Fried Brussels Sprouts with Curried Sriracha Aioli

In Aioli, Appetizer, Brussels Sprouts, Curry, Equipment and Tools, Recipe, Side Dish, Sriracha, Vegetarian
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Plated - Blog 3595


Fried brussels sprouts seem to be all the rage these days, available on many restaraunt's menus as an appetizer or side-dish.  I first encountered them over a year ago at a local place called the Rye Tavern, and from my first bite was smitten.

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Burnt Caramel Pudding

In Cookbooks, Cream, Dessert, Eggs, Pudding, Recipe, Vanilla
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Tight- Blog 3608


I can't believe I'm about to say this, but there is just too much good food in the world.

Every day I seem to add to my list of recipes to try - some pulled from magazines, others clipped from favorite websites.  There are some recipes that I've had in my "to cook" queue for years now and I am starting to wonder "will I ever get to them?"  

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Hearty Lamb Curry (Roghan Josh) and a Cookbook Giveaway

In Braise, Cardamom, Chefs, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cookbooks, Curry, Garlic, Ginger, Indian, Lamb, Main Course, Onion, Recipe
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Plated Josh - Blog 3598


My friends at Cooking Light Magazine, and the super talented food writer David Joachim, have just come out with a new cookbook entitled Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy.  In a word, the book is AWESOME!  In it, Joachim travels the world and offers up his interpretations of signature dishes from each of the six world "regions" he visits.

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Prosciutto Wrapped Fish with Roasted Root Vegetables

In Butter, Butternut Squash, Carrot, Cod, Cookbooks, Fish and Seafood, Garlic, Halibut, Lemon, Main Course, Parsnip, Potatoes, Recipe, Sweet Potato, Videos
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Overhead - Blog 3591


I first "met" Ina Garten while living in Paris, and while I've bumped into her a few other times over the years at various food events, it is the memory of that first encounter that really sticks with me.  I had popped into our neighborhood florist to pick up some fresh flowers to bring home, only to find the place swarming with Ina's advance team, setting up lighting and cameras, and getting the place looking "just so".

Apparently she was in-town to film an episode of her "Barefoot Contessa" show that was all about her favorite places to shop in Paris (hey, someone's got to do it), and this little jewel of a flower shop on Rue Oudinot was on her hit-list.  It took me a while to figure out what all the fuss was about because quite frankly, I hadn't a clue who Ina Garten was back then.  I heard the word contessa being murmured by some of the staff, so claimed a spot in the corner of the shop from which to catch a glimpse of whatever royal figure was approaching from down the street.

A few moments later cameras starting rolling and in walked Ina with the force of a hurricane, handlers in-tow and dressed in her trademark blue (jammies looking) pant suit.  To be honest, not knowing who she was, my first thought was that someone needed to tell this poor woman that it's not OK to be seen in public in THIS city in your pajamas......this was Paris after all.  When she started speaking and I realized that she wasn't French royalty but rather an American, I really started to get anxious.  "OMG, they are going to eat this poor woman alive....someone has to tell her to go back to her hotel and put on some real clothes!"


Angled - Blog 3594


My anxiety over her wardrobe choice was short-lived because within seconds of her arrival not just the staff of the shop, but many of the clientele were fawning all over her, posing for photos and asking for her autograph.  

I was gobsmacked.  

In a city where it was de rigueur to dress for a night on the town just to drag your trash to the curb on collection day, how could it be that these locals were falling all over themselves for a moment with this American diva traipsing around Paris in her PAJAMAS?  

Being a TV celebrity has its perks I guess, and trolling around Paris in your PJs looked to be one of them.

Garten has made a lovely career out of teaching people how to entertain with ease.  Her cookbooks like this one, Barefoot Contessa at Home  and her Food Network cooking shows, are all about flower arranging, table setting, and cooking to please a crowd.  Her recipes showcase fresh ingredients, fairly simple preparation, and are chosen for their ability to be prepped (and sometimes cooked) before guests arrive, and require a minimal amount of attention and fuss to finalize and get on the table.  I've cooked many of her dishes over the years all to rave reviews, but this one has to be one of my favorites.  Both the fish and vegetables can be prepped in advance of guests arriving, then popped in the oven to cook (largely unchecked) while you all mingle and enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail or three.  Check out the video below to watch Ina creating this dish and see for yourself how very simple it is to make.


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The prosciutto protects the cod (or halibut or bass) from the extreme heat of the oven, rendering it perfectly moist and flaky, and enhances it's ocean-brine saltiness.  In contrast, the roasted root vegetables caramelize beautifully and offer a nice sweet counter-point to the slightly salty surf and turf combo of the cod and prosciutto.  Any root vegetables will do here, use whatever you have laying about.  I had some sweet potato, white potato, carrots, and parsnips, and they made for a deliciously colorful bed on which to serve the fish.  A last minute drizzle of browned butter - rosemary - lemon sauce brings it all together with a certain je ne sais quoi.

Cook in your pajamas if you want....I'll never tell.

Cheers - Steve


Prosciutto Wrapped Fish with Roasted Root Vegetables

by: Ina Garten

(Print Friendly Version)



  • 2 cups peeled, seeded and 1/2" diced butternut squash
  • 2 cups peeled,  and 1/2" diced yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups peeled,  and 1/2" diced parsnips
  • 2 cups peeled,  and 1/2" diced carrots
  • good olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 6 (8 ounce) skinless fish fillets (sea bass, cod, halibut)
  • 6-12 slices prosciutto
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • lemon wedges for serving



  1. Heat the oven to 400 ℉.
  2. To prepare the vegetables, place all the diced veggies in a large mixing bowl, drizzle with 1/3 cup of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat, then pour onto a large, rimmed sheet pan and spread into an even layer.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring once about halfway through cooking. After 30 minutes, toss with the garlic and roast another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and starting to brown.
  3. Meanwhile, line another sheet pan with foil and place a baking rack on top of the foil.  Brush the fish fillets with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Wrap each piece with 1-2 slices of prosciutto (depending on how large the fillets are, and how wide the slices of prosciutto want the fish well wrapped in the ham).  Arrange the fillets on the rack with the seam side down and roast for 10-15 minutes, until just cooked through.
  4. While the vegetables and fish are roasting, melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized saute pan.  Add the rosemary sprigs (finely mince one of them if you wish) and cook over low heat until the butter begins to brown, about 5 minutes.  Discard the rosemary sprigs, stir in the lemon juice and set aside.
  5. To serve, spoon the vegetables onto each of 6 plates, top with a piece of fish, and spoon lemon-rosemary butter over the top of each fillet.  Garnish with lemon wedges and serve.

Serves 6




Pork Pot Roast with Apricots, Cardamom and Ginger

In Braise, Cardamom, Carrot, Chefs, Cookbooks, Ginger, Leek, Main Course, Onion, Orange, Pork, Recipe
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  Pork on plate - Blog 3589

Here is yet another fantabulous dish from Molly Stevens' cookbook All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking , and is one I was happy to whip up this week as the thermometer ditched back into the single digits here in the Northeast.

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Lemon Chicken with Artichokes

In Artichoke, Basil, Chefs, Chicken, Cookbooks, Garlic, Lemon, Main Course, Recipe, Videos
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Chicken in bowl top shot - Blog 3585


I'm especially excited to share this recipe with you today because it comes from one of my Le Cordon Blue - Paris classmates, Aida Mollenkamp.  You may recognize her name as she's gone on to craft a pretty interesting career in the food biz, but back when I knew her she was fresh out of college and following her passion for food and entertaining by working toward her "Grande Diplome" at LCB.

While you can choose to study savory cuisine or pastry at LCB, the "Le Grande Diplome" program requires that you study both over the course of three trimesters, Basic - Intermediate - Superior.  Our days there started with a demonstration lecture and ended with hands-on "practical" sessions where we retired to the school's kitchens to cook the meal we had watched our chef cook that morning.  While each student had his/her own stove in the kitchen we all shared work space on long stainless prep tables.  As luck would have it, Aida and I set up as neighbors right from the start, and while most of our work in the kitchen was individual, much as you would in choosing a lab partner in science class, you discover pretty quickly the value of sharing space with someone who knows what they're doing and works smartly, efficiently, and cleanly.  Lucky for me, Aida was one of those people.

We pretty quickly developed a good working relationship, cheering each other on when things were going well, watching each other's backs and pitching in to help when they weren't.  We came to trust each other as critics before we presented our dishes to the chef at the end of each class, offering each other tastes of what we were preparing and asking for an honest opinion.  "what's missing"....."is there enough salt"....."how the hell are you plating this dish"?  At the end of our time together in Paris we parted good friends and I've enjoyed watching her build her impressive culinary career from a distance.


Artichokes - Blog 3587


These days I keep on top of what she's up to by checking out her website and catching her two shows that air on both the Cooking Channel and the Food Network, "Ask Aida" and "Food Crafters".  Given that she's a California girl and I'm an east coast guy we haven't had the opportunity to connect in many years, but I'm confident that one day our paths will cross again.  Until then, I "visit" her when I need a fix by watching some of her on-line videos, flipping through her great cookbook Aida Mollenkamp's Keys to the Kitchen , or cooking some of her terrific food.  Check out the video below to meet Aida for yourself, and to get the skinny on this healthy, simple and delicious chicken and artichoke dish.

Cheers - Steve



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Lemon Chicken with Artichoke Hearts

Slightly adapted from a recipe by: Aida Mollenkamp

(Print Friendly Version)



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless-skinless chicken, large dice
  • 1 1/2 cups quartered artichoke hearts, canned, jarred, or frozen and thawed 
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed thinly sliced basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest



  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Season chicken chunks with salt and pepper.  When the oil shimmers, chicken pieces (working in batches if you must so as not to overcrowd the pan) and brown well on all sides.  Remove the meat from the pan.  Add onion and garlic, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until golden, about 4 minutes.  Add chicken back to pan along with artichoke hearts and cook until the artichoke is slightly broken down, about 3 minutes.  
  2. Add wine, water and lemon juice, and scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.  Cook until the alcohol smell is cooked off and sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in the basil and lemon zest and serve.

Serves 4




Oatmeal Date Cookies

In Butter, Cardamom, Cookies - Bars, Dates, Dessert, Oats, Pecan, Recipe, Vanilla
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Cookies on plate - Blog 3580


I have always loved oatmeal raisin cookies, they are among my favorite treats.  I had making a batch in-mind when I picked up a monster container of Quaker Oats the other day, but before I could get them mixed up and in my oven I stumbled across this recipe for oatmeal date cookies.  Given that I had a container of Medjool dates in my pantry I decided to make these instead, and I'm so glad I did because they really are a very different cookie, and they are super tasty.

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Shepherds Pie

In Braise, Carrot, Celery, Garlic, Lamb, Leek, Main Course, Potatoes, Recipe, Soup & Stew, Videos
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  Shepherds in pan - Blog 3571


It had been months since I'd had lamb, so the other day at the market when I saw that they had boneless leg of lamb on sale I picked one up.  I didn't have a particular recipe in mind when I bought the meat, I just figured I'd coat it in some sort of fresh herb rub, tie it up and roast it to a delicious medium-rare.  That was the loose plan until, when flipping through TV channels the next evening, I came across the show "The Best Thing I Ever Made" on the Food Network and watched the episode in which Anne Burrell was cooking up this lovely meat "pie".

Not to be confused with it's close relative the Cottage Pie which is made with beef, this lamb based wonder is nothing at all like the bland, insipid versions you may recall having eaten as a youngster, served up by the well-meaning lunch ladies at your grade school (no offense to the army of hard-working lunch ladies out there, I'm just sayin').  Don't let your memories of those gelatinous, mystery meat filled "pies" of your school lunchroom days keep you from making this rich, hearty would be such a shame.


Shepherds in ramekin - Blog 3572


There's nothing fancy about this meal either in ingredients or technique required, but as Anne explains in the video below, time is required to build flavors here and if you try to rush it you will end up disappointed.  Most important is the browning of the meat at the very beginning, and for this reason she calls for cubed lamb shoulder (or leg), and not ground which is what many people use.  It is much harder to properly brown ground meat, and without the beautiful mahogany crust on the meat and the resulting "fond" in the bottom of the pan, the flavor of this dish just won't turn out as robust as it should.  The ultimate success of this dish is all about capturing as much of that caramelized goodness from the browning of the meat and veggies as you can before de-glazing with the wine and stock, so pour yourself a glass before you get started and take your time here.

Check out Anne's video below to get more of her great cooking tips, to score the full recipe, and to watch her actually craft this dish.  I just love her style, don't you?

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If you don't want to do the full monty you can always serve up the lamb stew and mashed potatoes separately, but it's oh-so-much more special (and hardly any more work) to dress up your stew with the spuds and pop the "pie" under the broiler for a few minutes.  If you like to practice advanced meal planning (and who doesn't?) might I suggest even making a double batch of the stew and freeze half of it.  Then, somewhere down the road you are only a fresh batch of mashed potatoes and a few minutes in the oven from a second shepherd's pie.  

I'm always looking out for you folks, yes?


Half eaten pie - Blog 3576


This time around I took inspiration from my talented friend Lynda over at Tastefood who is always impressing me by crafting meals and desserts served up in individual ramekins, pots and goblets, and I decided to make single-person servings of this meal by spooning the stew into ramekins and then piping the mashed potatoes on top.  They turned out pretty elegant for a dish of rather humble origins, don't you think?

Cheers - Steve



Wedge Salad

In Bacon, Buttermilk, Cheese, Onion, Recipe, Salads, Vinegar
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Salad macro - Blog 3529


Not sure why I'm on such a classic-steakhouse-fare kick lately, first with the creamed spinach and now with the wedge salad, but hey it's been a long winter and I'm just craving these substantial dishes.  I've got my eye on a Steak Diane recipe too, so stay tuned our tour through steakhouse land may not be over just yet.

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Stuffed and Fried Bar Olives

In Cheese, Chefs, Cookbooks, Eggs, Hors d'oeuvres, Olive, Recipe, Sausage, Snacks, Videos
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Cooked olives- Blog 3561


I'm always looking for creative and delicious nibbles to serve up at a cocktail party or as a pre-dinner nosh with drinks.  Like most folks I have a few go-to dips and spreads, and love crafting an interesting cheese and charcuterie board.  Sometimes though I like to step away from the expected and whip up something that most folks have never tried before.

Enter Kelsey Nixon's Stuffed and Fried Bar Olives.


Olive collage

For those of you unfamiliar with Nixon, she is a young culinary phenom who parlayed a self-produced video cooking show she created while still a college student into a star-making break as a contestant on the show "The Next Food Network Star".  These days she is the host of her own show on The Cooking Channel called "Kelsey's Essentials", and has just published her first cookbook entitled Kitchen Confidence.  I've just discovered her myself, and while I've only managed to catch a few episodes of her show I have to say that I'm a fan.  I love her un-pretentious approach to food and find her energy and enthusiasm contagious.  See for yourself in the video I've embedded below.  Have pen and paper ready so you can jot down the super simple recipe for these bad boys.


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This is the first recipe of hers that I've cooked, but given how rock-star awesome these fried olives are, you can bet it won't be the last.  Stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, spicy chorizo sausage, and smoky almonds, these olives pack a punch and are perfectly addictive!  I threw down about a dozen of these salty-crispy treats with an ice cold IPA and loved the pairing, but a nice dry white wine should do the trick nicely as well.  Stay tuned, I'm sure to discover more tasty treats from Kelsey to share with you down the road.

Cheers - Steve


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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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