Roasted butternut squash with wild rice, cranberries, shallots and garlic

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 20 MINS

COOK TIME | 45 MINS

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This recipe is a star as a side dish alongside our Thanksgiving turkey or alone as the main dish on Meatless Monday. It’s festive, beautiful and full of great flavor and nutrients.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 shallot, minced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed or 5 leaves, fresh chopped sage
* Kosher salt and ground pepper
* 1 box (6 ounces) wild-rice blend.
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
* chopped parsley for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.

3. While the squash bakes, heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sage and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and sauce for a minute more.
4. Add rice (toss the little spice packet that came with the rice) and add 1 3/4 cups broth and bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer, without lifting the lid, until tender, check after 20 minutes. If not tender yet, add additional broth if necessary, and simmer another 5 minutes or until rice is firm yet tender.
5. 
Turn the heat off, stir in the cranberries and chopped nuts and mix, add additional kosher salt and pepper to to taste.
6. Scoop even amounts of the rice mixture into each of the squash.
7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using, and serve.

NOTES

Chickpeas, Spinach and Orzo Soup

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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This vegetarian soup is the perfect pantry meal. A simple mirepoix mixed with other kitchen staples makes this soup perfect for a quick night dinner or weekend lunch. Substitute navy or Lima beans for the chickpeas and use any favorite green. Add precooked chicken if desired. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 medium carrots, peeled,
* 2 Ribs celery, trimmed and diced
* 1 small onion, diced
* 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
* 2 plump garlic cloves, minced
* Pinch red pepper flake or more to taste
* 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 4 cups baby spinach or other baby green such as Kale or chard
* 3/4 cups orzo, Gluten free or regular
* 1/4 cup Parmesan or pecorino plus more per serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add the olive oil to a medium to large pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Cook for 5–7 minutes or until tender.

2. Add the garlic, red pepper flake and rosemary, stir.

3. At the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and orzo. Reduced to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the orzo is tender about 10 minutes.

4. Add the baby greens to the soup in handfuls and simmer until wilted, about a minute or two.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

Double Duty: Make extra chimicchurri sauce to use later in the week. Spoon over steak or fish, Use it to marinate shrimp and then grill and serve over rice.

Lobster Bisque

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 40 MINS

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This is the quintessential lobster bisque soup you will find in most fine dining establishments but it’s not as fussy to make as it sounds. It’s super simple to make and you can easily sub seafood stock for lobster stock. When we have lobster for a holiday meal, I save the shells, the little legs and tails and freeze to make lobster stock. Don’t have lobster meat or shells on hand? Consider making the same recipe using shrimp and shrimp shells.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 Tbsp. butter
* 1 cup yellow onions, chopped
* 1 medium carrot, chopped
* 1 medium stalk celery, chopped
* 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
* 3 Tbsp. flour
* 2 cups seafood or lobster stock
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1/4 cup cognac, brandy or sherry
* 12-16 oz lobster meat, chopped
* 1 tsp. smoked paprika
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
* 1/4 tsp nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp. cayenne or more to taste
* 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
* salt and freshly-ground black pepper
* 1-2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste, and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are cooked and translucent.
2. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and mix well and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the seafood stock, white wine, cognac, lobster meat, paprika, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, and stir to combine.
4. Simmer for 25-30 minutes over medium-low heat, be sure to stir a several times to prevent the bottom from burning.
5. Remove the bay leaf and sprig of thyme.
6. Remove a couple of small pieces of lobster, chop and set aside for garnish, optional.
7. Pour in the heavy cream, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir.
8. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or pour, in batches, in to an high speed blender. Blend for 20-30 seconds and until smooth.
9. Pour into bowls and garnish with reserved, chopped lobster and parsley, optional.

NOTES

Grilled Clams with Poblano Pepper and Roasted Corn Relish

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 4-8 MINS

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This dish is as gorgeous to look at as delicious to eat and it makes an impressive and beautiful presentation. Farm raised clams are available year-round and you can find wild clams from October through June.
I have tried a few different versions of this recipe. I removed several steps and simplified the ingredients to make my version super simple.

INGREDIENTS

* 3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
* ½ cup onion, any type, chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped, seeds removed

* 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped, seeds removed 

* 1-14 ounce can premium sweet corn, drained
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar or more to taste

* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1-2 Tbsps olive oil
* 1 lime, 1/2 for juice and half cut into wedges for serving
3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the grill to high.

1. While the grill heats up, heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium high.

2. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until translucent about 6–7 minutes.

3. Add in the cider vinegar and mix well.

4. Add in the red and poblano peppers and sauté for another 10 minutes.

5. Add the corn and mix well.

6. Turn the stove off and add the honey. Squirt on the juice from half the lime and mix to incorporate. Set aside

7. The grill should be hot by now. Put the clams directly on the grill grates or a grill pan. Grill undisturbed for 4-8 minutes or until they open. Carefully place them onto a serving platter. Be careful not to spill the clam liquer. Discard any clams that do not open.

8. Spoon the corn and pepper relish all over the clouds. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper to taste and erve with lime wedges.

NOTES

You can use fresh corn but I substitute a 1-14oz can of good quality sweet corn for 2 cups fresh corn when I am running short on time which is almost always.

Oil Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

YIELDS | 4 cup SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10-15 MINS

COOK TIME | 2-21/2 HOURS

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I make a big batch of these oil roasted cherry tomatoes and freeze them. I use them throughout the winter months and spoon them along with the oil into pastas, on top of flatbread’s and pizzas and toss into stews for a burst of fresh tomato flavor.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 pints cherry tomatoes
* 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
* 6 fresh thyme sprigs
* 2 sprigs rosemary
* 6 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed, optional
* 6 Serrano peppers, optional
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 225F.

1. Place the tomatoes in a single layer in a baking dish and drizzle them with the oil.
2. Add thyme, garlic and salt. Bake until the tomatoes are swollen and the skins are wrinkled. About 2.5-3 hours.
3. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Freeze in 1 cup containers along with equal amounts of oil or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

NOTES

I typically make two batches; one with time and kosher salt iand 1 batch with garlic and Serrano pepper for a spicy version.

Cumin Charred Cabbage Wedges with Pistachios and Spiced Butter

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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INGREDIENTS

* 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
* 1/4 teaspoon allspice
* 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* 1 small-medium head green cabbage, core removed and cut into four wedges
* 1/3 cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
* 2 tablespoons butter

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400°

1. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small, dry pan over medium heat. Let cool. Set the pan aside to use again.
2. Grind the all the spices, except for the paprika, and salt with the mortar and pestle.
3. Mix the spice and salt mixture with the olive.
4. Drizzle the oil over the cabbage. Using your fingers, rub the spiced oil into the nooks and crannies of the cabbage.
5. Heat a pan large enough to hold the wedges over medium high heat, and sear the wedges for 3-4 minutes on each side until browned.
6. Pop the wedges onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
7. While the cabbage bakes, using the same pan used to toast the spices, melt the butter, add the pistachios and smoked paprika. Mix and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
8. Place the cabbage wedges onto a serving platter, drizzle the melted butter and pistachio mixture over the cabbage. Sprinkle with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES