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

St. Patty’s Day!

Corned beef and cabbage with potatoes, carrots and turnips on a platter from Mar 17, 2013.

How was it for you? I hope you all enjoyed the celebration and showed your Irish LOVE!

When I was growing up, my very best friend, Beth, was 100% Irish. And here I was, 100% Polish. While everyone was wearing some green with their school uniforms, my mother wouldn’t let me. No siree. I was not Irish. I should be proud to be Polish and wear red on St. Patty’s Day!

Yeah, she made me wear red.

But, for dinner, she gave in and always made corned beef and cabbage. So I kept up the tradition and made it for lunch yesterday while we were still with Zach and Agata in the country.

So now Agata (who is from Poland), looks at my platter and says, “It looks like Polish food.”

No wonder my mother made it!

Corned beef and cabbage on a plate with a hroshradish cream sauce from Mar 17, 2013.

I made this nifty horseradish cream sauce (mayo and sour cream) with a little lemon zest that was really nice and cut the salt from the beef.

Herbes de Provence and fresh ginger

Turkey burger and vegetables aerial view on white plate.

Okay, so we got a little respite from Steve’s diet with the beet and tangerine salad in my last posting. I obviously made that before he went on this diet. Hope you will try it as I know you’ll love it!

His diet of no garlic, onions, tomatoes or citrus is really hard for me. He can’t even have chocolate for dessert! So upcoming entertaining will be challenging.

I must admit, however, that each night, my kitchen floor is much cleaner. Why? There’s no little bits of onion or garlic skin dancing around. But really, I’d gladly have them back and pull out the old dustbuster each night.

So basically he’s just supposed to eat seafood, chicken or turkey for the next 4 weeks. He’s cheated a bit with lamb and pork but he’s been good. And I’ve been trying to be a good do bee, helping him adhere. By the way, Do Bee, comes from Romper Room – I had no idea! Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtI1t_3wWLM&feature=channel

So my two new favorite go-to seasonings have been herbs de Provence and fresh ginger! I like to slowly melt the ginger, like you would garlic, before sautéing it with vegetables. This particular night, I again had vegetables begging to be used so I did a drawer clean-up and it was delicious!! I combined some oven-roasted ones with sautéed ginger and cabbage and it was truly amazing. Here’s to all my vegetarian readers!

The turnips will be sweet, the cabbage adds a little crunch, the fennel, interesting flavor and radicchio adds some bite. All interesting, satisfying and delicious. Not to mention, also good for you!

Here’s what I made.
Roasted and sauteed vegetables close up.

– serves 4

2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into 3/4” cubes
1/2 of a large fennel bulb, cut into 1/3” strips
1 very small radicchio or 1/2 of a large one, cut into 1/2” wide wedges
2-3 tbs. olive oil
One 2” piece of fresh ginger, peeled, sliced thin and cut into matchsticks
2 tbs. olive oil
1 head of Chinese or Napa cabbage, outer leaves removed, and sliced into 1/2” slices
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pile your turnips, fennel and radicchio in the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and toss well. Roast for about 25 minutes until the turnips are fork tender. Be sure to toss halfway through so they brown evenly. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, warm the 2 tbs. olive oil for the sautéed vegetables. Add ginger and cover to sauté slowly, over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the thick pieces from the bottom of the cabbage, cover again for 5 – 7 minutes until they are tender. Then remove the cover, raise the heat and add the rest of the cabbage, salt and pepper to taste, tossing quickly until crisp tender, about 1 – 2 minutes.

Turn into a large bowl, add the roasted vegetables, all their juices and half of the chopped parsley, and toss all to combine with two large spoons. Sprinkle the remaining parsley on top and serve.

Now in the bowl you will have a lot of liquid as cabbage has a lot of water in it so serve this with a slotted spoon.

I served this with:
Turkey burgers.

– serves 6 – or 4 with leftovers for lunch

2 lbs. ground turkey
1 raw egg plus 1 egg yolk (the egg yolk is optional, I had an extra one and wanted to use it up)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp. herbes de Provence
2 tbs. olive oil

Combine turkey, egg, panko, herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Mix well but lightly with your hands and form into 6 patties. Do not pack tightly.

Heat olive oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add patties, lower heat a little and sauté 4 – 5 minutes on each side until done.


Try it!

Over roasted green beans in a white bowl.

Delicious Oven Roasted Green Beans

Our wonderful farmer friends, Ethel and Tom, once told me that all the local restaurants that they sell their vegetables to, always oven roast them as their method to cook. Ethel said they all swear that oven roasting brings out the natural sweetness in the most marvelous way.

Now I’ve been a big fan of roasting eggplant, turnips, zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, all kinds of squash, Brussel sprouts, peppers, and of course potatoes but green beans?

So with my shrimp and pasta dinner the other night, being so tired and exhausted, and wanting to eat quickly, I decided to try it. They were delicious!!! Give it a go!

– serves 3 – 4

1 lb. green beans, washed, cleaned and dried
2 tbs. olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Make sure your beans are all dry – use a dish towel if you don’t have time to air dry them. Place in a pile in the center of a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on and salt and pepper. Toss well and spread out all across the pan in a single layer. Roast for 20 – 25 minutes until tender. Toss once in the middle of cooking. Enjoy!

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!)

– 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.