil through the spout until an emulsion forms.
  3. Store in an airtight container with a piece of plastic on top of the pesto to keep the oxygen out.

Quick Marinade Trick

Quick Marinade Trick

 

This quick marinade trick was a fluke. Many years ago I was making Rosh Hannah dinner. One cousin doesn’t care for red meat and won’t eat the brisket. I always make something else as a second entrée. One year I was running behind and needed something quick. I grilled chicken and as soon as the chicken came into rest I poured an herbed lemon juice over the chicken. The resting time allows the denatured proteins to coagulate again and when they do, they trap liquid. The salty juices from the chicken and now the lemon, thyme and garlic from the quick marinade.

My cousin and her husband loved the dish and she asked for the recipe. When I told her what I did, she didn’t want to believe me. It was too simple for something that tasted that good!

Quick Marinade Trick

You can do this, too. Simply juice a lemon, throw in some thyme sprigs and smash a garlic clove and toss these together. Pour this over the chicken after grilling and let rest for 5 minutes. Use lime juice and garlic – sprinkle with chopped cilantro for something different.

These are just two quick and easy suggestions for a quick marinade trick!

Watch the Quick Marinade Trick Video Here:

 

Grilled Onions

grilled onions, Red Onion Rings

 

Cooking onions highlights their inherent sweetness. Making grilled onions does that and adds a lovely charred flavor so distinctive of the grill.

It’s a simple thing to make grilled onion rings, but frustrating. No matter how hard you try to keep the onion slice in one piece, it eventually softens and falls apart. Then the onion rings begin to fall through the grates and all is lost.

Now I use a vegetable grill tray. Don’t ask why it took so long to get one of these – it changed my life!

Red Onion Rings

Slice and separate the onion rings. Toss with a little oil, salt and pepper, and strew the rings over the vegetable grill tray. Place on the hot grill, cover and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn and cook a little more. Keep turning and cooking until you get the desired doneness. I like some to have a little char on them, but still have some texture.

These are perfect for fajitas, hamburgers or toss over any grilled meat or vegetable.

Watch the Grilled Onion Rings Video Here:

 

Grilled Bone-in Chicken Thighs

Grilled Bone-in Chicken Thighs

 

Next up in mini course on cooking chicken: Grilled Bone-in Chicken Thighs!

Whenever cooking meat or poultry with the bone on, the cooking time takes a little longer. The bone can be in the center or perimeter and location also affects cooking time. Center bones take longer to reach and the meat near the bone is the last to cook because the bone holds that coldness from the refrigerator.

The best alternative on the grill for cooking anything with a bone is to start with direct heat and then move to the other side of the grill and finish on indirect heat. This keeps the outer meat moist and slowly lets the heat permeate throughout.

Grilled Bone-in Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs have more fat than the breast, so if you overcook a little, it’s a bit forgiving. Use marinades, rubs or just plain old salt and pepper with a little olive oil.

Fire up the grill and get started on your grilled bone-in chicken thighs tonight!

Watch Grilled Bone-in Chicken Thighs Video Here:

Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Hard-boiled eggs

 

The key to successful hard boiled eggs is gentle heat and slow cooking. By using this method, the egg is moist and tender with no off odor and a perfectly yellow egg yolk.

Overexposure to high heat releases sulfur from the egg white and iron from the yolk, which results in that unpleasant odor and gray-green coloration on the outer yolk.

Place eggs in a pan large enough to hold the eggs so they are covered by two inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes.

Plunge the eggs into an ice bath and let cool completely.

Crack and peel for delicate and delicious hard boiled eggs!

Use to make egg salad, deviled eggs, or slice to top salads.

Watch the Hard-Boiled Eggs Video Here:

Tri-Color Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Tri-Color Salad with Parmesan Crisps

 

Arugula and spinach are plentiful at the farmers markets now. Reach how to clean and store these stemmed greens and make a vibrant and delicious trip-color salad. As a bonus, we’ve included an extra recipe for parmesan crisps.

Arugula has dark green, small leaves with a peppery flavor that goes very well with other bitter greens, such as radicchio and endive. These are the classic lettuces used in a tri-color salad. The balsamic vinaigrette adds a little sweetness, a great foil for the bitter greens.

The parmesan are so easy to make. Just spread 2 tablespoons of finely grated cheese on in rounds on a lined sheet pan and bake until golden brown. For a little twist, use a crank or two of cracked pepper on each. Let them cook and firm up. Add to the salad for a beautiful presentation.

Tri-Color Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Click here for our Wilted Spinach Salad video.

Watch our Tri-Color Salad with Parmesan Crisps Here:

Today we’re making a classic Italian tri-color salad, arugula, radicchio and endive, with a balsamic

Asiago Cheese Crisps
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 crisps
 
Make a classic Italian tri-color salad, arugula, radicchio and endive, with a balsamic vinaigrette and and add a Asiago crisp for taste and eye appeal. If you can't find Asiago cheese, substitute Parmesan.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup grated Asiago cheese
  • freshly ground pepper, optional
Method
  1. Preheat oven 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with silicon or parchment paper
  3. Drop 2 tablespoons for each crisp onto the tray about 2 inches apart.
  4. Spread the cheese into a circle with the back of the measuring spoon.
  5. Sprinkle with a little freshly ground pepper, if desired.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Cool and serve with salad.

 
Tri-Color Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad and Vinaigrette
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4 cups salad
 
Smashed garlic adds just a little hint of flavor to the vinaigrette; remove before using, but because it's smashed and removed, none of the heat or bitterness remain. Perfect for this salad
Ingredients
  • VINAIGRETTE
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • a few turns of the pepper mill
  • SALAD
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup chopped radicchio
  • 1 cup sliced endive
  • salt and pepper
  • GARNISH
  • Shaved asiago or Asiago crisp
Method
  1. VINAIGRETTE
  2. Put the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic clove, salt and pepper in a sealed jar. Let sit, refrigerated, for a couple of hours.
  3. SALAD
  4. Put the arugula, radicchio and endive in a salad bowl. Season with a pinch of salt and a couple of turns of the peppermill.
  5. Remove the garlic from the vinaigrette, reseal the jar and shake well.
  6. Pour over the greens and toss.
  7. To garnish shave a few pieces of Asiago over the salad or with the Asiago crisps on the side.

 

 

Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast

Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast

 

Here’s another video in our mini course on cooking chicken: Grilled boneless chicken breast. Pound the breast with a meat pounder or heavy bottomed skillet to an even thickness. Use your favorite marinade, rub or merely sprinkle with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

A grilled boneless chicken breast cooks quickly. Close the grill on the first few minutes. Gently pull the chicken away from the grate. If it doesn’t release easily, let it cook a minute or two more. Pulling now only rips the meat.

Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast

Flip the boneless chicken breast and continue cooking for a couple minutes more with the cover closed. Use a thermometer to get an internal temperature; 165 degrees F is considered safe, I prefer 170 degrees F to make sure there’s no pink left. Don’t forget to let them rest for 3-4 minutes!

These boneless chicken breasts are moist and flavorful, as well as quick and easy.

Happy Grilling!

Watch the Grilled Chicken Breast Video Here: