Appetizers, Classics, Fish & Seafood

Spanish Mussels with Chorizo and Tomato-Wine Sauce

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INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces chorizo sausage or turkey sausage, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

3 shallots, finely chopped

1/2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

3/4 cup white wine

A pinch of saffron

2 lb. fresh mussels, scrubbed

French bread, cut into slices, brushed with olive oil and grill

DIRECTIONS:

In a large sauté pan, cook the sausage with shallots and garlic till the shallots are pale golden.  Drain off most of the oil, reserving about 1 Tbsp.

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Add tomatoes, paprika, red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Cook till tomatoes soften.

Add mussels and wine and bring to boil. Lower heat, add a pinch of saffron and cover, cooking until the mussel shells have opened, about 6-8 minutes.

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With a ladle, serve mussels with sausage and sauce into a bowl. Discard any shells that have not opened.

Serve immediately with French bread for dipping.

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Enjoy!

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Dinner, Meat, Stew

Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

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-12F.  Yup ! That has been the weather for the last few days.  Bitter, arctic, bone chilling cold.  The only fix is a piping hot bowl of stew. Stews may sound daunting but they really are not.  Just a few ingredients, a crock pot and a cold weekend afternoon–that really is all you need to make this stew and trust me, it is good for you and it will give your sunday chicken roast a run for its feathers !  So here we go !

Ingredients:

1 lb ground pork

5 cups cubed butternut squash

2 yellow onions, chopped

2 tsp of minced garlic

1, 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 chicken stock cube or 1, 14 oz can of chicken stock

1 tbsp of dried sage and rosemary

1/2 tbsp of red pepper flakes

A dash of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

2, Fresh springs of thyme

1 bay leaf

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Method:

In a pan, saute pork with all the spices, herbs (except the thyme and bay leaf) and onions till pork is browned and onions are golden.

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In a crock pot, transfer the pork and onions.  Add the squash, tomatoes, chicken cube and two sprigs of fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf.

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Top the pot with water just to cover everything–you will have to adjust this if you are using chicken stock.

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Cook on high for 4.5 hrs, leaving the cover off for the last 1 hr to thicken the stew–make sure to taste the seasonings and stir the stew every now and again.

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Serve hot with rice, cornbread, or some crusty dinner rolls !

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Dinner, Poultry

Chicken Bake-Mexican style.

This is a quick an easy one pan dinner.  It could be a casserole had I used cheese but please feel free to modify the recipe to suit your taste.  This is a good recipe when all you have are canned and frozen vegetables–the baking with the spices, wakes them up.  This is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken thighs

16 oz bag of frozen, cut Zucchini

14 oz can of corn

14 oz can of tomato with basil and oregano

1 Tbsp of cumin, paprika, garlic powder, dried basil and oregano.

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread the corn and zucchini on a baking sheet.  They will be wet from the can and defrosting so to get them nice and dry I toast them up in the oven with a dash of pepper and salt–just till they are dry and slightly crunchy.

In the mean time, season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and pan sear them in olive oil till crisp and brown on the outside.  Don’t worry of cooking it through, it will finish in the oven.

Now to assemble the bake:  In a baking dish (big enough to fit the chicken thighs in a layer) spread the tomatoes in a single layer.  Place the chicken on top of the tomatoes and then top it with the toasted veggies.  Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and the dried herbs.  At this point you could top the bake with pepperjack, cheddar or any other mix of mexican style cheese.

Bake in the oven till the chicken is cooked through about 20-25 mins.  the great thing about this layering technique it that, the chicken stays moist and the vegetables stay crisp.

Enjoy !

Comfort food

Okra-for the homesick soul

This is a simple okra “curry” that was a staple growing up.  Okra was always available and this dish made a frequent appearance at both the lunch and dinner table.  So when I am homesick or craving my mom’s cooking I make this.  I hope you like this Indian style okra curry.

Ingredients:

16 oz frozen okra

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of black mustard seeds

1 medium onions thinly sliced

2 Tbsp of tomato paste (or 1 medium tomato chopped)

1/2 Tbsp of chilli powder, cumin and turmeric

Salt to taste

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.

Next add the onions and saute till pale golden and then add tomato paste and spices.

Saute for about 5 mins and then add the okra.

Saute for another 5mins and add about 1/4 cup of water and let the curry simmer for about 20 mins till the sauce thickens.

Serve warm with plain white rice, lentils or handmade flatbread.