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My husband and I just got back from a wonderful weekend in NYC!  We went into New York for a couples cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education.  Our chef instructor was James Biscione.  He looked really familiar to me and then half way through the class I found out he was on a few episodes of Chopped.  He won his first show during season 1 and then in season 2 they brought back all the winners for a tournament and he wo that too!  If you’ve never watched the show, you really should – they give these contestants the most bizarre ingredients to work with, so it’s fun to watch what they come up with. 

On our couples cooking class menu:

1)  Smoked Salmon Pizza – turned out fabulous!  I’ve never made my own dough, but it was surprisingly easy.  Might have to be a new St. Patty’s day recipe.

2)  Goat Cheese and Roasted Veggie Sandwich – the goat cheese was really creamy and delicious.  This would be perfect for an appetizer or afternoon lunch. 

not a great picture - but they tasted great!

3)  Roasted Rack of Lamb – My husband loved it, but I don’t eat red meat.  I did have some potatoes that were roasted in the same pan though, and they were incredible.

4)  Pan Seared Flounder with Green Pea Puree and Mushroom  broth- we were in charge of the green pea puree and it was delicious.  Think mashed potatoes but with peas.  I really liked the mushroom broth too – it helped keep the fish really moist.

that's the pea puree we made!

 

5)  Glazed Root Vegetables – these were wonderful too.  I’ve never glazed vegetables before, but essentially cooking them in water with butter, sugar, and salt and as the water evaporates you’re left with a shiny coating of all the good stuff. 

6)  Butter Bean Pasta with Pancetta – Oh my goodness, definitely one of my favorites.  This was delicious ( I ate around the pancetta of course).  The butter beans (aka lima beans) were infused with the white wine and rosemary from the sauce.  Such an easy dish, and everyone loved it.

7)  Lemon Mousse with Marinated Strawberries.  Joe and I were also in charge of the lemon mousse.  It was a little tricky and the Chef had to step in and save the day.  The mousse turned out great though.  I’ll let you know if we actually end up trying this at home!

Send me a message if you want any of these recipes!  I have them all printed out 🙂

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Being from Florida, seafood is in my blood!  I love seafood – any kind – but especially fish.  It’s such a light, healthy meal and can be prepared so many different ways.  Typically when I do my food shopping I just try to buy what’s fresh – but in the back of my mind I’m always wondering, “Is this being over-fished?  Am I making the “right” choice?”  Well, fear not.  I found this great fish guide on Coastal Living’s website.  It lists out some of the common fish choices that have high levels of mercury or are over-fished and what you should purchase instead!  What do you think?  Do you try to make eco-friendly fish choices?

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I’m very Irish, so I love St. Patty’s Day.   Even though this isn’t “food” related, I couldn’t resist posting this picture from one of my new favorite blogs Mrs. Lilien.  I want the whole outfit!  Stay tuned for my corned beef and cabbage recipe coming later.

Here’s Mrs. O’Lilien:

What’s your favorite piece? I think mine are the shoes, but I would get more use out of the purse.  And the stool is great too.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Are you wearing green??

All images are courtesy of Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and Heavenly Hostess

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My husband and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the new Emeril Lagassee Show that will begin airing in April on ION TV.  It was such a fun experience!  Emeril is quite the entertainer – he has as much energy in person as he does on tv.  Emeril’s guest star for this episode was Ali Sweeny – aka Sammy on Days of our Lives and the host of the Biggest Loser.  She was even more beautiful in person!

The theme for this episode was “Romance” and he made a whole pork belly (doesn’t sound romantic to me!) and a bouillabaisse. He paired the pork belly with picked cucumbers – which he claims are an aphrodisiac.  Never would have guessed!  They actually looked really delicious – he pickeled them for 24 hours in a mixture of soy and rice vinegar.  The bouillabaisse smelled incredible too – he used so many different types of fresh seafood.  If only we had a fish monger!  I get excited when I can find fresh, wild caught anything!  So, I probably won’t be trying this recipe anytime soon. 

Look out for us the third week in May – we’re in the front row way on the left!

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This is my new favorite recipe.  It is absolutely to die for!  The combination of the crunchy bread with the sweet tomato just melts in your mouth.   Using whole grain bread instead of sourdough is an easy way to get in lots of essential vitamins and nutrients including, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and fiber.  I found this recipe in this month’s Saveur magazine which highlighted their top 100 recipes, gadgets, cookbooks, traditions – really all things relating to food.  I highly recommend this issue.

Ingredients:

Bread

Tomato

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Directions:

1)  Toast Bread in 400 degree over for 6-7 minutes

2)  While toasting the bread, grate a ripe tomato using the large holes in the grater.  The skin will fold back – but if some gets in the mixture you can remove.

3)  When toast is done, drizzle with olive oil, top with grated tomato, then add a pinch of kosher salt.

Bon Appetit! Enjoy anytime of day!  In Spain they even serve for breakfast – I might have to try that one 🙂

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Roasted Chicken Chili

Yesterday we finally got a good snow here in CT!  It was the kind of snow that sticks to everything, so it felt like we were in a winter wonderland.  We ended up getting just over 7 inches – definitely the most we’ve had all winter.  I always love a really good snow.  There’s just something so exciting and peaceful – and it makes me want to curl up with a really good chili.  Since I don’t really eat red meat, I made this one with roasted chicken – it’s probably healthier anyways.

Doesn't this make you want a warm soup?!

Ingredients:

2 breasts (white meat) from 1 whole roasted chicken – mine was store bought

2 14oz. cans diced tomatoes – low sodium

1 14oz. can black beans

1/2 large yellow onion diced

1/2 jalapeno – diced

2 Tbs. Chili Powder

1/2 Tbs. Cumin

1/2 tsp dried oregano

3 Tbs. Worcestishire – approximately (may want to taste as you add)

2 cloves garlic minced

1 pepper – I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green

Shredded Cheese – any type – to top with (optional)

Sliced Green Onions – to top with (optional)

Directions:

1)  Sautee onion and garlic (with dash of salt/ pepper) over medium high heat until just cooked through – about 5 minutes. Add jalapeno and pepper.  Cook for 4 minutes until peppers are tender.

2)  Add cooked chicken, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and worchesteshire.  Mix and let cook slightly for 1 minute.

3)  Add tomatoes and another pinch of salt.  Cook on medium/ low heat for 15 minutes

4)  Add black beans and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  I like to add the beans last because they tend to be delicate.

5)  Serve with your choice of toppings – cheese, green onions, and toasted bread.

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