Tag Archives: carrot

Easy Pasta Salad – Montreal Farmers Market

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I met up with friends of ours in Montreal for a nice long weekend. It had been many years since we have been to Canada and now that we went; I’m not sure why it has been so long, what a great city. Always something going on; so I was told; they have the most festivals. Well I couldn’t remember what my buddy SF said exactly but I just google Montreal Festivals and it said “Montreal is a city of festivals” and since the internet can’t lie it must be true.

Cosmopolitan at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel

Cosmopolitan at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel with dirty ice – YUM!!!

Since our friends have been there many times; they live closer than we do. They booked where we stayed; SF wanted to stay somewhere that we could cook in one night if we wanted to. At first I thought why we would cook in, we are in city with numerous places to eat and explore and on a mini vacation. Well it all became VERY clear to me after visiting Atwater Farmers Market.

Sangria

Sangria

I have been fortunate enough to have been to some pretty amazing places over the years, I mean I absolutely love the Caribbean and Paris was incredibly amazing but I can count on one hand how many times I have had a true “Moment” just to be in awe of something around you. The Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. And I honestly never in a million years would have thought a Farmers Market could make me want to move and totally change the way I live my life. I totally understand how and why Europeans pick up dinner on the way home versus having a fridge and freezer fully stocked just to make dinner for the week.

Gorgeous berries

Gorgeous berries

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Vegetables displayed perfectly

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Amazing smelling artisan breads – the man behind me in line asked if I was from out of town LOL I guess not a lot of people take pictures of their bread

I also NOW understood why SF wanted a place where we could make dinner in if we wanted to. I totally wanted to cook in but sadly we didn’t, we just couldn’t pull it together in time to get back to the market before it closed; it would have been very forced and not as enjoyable for us to make it happen. I did google what I could bring back over the border though which as long as it is for personal consumption you can bring almost anything. We picked up some homemade pork sausages and kielbasa as well as some fresh pasta’s and a loaf of bread. For dinner I made up the gnocchi we bought along with some Cilantro Lime Sausages.

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The Herbs were incredible

The Herbs looked incredible

French Macaroons - they were not the famous Laduree's but damn tasty

French Macaroons – they were not the famous Laduree’s but damn tasty

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gnocchi w/butter garlic and thyme

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Dinner made at home with Atwater Farmers Market products

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Simple Delicious Pasta Salad

1 box of pasta such as campanelle, cavatappi or similar; cooked as directed – I use Tri-Colored Rotini

1 Can of small Black Olives drained

Container of cherry tomatoes – cleaned and sliced in half

Container of Feta Cheese

1 Carrot – grated

2 Red roasted peppers sliced olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper – Roast for 20-25 minutes at 350’ – or use your favorite jarred variety

I like adding sliced salami or pepperoni – but this can be omitted

Ken’s Zesty Italian dressing

Toss pasta with some Ken’s extra zesty, while this marinates the pasta, gather all the other ingredients, add all together and toss, if needed add a bit more dressing.

Beef Burgundy

My girlfriend KP made this “her way” a week or so ago and sent me a text “Soooo Yummy!!! U gotta make it” I also can’t help thinking Ron Burgundy every time I say Beef Burgundy 🙂

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I do have pretty good intentions when I make up my grocery shopping list for the week. Even though I mostly have a plan; sometimes life happens and I just can’t get to what I planned on cooking. This week I bought 5-lb beef chuck roast with the whole intention of prepping my slow-cooker some night during the week and putting it on to cook while at work. Well the week totally got away from me this week and here we are at Friday already and the roast was still sitting in the fridge.

I’m not a huge fan of freezing beef; well except for hamburger; and my guys were leaving Saturday afternoon for a 5-day ski trip out West so I decided to try something new. I prepped the crock-pot when I got home from work Friday night and put it on before I went to bed. I figured we would have it for lunch; it is a little extravagant for our typical Saturday lunch; but I didn’t have to freeze the roast and I sent the guys off with a really nice meal.

My buddy SF was here as he was going skiing with my guys; he has made a few of the meals from this blog and he really liked this one but when I told him “it is a process” I could tell he was a little less thrilled. He tends to take recipes and tweaks them a little to what he has on hand or feels like. I totally respect that – KP did the same thing! I can’t wait for him to try this recipe and tell me how he made it his own.

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Beef Burgundy

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

Kosher Salt & Fresh cracked Black Pepper

1 tbs olive oil

4-5 pieces of bacon cooked to crisp and minced

2-3 onions, minced

1 carrot, peeled and minced

¼ cup tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup flour

2 ½ cups or 1 bottle Pinot Noir

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1/3 soy sauce

2 bay leaves

2 cups frozen pearl onions

½ cup water

3 tbs unsalted butter

2 tsp sugar

1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

Dry beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place half of beef in the slow cooker. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking; brown remaining beef well on all sides transfer to slow cooker.

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Cook bacon in the skillet until crisp remove and set aside. Stir in chopped onions, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 ¼ cups wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

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Stir in broth, soy sauce, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender. 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.

About 20 minutes before serving, bring frozen pearl onions, water, butter, and sugar to boil in 12-inch skillet. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until onions are fully thawed and tender. 5-8 minutes. Uncover, bring to a boil, and cook until all liquid evaporates. Stir in mushrooms and cook until vegetables are browned and glazed. Transfer to slow cooker.

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Add remaining 1 ¼ cups wine to skillet and simmer until reduced by half. Let stew settle for 5-10 minutes, then remove the fat from the top. Discard bay leaves, adjust stew consistency with hot broth if needed, mine did not. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sever over mashed potatoes.

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Braised Short Ribs

I’m going to start with you have GOT to try these!!! If you do have any leftover they taste amazing re-heated. Now that we have that out of the way, they do take a planes trains and automobile kind of route to get where they need to go but the end result will be worth it and I hope it doesn’t deter you from attempting this recipe.

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The weather has been super cold here in the North East; my guys have been working outside on a couple of roofs and there is nothing like a hot shower and a warm comforting meal to warm your bones. The last couple of weeks I have put my slow cooker to work, plus my new cookbook is very inspiring plus I do like prepping two meals at one time and then taking a night off to relax.

For this particular recipe the microwave helped in making the dish a little less fatty, short ribs are notoriously greasy and we all want to have the most flavors but not all the extra grease in our dishes. I still had to let the sauce separate before I turned the juice into gravy. You do have a couple of options to keep the juice as such or make a roux and turn it into nice thick gravy which is the route I chose.

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Firstly separate the bones from the ribs, slice as close to the bone as possible. Take the bones and put them in a microwave safe dish, microwave for about 10 minutes, they should be nicely browned and a lot of fat left in the dish.  Transfer the bones to the slow cooker.

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Now to brown the ribs in a hot skillet by drying them, then salt and pepper and adding them to the skillet with a little oil. Brown about 7 minutes a side and add to the slow cooker. In the same skillet add onions, carrot, celery, tomato paste, and thyme to the fat in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for another minute. Slowly whisk in the wine and vinegar, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 6 minutes then add to the slow cooker. Stir in the broth and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 9 to 11 hours or on high for 5 to 7.

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Transfer ribs to a platter and tent loosely with foil. Either let the braising liquid settle and skim off the fat or use a fat separator; whichever you prefer. Strain the liquid discarding the solids and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley or sprinkle over the top just before serving. Spoon about a cup over the ribs and serve with the remaining sauce.

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Serve over your favorite mashed potatoes.

5 lbs. bone-in short ribs – meat and bones separated

Salt and Pepper

2 Tbs olive oil

2 onions chopped medium

1 carrot peeled and chopped medium

1 celery rib chopped medium

2 Tbs tomato paste

1 tsp dried thyme

3 Tbs flour

2 cups dry red wine

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 cups chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 Tbs minced fresh parsley

Grilling & Chillin on a Pontoon Boat – Stuffed Pepper recipe

I do love to cook with fresh ingredients and do so for the most part. A couple of recent posts I used jar sauce which I have no problem with but I do add my own spin to it by adding fresh garlic, onions and herbs.  I have been known to pick up a store prepared potato or pasta salad on a rare occasion; especially during the week after work.  Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get it together.  Or there is a time and place rule that takes over; case in point.photo 2 (1)

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This weekend we spent up North with some friends; they stayed on their boat we were in a close by Inn.  The weather wasn’t great on Saturday so we played a round of golf. I shot my personal best for 18 holes and beat the guys by 6 strokes; just saying.  Sunday was spent on the water and just plain glorious.  We grilled burgers on the boat; which I think is super cool! The side salads were bought at the local grocery store; again time and a place played a hand.  While their pontoon boat did have a gas grill and small fridge and coolers under a few of the seats it is not really a place to make up potato and pasta salad. The burgers were the definite star of the meal.

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Since I didn’t make anything worthy of sharing this trip I want to share with you a stuffed pepper recipe that is pretty darn yummy, just in case you have had an abundance of peppers from your garden, unlike me this has been more of a Zucchini year for me but I have shared a couple of Zucchini recipes already; thought I would give you a little break.

1 cup water

1/2 cup uncooked white rice

2 Tbs olive oil, divided

1 medium carrot minced

1 celery stock minced

1 medium onion minced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1-2 sweet Italian sausage casing removed

1/4 lb pancetta diced

32 oz jar marinara sauce

1/4 cup red wine

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/3 cup heavy cream – or use what you have on hand

1/2 grated Parmesan cheese divided

4 bell peppers (any color), halved lengthwise and seeds removed

in a sauce pan bring water to a boil, add rice and stir. reduce heat cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender and fluffy.

preheat oven to 375′

heat 1 tbs olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook carrots, celery and onion until tender, add garlic cook for another minute. Add sausage and pancetta, cook until browned and crumbled. drain off excess liquid. add marinara sauce, wine, and red pepper flakes and simmer 10 minutes. stir in cream, 1/4 cup Parmesan and cooked rice. simmer about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Arrange peppers in a shallow baking dish, fill with mixture. drizzle remaining olive oil and cover with remaining Parmesan.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes until the peppers are soft. serve hot.

The filling is very tasty and does freeze well if you want to double the batch, If you did it would make a great week night meal. 

Gyoza & Ramen birthday dinner

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!  It is a beautiful day here in NH – Having my husbands family over for Father’s day dinner in a few hours!  I hope you were able to do whatever you wanted today!  My husband took a nap after lunch on his hammock – Life is good!!!

Last week was both of my children’s birthday’s they are 2 years and a day apart.  Believe it or not they were actually planned just not THAT close.  She was early, he was on time. They could have had the same birthday but I thought they should at least have their own day.  I told the Doctor that I couldn’t come in the next day as I was busy.  I had family coming over for my daughters’ 2nd birthday party.  Still to this day they each get to pick what they want for their birthday dinners.  Unfortunately this year my daughter is living in Japan had to fend for herself.  I think my son was being a little devious this year; he wanted to pick something I had never made before.  I am not sure what that was all about but he took 2 days and finally came up with a couple of things he had while visiting his sister that he really liked; Gyoza and Ramen.  Some of you might be thinking about the packages of ramen you can buy for like a buck that has a flavored sodium packet included, just add water and voila’. Unfortunately Japanese ramen I have come to find out is quite a process and the most important part is the broth, it took a couple of days to make as it wants to sit overnight.

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Gyoza I found out is pretty much a dumpling with a dipping sauce – These came out yummy and I will definitely make again.  Ramen was very good but I think I can do better.  I was so worried that it tasted like seaweed I was a little nervous so I added some chicken base and my son noticed and said it tasted like chicken oops!

Gyoza

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 cups chopped cabbage

¼ cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup chopped carrot

½ pound ground pork

1 egg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (10oz) package wonton wrappers

¼ cup water

 

¼ cup soy sauce (lower sodium)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium high heat; mix together cabbage, onion, garlic and carrot.  Cook and stir until the cabbage is limp.  Mix in ground pork and egg. Cook until pork is evenly brown and the egg is no longer runny.

Gather some friends to help fill the Wonton’s – it goes by quicker

Preheat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the cabbage and pork mixture in the center of each wrapper. Fold wrappers in half over the filling, and seal edges with moistened finger

In the preheated vegetable oil cook the Gyoza approximately 1-2 minute per side, until lightly browned.  Lower the heat; add ¼ cup water and place the cover on the pan and let them steam until the water evaporates.

In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Use the mixture as a dipping sauce for the finished wrappers.

Ham & Asparagus Soup

Who doesn’t need to use up some of the leftover ham from Easter?  I swear the weather this weekend also helped dictate what I ended up making.  It has been rainy, raw and just plain chilly, kind of like a fall day.  It also helps that one of my favorite soups is creamy ham and asparagus.  It is so satisfying, it is simple to make and warms you from the inside out.   I also make this when I have leftover asparagus; I guess pretty much any excuse works for me.

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I do know many people who are not soup people, I don’t get that at all, and I kind of feel bad for them? Maybe they have never had a good tasting soup?  Maybe when they were little soup was their meatloaf & peas (two of my childhood nightmares) I do like peas now but I still refuse to eat meatloaf.  I love meatballs but no loaf.  It’s a mental thing I know. That must be it!  On the other spectrum  I have had a few people come up to me at work while I was re-heating my yummy soup for lunch and really want to make homemade soups but have had terrible luck so have given up; which is really sad.  I have had a soup class and hope to again – I will help and or convert as many as will let me.

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Passing it on – My son was looking around the kitchen to see if we had any canned soups.  I convinced him that he could make a delicious tomato soup, fairly easily and would taste a million times better than anything he could get from a can.  I got out all the ingredients and while sitting at the island working; I guided him through the process.  He wanted to make the soup all on his own, that’s my boy!

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If you have some things to use up in the fridge and a little time I believe soup is a great way to feed yourself and your family.

Creamy Ham & Asparagus

1 ½ Cup fresh asparagus

2-3 carrot, julienned

2-3 tablespoons butter

2-3 small white or 1 large onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2-3 tablespoons butter (equal to your butter)

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fully cooked ham, cut into bite size pieces

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Trim asparagus and place in a saucepan, cover with water and cook till just crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside

In a heavy saucepan, sauté carrots in butter for 3-5 minutes; add onions and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes longer or until tender.

Stir in flour; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes, add broth, ham and reserved asparagus.

Reduce heat and simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Slight variation – You can also add a couple of potatoes if you wanted a little heartier soup, you could also add your favorite herb to change it up a bit.  If you add raw potato, cut them up small and simmer long enough to cook them probably 20-30 minutes.  Increase the chicken stock for a lighter soup or a little more milk.  if you wanted a really creamy soup, substitue 1 cup of half and half for 1 of the cups of milk – BUT do not boil the soup once you add the half and half. You can let it simmer to heat through but do not let it boil.