Engaging stories of love, joy, comfort and friendship with proven scrumptious, healthy recipes, we celebrate LOVE as the secret ingredient for wonderful food!

Snow Peas with Ginger, Garlic, Shallots, Lemon and Mint  

snow peas, ginger, garlic, shallots Photo from Apr 12, 2014

For a vegetable dish bursting with flavors, and a perfect springtime meal accompaniment, try this Snow Peas with Ginger, Garlic, Shallots, Lemon and Mint recipe.  Our oldest son’s girlfriend made this for dinner a couple of weeks ago and it was delicious! They paired this with braised short ribs and some good French bread. It was a fresh, crisp antithesis to the tender, melty short ribs.
Snow peas with ginger, garlic, shallots, lemon and mint with short ribs Photo from Apr 12, 2014
Here’s what she did:

SNOW PEAS WITH GINGER, GARLIC, SHALLOTS, LEMON AND MINT

2 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 tbs. minced ginger
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb. of snow peas, strings removed
Pinch of sugar
Salt
Pepper
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
Grated zest of a whole lemon
3 tbs. chopped mint

Heat a large sauté pan on high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil, shallots and ginger to the hot pan and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the snow peas to the pan, the pinch of sugar, salt and pepper and toss and cook for another 1.5 – 2 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and zest and cook for 30 seconds more. Off heat, fold in the mint and serve.


 

We have had so much going on here at LOVE. As perhaps you’ve noticed, we’ve redesigned this site so that you can see more posts at a glance on the home page. This makes more recipes immediately accessible and hopefully will provide additional inspiration for you to cook clean, healthy, delicious food, with LOVE.

MARYs secret ingredients boxesOur MARY’s secret ingredients boxes were all mailed on the 25th of April, as scheduled! They should be in everyone’s hands, including those of you on the west coast, by tomorrow. There has been so much excitement surrounding them! Many of you have already posted your very enthusiastic comments and shared photos on Twitter and Pinterest. I will reveal everything here tomorrow and post recipes and serving suggestions for all of the ingredients in the coming two weeks. I’m very excited about that!

We’ve also had a rush of people coming back and ordering more boxes after receiving this spring box. So if you are interested, I urge you to place your order now for the other seasons as they are selling fast and we will only have 100 boxes each season.

So stayed tuned and visit often or sign up for an email notification (on the right rail here) when I post a new recipe, and remember to cook with LOVE. Your food will always taste better!

Split Cornish hens roasted on top of stuffing

Turkey chili, cornbread, fennel salad, and mushroom leftovers.This dinner was so good and literally used up a bunch of leftovers. So I really can’t give you a specific recipe, but I can tell you what I did.

First, on the subway ride to work last Wednesday, I read the Dining section from The Times. Wednesday is my all-time favorite day!

They had an article about how dressing or stuffing has lost its allure, except for around Thanksgiving. Well I took it to heart. And while I am nothing like my Mother, (who I dearly loved), I am my Mother’s daughter and cannot waste a thing. She grew up in the Great Depression and her father owned a grocery store. He was the butcher. They never wasted anything and she could scrape a bowl squeaky clean. And, she raised six kids, five of them boys and if any of you out there have boys, you understand the difference between feeding boys and feeding girls.

I can’t waste a thing either. David Waltuck, of Chanterelle fame, says that good cooks never do and I admit I am the same.

So last weekend, at our country house, my brother and sister-in-law came to visit. They insisted on bringing Saturday lunch which was a delicious turkey chili, cornbread and fennel salad. Everything was great and eaten, except for some of the cornbread. Then I had a baguette to make the bread and chocolate (for three nights, mind you) so I had about 1/3 of a baguette left too, plus five leftover grilled mushrooms, one grilled scallion and leftover French dry sausage. I added fresh chopped sage leaves, one raw egg, ½ cup of chicken broth, and one minced shallot sautéed olive oil. Salt and pepper were added, mixing well and turned into an ovenproof casserole. I split two Cornish hens in half, shoved a small sprig of fresh rosemary under the skin on each, plus salt and pepper. I then made a sauce of 3 TBS grainy mustard and 1/3 cup of leftover dry white wine to brush on top of the birds. I threw the whole thing in the oven, at 375 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Tested it with a thermometer – you should reach 155 – 160 degrees on the thickest parts of the hens. Then broil the dish for 1-2 minutes to brown the birds. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cornish hens with fresh rosemary, sage leaves, chicken broth, and minced shallot sautéed olive oil

Ready to go into the oven

This was so delicious and did not take long – a little bit over an hour from start to finish. I served it with the carrot and parsnip puree and truly, this could be a company dinner. Different and really delicious. The dressing was moist under the chicken and crispy in the exposed areas.

And I got to use up all of those leftovers!Cornish hens with fresh rosemary, sage leaves, chicken broth, minced shallot sautéed olive oil, carrot and parsnip puree.

Cornish hens with fresh rosemary, sage leaves, chicken broth, minced shallot sautéed olive oil, carrot and parsnip puree leftovers.

It was very yummy!

Creamy, dreamy…

…parsnips!! Yes, parsnips! Who would have thunk it? This dish, in the newest October Food and Wine magazine, appealed to me. I had parsnips and I had chicken thighs. I always have white wine that can be used up. If not that, use dry vermouth and feel very French. And the rest of the recipe I just improvised and changed.

Yesterday, my day was challenging. Our refrigerator and freezer went kaput in the middle of the night and I had to work from home while waiting for the repair men to come. Meanwhile I had the bright idea to call the super and ask if there were any empty apartments that had a refrigerator and could I please store all my food there? Yes, there was one on the third floor. Bingo! So here I am, hauling bags of food down there and then I’m trying to work at our kitchen counter and our darn refrigerator keeps on beeping to tell me that the temperature is below where it should be. Duhhh!!! Do you know how annoying that is?

Meanwhile, I’m dealing with two very inexperienced clients and I am frustrated. After the repair guys finally fix the refrigerator, I had to go to the Bronx for a meeting with the new board president at the school I volunteer at and I am not in a pretty mood. I tell them what I really think about their name at this meeting and leave. I am nice about it but firm.

I get back home and decide I need to sweat all this meanness out so I go to the gym and ride a bike for over 5 miles and come back up to cook this dinner which was so delicious and creamy dreamy that I am now a nice person again.

You see how food has the ability to comfort and soothe, curing all that ails you? When you cook with love, you only magnify that tenet.

Parsnips are in season now. Buy only fresh young ones — no big fat woody ones allowed! This really is a must-make dish. We served a Vouvray and some steamed Jasmine rice with this and all was well and back to normal in our household!
Chicken thighs with parsnips, sage, and rice on a white plate.

CHENIN BLANC BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH PARSNIPS AND SAGE
- serves 4

2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 tbs.extra-virgin olive oil
8 medium chicken thighs, with bones and skin
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 large shallots, peeled and quartered
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 3″ lengths and then quartered or halved
1 large sage sprig with numerous leaves
1 cup Chenin Blanc or other dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, preferably homemade
Chopped fresh sage leaves and chives for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large, deep ovenproof skillet, melt the butter in the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with the flour, tapping off the excess. Add the chicken to the skillet skin side down and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned, 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the shallots, parsnips and sage sprig to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Nestle the chicken skin side up in the skillet, tucking it between the parsnips. Transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the oven and braise the chicken uncovered for about 25 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn the broiler on. Broil the chicken for 3 minutes, until the skin is crisp. Return the skillet to high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, 3 minutes. Discard the sage sprig, if you like. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to bowls, garnish with chopped sage leaves and chives and serve with steamed Jasmine rice.

chicken-with-parsnips-on-a-platter

A wonderful combination and tangerines are in season!

I first made this salad for my visiting brother, David, and his wife, Pat. What I didn’t realize until much later, was that this became one of Patti’s all time favorite dishes. She went home and made it and made it and made it so many times that finally David said, “Again? Patti it’s really good but enough already!”

We all love beets in our family – after all we’re Polish and the Poles practically only have root vegetables, as my son tells me after living there for two different six month stints. Beets are served at almost every meal, along with horseradish. Soon, I’ll post our all-time family favorite recipe of beets and horseradish, as we get closer to Easter, as it is an imperative Easter breakfast dish in our household.

But I digress. My brother, Mark would say, “Midge (my nickname), is this plane ever going to land?” So yes it is! This is a fantastic, surprising, most refreshing and light combination! Beets are always good with goat cheese and toasted walnuts, but this is a real treat to your palate.

Now you may think it’s a lot of work and time consuming. It does take time but you can divide it up. Roast your beets the night before while you’re making your dinner, peel them and store in the fridge. Also you can toast your pine nuts the night before too. Toast more pine nuts than you need and store in an airtight plastic container so you have them on hand to throw in a pasta dish, on other salads or on some haricot verts, Remember, the more you cook, the easier it is, because you’ll start to have things on hand – salad dressings, croutons, toasted nuts. All good things!

Beets and tangerines on arugula.

An iPhone photo of a photo on a BlackBerry!


BEETS AND TANGERINES ON A BED OF ARUGULA

-serves 4

4 golden beets
1.5 tbs. pine nuts
3 tbs. olive oil
3-4 oz. of washed, dried and chilled arugula
4 tangerines
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
1.5 tbs. raspberry vinegar
Salt
Pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the washed, scrubbed and dried beets in large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with 1 tbs. olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Draw up the aluminum foil to make a packet. Place the packet in a baking dish (they might leak) and roast for 60 – 70 minutes, until they are tender and easily pierced with a skewer. When they are cool enough to handle, peel the beets and cut into sixths or eighths, or store whole in the refrigerator.

In a small non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly until they are golden brown. Place in a small dish to cool.

Using a sharp knife, cut each end off of the tangerine so you have a flat bottom and top, then slice around the curve and cut off the remaining peel. Once the tangerine is peeled, over a medium bowl, slice in between the membranes to release the tangerine sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into a small bowl; you should have 1/4 cup.

In another small bowl, toss the sliced shallots and raspberry vinegar with a pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the 1/4 cup of tangerine juice and whisk in the remaining 2 tbs. of olive oil. Season the dressing with salt.

Place a handful of arugula on each plate. Arrange the beets and tangerine sections on plates and drizzle with the dressing. Top with the toasted pine nuts and serve.

If you have refrigerated the roasted beets overnight, bring to room temperature before using. Also, the tangerines are better at room temperature as well.

Friday night super food!

Sauteed shrimp on a white plate.

Sauteed shrimp on top of kale, turnips and red pepper

I put together this dish last night. I needed to use up an unusual combination of vegetables – turnips and kale, and I had a red pepper and one plum tomato begging to be used as it’s the end of the week. (You’re probably saying, “Yuck!”) I shop once a week for all fruits and vegetables and fill in on fish and meat from my specialty shops – Esposito’s Pork Shop and Sea Breeze Fish Market near my office. I had bought some beautiful, large, fresh Florida shrimp.

So what to do? I just thought about what would taste good for each and cooked accordingly, and hoped for the best. I always warn my husband when I’m starting to do this sort of thing, winging it, to hopefully lower expectations.

I roasted the turnips together with the red pepper tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. This roasting made the turnips sweet little chunks. While that was roasting, I slowly sautéed the garlic first, then added the kale and chicken stock and cooked them until they were very tender. At the end, I sautéed the shrimp in softened shallots and dry vermouth. Dry vermouth to me, is wonderous. Unlike just a plain dry white wine, it makes anything taste like fine French food. Really. Off heat to finish, I swirled in a bit of butter, to keep the French thing going. You can do this sort of thing with chicken too and it will taste amazing. Notice, no carbs, (I could do that because Zach was not eating with us), and we didn’t miss that starch. This turned out awesome!! My husband had 4 helpings of the kale and usually he is not a big kale fan. I think he doesn’t like it when it’s not cooked tender enough.

This makes enough to serve 4, although it was just the two of us last night. But then Zach and his girlfriend finished up everything when they came home at 3:30 am. The dirty dishes were in the sink this morning. (At least they make it to the sink!)

SAUTEED SHRIMP WITH KALE, TURNIPS AND RED PEPPERS
- serves 4

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

2 good-sized turnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into ½” strips and then each strip cut into half lengthwise.
2 tbs. olive oil
salt & pepper

Toss all together and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until turnips are fork tender and a little browned. Keep warm in a microwave (not turned on) or a warming drawer

1.5 tbs. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped into 1” strips
1/3 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Some extra water or broth if you need it

Warm the olive oil and sauté the garlic for 10 – 15 minutes to soften. Do not let it brown. Add your kale and chicken broth, toss to combine and cover. Watch and toss often. Add more water or broth if you need to. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until kale is very tender. It will turn dark.

1.5 tbs. olive oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1.5 lbs. shrimp, shells removed, tails left on. Wash 3 times, dry, and salt and pepper one side of the shrimp
1 plum tomato, cut into ½” pieces
1 scant tbs. unsalted butter

Warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots on low heat for 10 minutes or longer. Do not let them brown. Turn heat up, add vermouth and let it bubble for a minute. Add the shrimp and tomato and toss and stir until the shrimp turn pink. This will take about 3 minutes. When shrimp are done, remove pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted.

Add the roasted turnips and red peppers with all their sauce to the kale mixture and combine. Place a mound of the kale and turnip mixture in the middle of the plate and mound a serving of shrimp in the center of the kale. Drizzle some shrimp juices on the shrimp and kale.

Enjoy!!