Welcome to Yummy Fixins!

Thanks so much for checking out my blog. My name is Arica, I am a Personal Chef serving the Lake Tahoe area. Please visit my new website at www.yummyfixins.com

Cooking is my passion, I love spending time in the kitchen creating yummy dishes. I originally created this blog to share healthy yummy recipes with my friends and family but now I'm sharing them with the world. Most of the dishes you will find here are very healthy and can be altered to fit any dietary restrictions. I hope you will find something delicious!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Smoked Salmon Ravioli

This summer I have been eating quite a bit of smoked salmon. It makes a great snack, sandwich addition and surprisingly a yummy filling for ravioli. If you enjoy making pasta at home I suggest you try this recipe. It only calls for a handful of ingredients, all of which are easy to find and inexpensive to buy. 
The recipe below is just a small batch of only 10 ravioli, if you are cooking for a crowd just double the ingredients and it will turn out just as delicious. 

Makes 10 Ravioli

8 oz of cream cheese, softened
6 oz smoked salmon, diced
2 green onion, diced

Mix the ingredients together until evenly combined. Place in the fridge until ready for use.

1/4 cup semolina flour
1/2 cup of "00" pizza flour or white flour 
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/8 cup water (only if needed)

Place the flour on a smooth surface and create a well in the middle. Crack the egg into the well and slowly beat the egg. Once the egg is scrambled, start slowly adding in a little flour at a time with and continue to mix with a fork. Keep mixing until you can't use the fork and start kneading the dough with your hands. Add water if needed, a little at a time. Continue to knead for 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky add in a little flour at a time until you have an elastic ball. 
Cover in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. 

If you have a stand mixer, place all ingredients except the water into the mixer and turn on med/low until a ball starts for form, adding water if needed. Once the ball starts for form decrease speed to low. 

Putting it all together
Flatten the dough one sheet at a time with a roller or through a pasta machine. Lay out the dough and place a small dollop of filling evenly on one side of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover the filling and cut using a ravioli stamp or pastry cutter. Set each ravioli aside and dust with flour. Carefully place the pasta in lightly boiling water, when they float they are ready (about 3-4 minutes). Remove and drain quickly. Make sure to have the sauce ready so it is warm when serving. Have some sliced lemon on hand for garnish. 

I tested out two different things to toss the pasta in, one was butter and the other oil. Both were tasty but the butter won hands down! If you decide to use oil make sure to add a little extra salt or toss in some capers. 

4 tbs butter
2 tbs capers
pinch of salt

Place the ingredients in a sauce pan until the butter melts. Pour lightly over the pasta and serve immediately.
(pasta tossed in olive oil with chopped chives)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baked Falafel & Tabouleh with Tzatziki

This is one healthy meal that I can't get enough of. I love making baked falafel and homemade tzatziki, it's easier than you might think. I don't use egg in my falafel so it is vegan friendly as long as you leave out the yogurt.

I like to serve falafel with Tabouleh. Tabouleh is super simple and very good for you side dish that takes no time at all and tastes better the longer it sits. Another yummy addition to this meal would be some warm pita bread with a katamala olive tapenade or Greek Feta Dip. As always taste as you go and add more seasoning as you go along. Everyone has different tastes so it is up to you to manage the flavor. I hope you enjoy!! 

1 1/2 cups bulgar wheat
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
zest from 1 lemon
2 tomatoes diced
3 cups chopped parsley

Bring the water to a boil. Rinse the bulgar wheat then place into a glass or ceramic bowl then pour in the boiling water, lemon juice, zest and the olive oil. Season with S&P then cover tightly with a tight lid or plastic wrap. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Once the bulgar is fluffy and cool add in the parsley and tomatoes. Taste and season again if needed. At this time you can add more lemon juice as well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

2 cups Greek yogurt
juice from half a lemon
1 handful of dill, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, shaved thin 

Mix ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use. Add as much or little dill as you like, I love the taste so I sometimes double it up.


1 can of chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup parsley
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1 tbs cumin
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 cup breadcrumbs

Place all above ingredients except the bread crumbs into a food processor and pulse until mostly smooth. It is okay to leave it a little chunky. Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a bowl. Slowly mixing small amounts of the bread crumbs at a time until you are able to form a ball that will hold together and is not too sticky. Next place the mixture into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Keep some breadcrumbs on hand in case you need a little more after the mixture chills.)

Preheat oven to 400. After 30 minutes remove the mixture and form you patties or balls then place each patty or ball onto a non-stick baking sheet. Continue until you have used all of the mixture. Bake at 400 for 15-20* minutes on each side. Serve warm and enjoy! 

*Baking time depends on your oven. Use one patty as your test patty and sample it after 15 minutes on each side then decide if it needs more time. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pistachio Crusted Cod

Yum! From the first bite to the last I was loving this dish. This recipe is easy, quick and amazingly delicious. You can use just about any kind of white fish but cod was on sale so gave it a try. I hope you like it! Enjoy! 

4 cod filets
1/4 cup parmesan, finely shredded
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
stone ground mustard

Preheat the oven to 400. Place the parmesan, pistachios and bread crumbs on a plate and mix well. Dry off each cod filet then spread a little stone ground mustard on each filet. Place the mustard side of the fish into the pistachio mixture and coat evenly. 
Carefully place each filet onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes(time is based on thickness of the fish). Serve warm and enjoy!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Forbidden Stir Fry

Have you ever heard of forbidden rice? Legend has is that this grain was eaten exclusively by Chinese emperors to increase longevity and health. Not only is it high in many nutrients but it is also tasty! Forbidden rice is a great source of iron, vitamin E and very high in antioxidants. Take a look in your nearest specialty grocer and pick up a bag of this rice. You will not be disappointed. 
This recipe is vegetarian but as you can see from the pictures I did use shrimp.... but I cooked it on the side and added it separately. It tasted great either way! If you use shrimp just peel it and toss it in 1 tsp of sesame oil and a tsp of red chili paste and saute for 2 minutes on each side. 


1 cup black rice 
2 1/2 cups broth 
1 tsp sesame oil

2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp ginger, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs soy sauce (plus more if needed)
1 tbs red chili paste
3 cups chopped bok choy
2 cups mushrooms (preferable shitake or oyster)
1/2 cup water chestnuts
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into small strips

To make the rice, bring the broth to a boil add in the sesame oil & rice. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until ready. (If needed: When the rice is soft pour it through a sifter to drain)

While the rice is cooking heat the sesame oil in a large pan and add in the garlic, ginger, onion and red chili paste. Saute until fragrant then add in the rest of the vegetables* and cook until the bok choy wilts. Toss in the rice when the vegetables are to your liking. Season with more soy sauce and red chili paste as needed and serve. 

*If you like your peppers crunchy wait to cook them until the last 2 minutes. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spinach Ravioli in Butter Sage

Are you up for a little challenge in the kitchen? Try making a colored ravioli. It is not as hard as you might think and lots of fun! Once you figure it out you can start playing around with other colors like orange pasta (using red bell pepper) or red pasta (using sun dried tomato paste). You can also add any other ingredients you might like into the filling like mushrooms or ground meat. Have a look at my Chestnut Ravioli Recipe for helpful images on making the ravioli.  
Happy cooking!

1 cup of ricotta
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino
dash nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

2 cups of flour (plus more if needed)
1/2 cup of sautéed spinach, drained and pureed
2 eggs

Place the flour and salt into a mound on a smooth floured surface; create a well in the middle. Crack the egg into the well and lightly beat with a fork while adding in the spinach. Gradually pulling in the flour from the sides in a circular motion until you can't use the fork. At this point start kneading the dough with your hands and continue for 5-8 minutes. If the dough is sticky add in a little flour at a time until you have an elastic ball. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. 

Flatten the dough one sheet at a time with a roller or through a pasta machine. Lay out the dough and place a small dollop of filling evenly on one side of the dough. Fold the dough over to cover the filling and cut using a ravioli stamp or pastry cutter. Set each ravioli aside and dust with flour. Carefully place the pasta in boiling water, when they float they are ready.

1 stick of butter
6 sage leaves chopped

Grated parmesan (for topping)

Melt the butter in a large pan with the sage and let it sit on low heat until the pasta is ready. Place the pasta into the butter and top with parmesan. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Creamy Polenta with Poached Egg and Kalamata Olive Tapenade

This week I was forced to eat only soft foods due to a not so fun dental procedure. The doctor suggest mashed potatoes and ice cream but that just seemed a little too boring.  I had quite a bit of cornmeal in the cabinet so I thought polenta would be the perfect soft meal. This is a quick and easy dish to make that can be eaten for any meal. I had it for dinner but this would surely make a great brunch. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Makes 4-6 servings

1 cup pitted kalamata &  olives, chopped
1 tbs capers, diced

1 tbs olive oil (plus more for garnish)
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped

Make sure all of the ingredients are chopped. Set aside until the dish is ready.

Creamy Polenta
4 cups water
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 cups of medium grind cornmeal

1 cup shredded finely shredded pecorino romano or paremsan 

Heat the water and broth in a large pot, once it is boiling slowly pour in the cornmeal. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. If you want the polenta creamier just add a little more broth. Once the polenta has absorbed all the water remove it from the heat and stir in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. 

Poached Egg
4 eggs
1 tsp white vinegar

Crack each egg into a small bowl. Fill a medium pot with water and add in the vinegar and bring the water to a simmer. When the water is simmering give it a little whirl making a gentle cyclone effect. Slowly pour in each egg, one at a time. Keep a spoon handy to keep the eggs separate. The eggs should only take about 3 minutes each. Remove the egg with a slotted spoon. If you've never poached an egg I suggest watching this you-tube video and give it a shot. 

To serve
Spoon the polenta into your serving bowls, top with a poached egg then the tapenade. Drizzle a little more olive oil over the polenta. Serve warm. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blackened Red Snapper with Crawfish Cream Sauce

One things I miss most about home is the seafood. I grew up surrounded by some of the most tasty and fresh seafood in the country. When my parents were planning their trip to visit me in Tahoe I just had to request that they bring me some good ol' Louisiana seafood. And boy did they deliver! My mom brought me crawfish tails and jumbo shrimp, for the past few weeks it has all been in my freezer and on my mind! 
The one dish I could not stop thinking about once I saw the crawfish was red snapper with crawfish cream sauce. I don't remember the first place I ate this dish but I always remembered it tasting scrumptious. I looked though some recipe books I had from home but didn't find what I was looking for so I gave it a shot on my own and it turned out perfectly! 

If you have access to crawfish and haven't had this dish I highly recommend you give it a try. Ans stay tuned because I already have plans for the last pound of crawfish in my freezer,  crawfish bisque and crawfish etouffee... Yummy!  

Makes 4 Servings

2 lbs red snapper 

blackened seasoning (I use Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends but you can also make your own
juice from 1/2 lemon 

Crawfish Sauce
1/2 lb crawfish tails
1 tbs butter
1/2 small onion, minced
5 sprigs of parsley, leaves minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1/2 small green bell pepper, minced
1/2 tbs oregano
1 tbs paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 pint heavy cream

Coat the snapper in lemon juice then blackened seasoning, let it marinate whhile you prepare the crawfish sauce. 

Place a small pot on the stove and turn to medium/low heat. Place the butter in the pot and let it melt. Make sure your vegetables are finely minced then add them along with the seasonings to the melted butter, cook or 5 minutes or until softened. Once the vegetables have softened and add in the cream and increase to a simmer until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Let it set on low heat while you cook the fish.

Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the pan is hot add in the fish. Cook for two minutes then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. If the fish is thicker cook it a little longer on each side. 

Place the fish on a plate and top with the crawsfish cream sauce and sprinkle with green onions. This dish goes great with a side of brown rice or cornbread. If the butter and cream are enough for you, don't worry this dish taste great any way you eat it!  

Buon Appetit! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chicken, Pepper & Mushroom Rice with Arugula Pesto

I was in need of a filling and healthy lunch for work for this week but I had to get creative with what I had in the fridge, lucky me I had some yummy things to choose from. What makes this dish extra delicious is arugula pesto. I keep my homemade pesto frozen in an ice cube tray so I cand use them anytime in order to make meals like this quick and easy. If you are looking for a good lunch this week I promise this is a yummy one! 

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tbs olive oil
2 lbs chicken breast, cubed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 portobello mushroom caps, diced
3 cups of cooked brown rice
1/3 cup or 3 cubes of arugula pesto
white pepper 

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and toss in the garlic and onions once it is warm. When the onions and garlic become fragrant and add in the chicken, mushrooms and bell pepper. Cover and cook on low 5-10 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Once this is ready add in the rice and pesto, coat evenly. Serve warm and enjoy! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicken Curry Soup

Typically I leave meat out of my recipes because my boyfriend is a vegetarian but this dish is just for me so I decided to add some meat. Today I decided to make a chicken curry soup because soup is always tastes better the next day making this a perfect healthy dish to bring to work for lunch. This soup was super quick and easy and tastes amazing!! I didn't have all of the ingredients I wanted for this soup like lime and cilantro so I went with what I had. I added a few extra yummy fixins to the recipe below so you can add them if you would like, but if not the soup taste amazing either way.

2 tbs coconut oil
2 chicken breast or tenders, cut into cubes
3 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk

1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tbs ginger, minced
1 tsp basil, chopped
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp curry powder 
1 pinch salt

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small strips
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin ovals
1 celery stalk, chopped

Other Yummy Fixins
cilantro, chopped
lime juice
snap peas
green onions
tofu (in place of chicken)

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot until it melts then add in the garlic, onion and ginger until the become fragrant. Next add in the basil and the rest of the seasonings and saute for 1 minute then add in the chicken, tossing to coat the meat. Once the chicken looks like it is almost cooked add in the broth, coconut milk, fish sauce and the vegetables. Cover and let cook on medium/low for 10-15 minutes. 

Serve warm as is or over rice. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Roasted Cod Filets with Parsley & Shallot Panko Crust

What an easy, yummy and healthy dinner! This was my first time cooking cod and it was a total success. The flavors of the lemon and parsley taste so wonderful with this fish. I'm sure the recipe would work with any white flaky fish but I chose a nice thick piece of cod. Your cook time will change based on the thickness of the fish you purchase. You should cook fish for 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. If the fish starts to flake while cooking it is most likely over done. Make sure you check it 8 minutes into the dish and most importantly make sure your oven temperature is accurate. Fish is so easy to cook and great for you so go ahead and give this yummy recipe a try! 

4 cod filets
1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup, loose parsley1 shallot
2 garlic clove
zest from half a lemon, save other half for garnish

Preheat oven to 400. Dice the parsley, shallot and garlic. Heat the 1 tbs of the oil in a small pan to medium heat then add in the parsley mixture along with the lemon zest. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally, careful not to fry the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in the bread crumbs with 1 tbs of olive oil, mixing well. Place the cod in an oiled baking pan, lightly coating both side of the fish with oil from the pan. Carefully place the bread crumb mixture on the top of the fish making sure to coat as much as possible. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 

Serve with lemon wedge. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spinach & Scallion Quiche

Breakfast is such an important meal and one of my favorite; when I actually have time to eat it. I've been trying to get better a bringing a warm breakfast to work instead of smoothies and yogurt. A warm meal is just more enjoyable on a cold morning. Pre-made/home made breakfast sandwiches have been my go to lately but this week I decided to try and make a quiche. This was my first go at a quiche and it turned out perfectly! I am looking forward to playing around with the ingredients and coming up with some more creative ideas but for now check out my spinach quiche recipe.

Pie Crust
1 stick of butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups of flour
pinch of salt 
pinch of sugar
1/4 cup ice cold water 

Place the butter, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor. Pulse until it starts to breakdown the butter then slowly pour in the water. Pulse again until the flour starts to look evenly crumbly. Pour the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, using your hands form a small disk out of the crumbs. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 425. Prepare a pie pan for the dough by rubbing it with butter. Remove the crust from the fridge and roll into a large circle. Place the dough into the pie pan pressing it down and then cut the tops off evenly. Place a piece of foil over the dough then add the pie weights on the foil then place it in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. 

3 oz cream cheese
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs butter
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
8 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
pinch of salt
1/4 cup jack cheese (any cheese will do)

Heat the butter in a skillet on medium heat, cook the onions and garlic 3-5 minutes then remove to cool. Meanwhile, place the cream cheese, eggs and milk in a bowl and mix with hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add the spinach, cheese sat and onion mixture into the eggs and cream and mix with a fork. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let it stand for 15 minute before serving or place in the fridge and serve cold. 

Waffles with Coconut Cream Sauce

My boyfriend never craves food or has a hankering for anything, when he told me he wanted waffles for Valentine's Day dinner I was delighted to whip some up! I thought about cutting them into hearts but that felt wasteful, instead I decided to spruce them up a bit by making a coconut cream sauce. We had some amazing Maryland maple syrup in the fridge so we indulged in some extra sugar but if your watching your sugar intake the coconut cream works fine alone. 
This is a super easy dish and tastes wonderful and goes very well with a bottle of Mumm Brut Rose.  

Coconut Cream
1 can full fat coconut milk
3 tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Separate the coconut water from the can of coconut milk and set it aside. You don't want to use the thin liquid for this recipe set it aside and use it for a smoothie or something else later. 

Place the coconut fat, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk with mixer on high until it becomes light and fluffy. Place in the fridge until read to use. 

Waffle Batter
2 cups of flour
1 tbs baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar

Mix and set aside. 

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of milk (almond milk works well too)
1 tbs pecan oil (vegetable oil works too)

Mix well then pour into dry, mixing well until the mixture is smooth. Heat a waffle iron and pour the batter in as directed by instructions for the iron. 

pecans, crushed
maple Syrup (optional)
strawberries, sliced

When the waffles are ready top with a little coconut cream and add crushed pecans and a little syrup or any other fixins you like and enjoy! 

If you refrigerate the coconut milk the night before in a small bowl it will stiffen up more like whip cream when you whip it, otherwise the cream sauce worked for me! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pear & Pecorino Stuffed Pasta with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Pear & Pecorino Stuffed Pasta with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce is one of my the best dishes I had Florence this summer. I found this dish at an amazing little restaurant called Ristorante Natalino, a short walk from Piazza Santa Croce. The restaurant is a cute little place filled with locals where the owner is the hostess and sometimes your server. There were so many appealing dishes on the menu but the owner recommended this dish, and she was right. It was amazing and I savored every little bite. This dish drew me back to Ristorante Natalino three more times while I was in Florence. I made sure to note the ingredients in the dish so I could successfully remake this dish when I got home. I hope that you will give this pasta a try so you can get the chance to enjoy this amazing pasta. 

Makes 4-5 Servings

Step 1 - Pasta
200 grams or 2 1/2 cups flour 
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Place the flour on a smooth surface and create a well in the middle. Crack the eggs into the well and slowly beat the eggs. Once the eggs are scrambled, start slowly adding in a little flour at a time with and continue to mix with a fork. Keep mixing until you can't use the fork and start kneading the dough with your hands. Continue to knead for 10 minutes. If the dough is sticky add in a little flour at a time until you have an elastic ball. 
Cover in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. 

Step 2 - Filling
2 Bartlett pear, peeled and shredded or finely diced
1 cup marscapone cheese
1 cup pecorino cheese
cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, mix well and place into the fridge.

Step 3 -Sauce
1 tbs butter
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 cups heavy cream or milk
4 oz of crumbly Gorgonzola

Place all ingredients into a very large pan, bring to a simmer on medium/high heat until the cheese melts. Once the cheese has melted turn the heat to a low and cover until pasta is ready. Add more cream if needed to thin it out.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a slow boil.

Step 4 - Stuff em! 
Use a pasta roller to foll out your dough until it is thin. I thin mine from 0-6. You can either make traditional ravioli squares and cut off the edges or you can make Santa bags like I did above. To do this cut the dough into 2" rectangles and place a small spoon of stuffing into the middle. Grab all four ends of the dough and bring them together, connecting the side of the dough and twisting to close the seam. Continue to flour the pasta so it doesn't stick. Once all of the pasta is stuffed, carefully drop a few at a time into the boiling water. Once the pasta floats it is ready. 

Remove the pasta with a strainer and place into the sauce. Continue to do this until all of the pasta is cooked. Serve warm with chopped parsley garnish.

Buon Appetito! 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Shrimp Étouffée

 I grew up eating some of the most amazing seafood dishes so I crave Cajun food quite often. Recently I have had a hankering for crawfish etouffée. Living in the mountains is amazing but I do miss good ol' Louisiana seafood and it is impossible to get Louisiana crawfish in Lake Tahoe. I really needed to kick my craving for crawfish etouffée so I decided to make it with shrimp instead. This dinner was amazing, it really hit the spot and reminded me a little bit of home. 

Typically my family uses Tony Chachere's Seasoning to add a little Cajun flavor but to their food but for my dish I decided to use a new seasoning, Slavo Salt. Slavo Salt is a yummy seasoning that helps bring out the flavor in just about any dish. It is a simple seasoning without any additives or preservatives.
Slavo Salt! http://slavosalt.com/
Gather up the follow ingredients and get ready to make a yummy Louisiana style dinner for your friends and family! 

Makes 4-6 servings
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup of butter
2 green onions, chopped 
1 tbs parsley, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
2 cups broth - homemade broth recipe below
3 tbs flour
1 lb shrimp, peel and devain
Season with Salvo Salt and Paprika

3 cups of cooked rice

Heat the butter in a large sauce pan or medium pot until it melts. Add in the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Next add in the  green onions, parsley and tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes. Mix the flour into 1/4 cup of the broth until smooth then add along with the rest of the broth to the dish and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer, add in the shrimp and seasoning, cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium/low heat.  

Taste the dish and add more seasoning as needed. Serve warm over rice, garnish with paprika and sliced green onions. 

Shrimp Broth 
Homemade broth is easy to make from ingredients you are already using to make your dinner. I prefer to make my broth 30 minutes before using it but you can use after 15 in your in a rush. I usually take that time it's setting to prep my vegetables and set the table. 

2 1/2 cups of water
1/2 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 celery rib
1 carrot 

bell pepper ends from ingredients above
shrimp carcasses from ingredients above 

Chop the vegetables in large chunks and place a pot along with the water and shrimp carcasses. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let sit for at least 15 minutes. Once you are ready to use the broth pour it thought a fine mesh strainer into a cup or bowl. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

New Orleans Style Muffuletta

The muffuletta is an Italian influenced sandwich that originated in the New Orleans French Quarter. I have had a serious hankering for some good ol' Louisana style cuisine and this dish just hit the spot. The best thing about this sandwich is that the longer it sits and marinates the better it tastes. I highly suggest making this sandwich on Sunday and take it to work for lunch for a few so you can tastes the flavors enhancing. 
 In this specific recipe I used a special ingredient, wild boar salami. I bought this as well as the genoa salami and ham at Overland Meat Co, South Lake Tahoe's local butcher. The wild boar salami came highly suggested from the owner himself so I knew it had to be tasty and it was! Wild boar salami made a perfect addition to the muffuletta giving it just a little more excitement.  If you don't have access to wild boar salami you can really use any kind of cured meats that you enjoy like capicola, soppresseta or prosciutto. 

Now for my other favorite part of the muffuletta... the bread. I had some extra time on my hands so I decided to make a muffuletta loaf from scratch. The muffuletta bread recipe is quite easy and posted below for my fellow bread makers. If you don't have the time or love for baking bread a good piece of focaccia from your local bakery will do just the trick.

Olive Salad
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1/2 cup green olives with pimentos
1 tbs capers
1 16oz jar of Giardiniera (pickled cauliflower, celery, onions +
1/4 cup fresh parsley
pinch of oregano 
2 tbs lemon juice
3 tbs olive oil

Finely chop all above ingredients then toss in oil and lemon juice. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. 

Sandwich Fixins
 1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
1/4 lb smoked ham
1/4 lb genoa salami
1/4 lb wild boar salami (use your preference here)
1/4 lb mortadella
1/4 lb slices of provolone 

Split your loaf of bread horizontally. Place half of the olive salad on the bottom piece of bread. Next layer the cheese and meats in order above. Top the last layer with the rest of the olive salad and carefully press the top of the sandwich back on.

At this point you can leave the round whole, wrap and refrigerate for until ready to serve or cut the sandwich into 6 rounds and wrap individually and refrigerate. You should let the sandwich ready for at least a few hours or overnight to let the flavors build. 

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup luke warm water
3 tsp instant yeast
1 tbs sugar
2 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

Place the sugar and yeast into the warm water and let it sit until it becomes bubbly. Make sure the water is not too hot. Meanwhile place the bread flour and salt into a stand mixer or a bowl. Once the yeast is bubbly slowly pour it into the flour along with the oil. Stir the mixture with the paddle attachment on your mixer or a fork until smooth and not too sticky. Remove from the bowl and knead for 5 minutes. Place the ball into a lightly oiled bowl cover with plastic wrap and a towel (make sure it's air tight). Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the dough form the bowl and punch the air out and form into an oval. Lightly brush the round with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, lightly pressing them into the dough. Cover and let rise for another 15 minutes. Place in the oven on the top rack and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and cook for 15 minutes longer. The loaf will sound hollow when tapped. 

Let the loaf rest for at least 12 hours before cutting for snadwich. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Chestnut & Ricotta Ravioli

Chestnuts are such a yummy seasonal treat. These nuts are very popular all over Italy but in the US you start seeing them every where right around Christmastime. I got lucky and found chestnut puree which saved a few steps in the cooking process. If you can't find puree boiled chestnuts instead. 
There is some really good flavor in this dish and enough to please anyone at your table. If you can find chestnuts this time of the year I highly suggest trying this recipe out, you will love it! 

For the Ravioli
1 1/2 cups 00 flour or white flour
1/2 cup semolina flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 cup water

Place the flour and salt into a mound on a smooth floured surface; create a well in the middle. Crack the egg into the well and lightly beat with a fork. Gradually pulling in the flour from the sides in a circular motion until you can't use the fork. At this point start kneading the dough with your hands and continue for 5-8 minutes. If the dough is sticky add in a little flour at a time until you have an elastic ball. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. 

For the filling
1 cup of pureed chestnuts
1/3 cup ricotta 
1/2 small onion, diced finely
1 small red apple, peeled and diced finely
4 tbs chopped parsley 
salt & pepper 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.          

Once the pasta has set for 30 minutes split the ball into two pieces and run it through a pasta press until you get to the 2nd or 3rd thinnest setting. Place the pasta sheets down on a floured surface. Place filling along one side of the pasta, use your finger to trace around the filling then fold over. 

Use your fingers to press our air from each dollop of filling. Once the air is out and you have use a pasta cutter to cut out the ravioli into squares. Place cut ravioli onto a floured pan or tray then dust with flour so they don't stick together.
Bring a large pot of water to a slow boil. While the water is boiling make the sauce by placing the following ingredients in a pan and heat until butter melts and the sage becomes fragrant.

For the Sauce
4 tbs butter
10 sage leaves 
pinch of salt

Place the pasta into the boiling water, it is ready when it floats. Remove the pasta with a strainer and place into the pan of butter and sage. Serve warm on a plate and garnish with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and a boiled chestnuts. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Carrot Curry with Veggies

This is a great twist to one of my favorite recipes. Carrot Curry Soup with Chickpeas. I have been playing around with my carrot curry recipe and have come up with some fun variations. Last time I made the soup I pureed it then pressed it through a sieve making it super thin and left out the chickpeas making a yummy thin soup. This time I decided to make a thicker curry dish loaded with fixins and it turned out to be amazing! 

Makes 6 servings

10 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 small onion

2 garlic cloves
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp chopped basil
3 tbs curry powder
1 tsp coriander

1 tsp cardamom
pinch of kosher salt
2 tbs red chili paste
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 can of coconut milk

1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 small yukon potatoes, cut into cubes
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted 
8 oz firm tofu, cut into cubes

2-4 cups of rice, cooked

Stove Top
Place the coconut oil in a large pot and heat on medium/low. Once the coconut oil is melted add in the garlic, onions and carrots, saute for 5 minutes. Next add in the basil, curry powder cardamom and coriander and cook for another minute.

Pour the vegetable broth in the pot and bring to medium/high heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until carrots are soft. Once the carrots are soft pour in the coconut milk and use an immersion blender* to puree the curry. Add in the potatoes and chickpeas, cook on medium high temp until potatoes are soft. While the potatoes are cooking make the rice. 

When the potatoes are starting to soften add in the peas and tofu. Cook on low for 3-5 minutes. Serve warm on rice. 

Place the coconut oil, vegetable broth, garlic, onions, carrot, basil, curry powder, cardamom, coriander and chili paste. Cook on low for 6 hours.
Use an immersion blender to puree the curry. Taste for flavor and add seasoning as you'd like. At his time add in the potatoes and chickpeas, cook on high for 1-2 hours.  

10-15 minutes before serving add in the peas and tofu. Serve warm on rice.