Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Chefs all over the world rejoice when ramps are in season. The truth is that ramps are in season for a very short period of time and signify the beginning of Spring. Ramp season typically only lasts a month or so from early April until May which is part of the reason why they are such a delicacy.

So What is a Ramp?

A ramp is an entity of its own. Some call them wild leeks. Ramps have a thin stalk that looks a bit like a scallion with one or two flat leaves. The flavor is a cross between an onion and garlic. Ramps have a very distinctive flavor that is not found in any commercially harvested vegetable. Ramps are foraged which makes them rare and adds to their delicacy. They are the first green that emerges from the soil after a long winter. Ramps can also be a little costly due to their scarce supply.

How to Prepare Ramps:

Ramps can be used in wide variety of ways. Once the bulb at the end is cut off the entire ramp can be eaten. They are delicious sautéed in butter and eaten with fried eggs or as a side dish with steak or fish. You can also use them in quiche with a little bacon. I have decided to make a caramelized ramp Chimichurri sauce that works well with fish or can be used as a marinade for skirt steak. Grilled swordfish with avocado is perfect with Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri. Make sure you save a little on the side if you are using the Chimichurri as a marinade so you can serve it as a sauce. I love how vibrant and green this Chimichurri is. It just screams spring to me.

Cleaning Ramps:

Ramps come from the ground and the soil can get caught in them. Run the ramps for several minutes under cold water to remove soil. Then cut off bottom stem and pull back the outer skin and rinse again.

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Caramelized Ramp Chimichurri

Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Side Dish, Sauces and Dips
Keyword: Sauce, dips, marinade
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 267kcal

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ cup parsley leaves
  • 10 ramps washed and cut in thirds

Instructions

  • Cut the bottom off of each ramp and wash well in cool water. Cut into thirds.
  • saute ramps in 2 tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Let cool
  • add all ingredients except olive oil to a food processor and pulse a few times
  • while mixer in running slowly add olive oil and blend well
  • Use as a marinade or serve as a sauce with grilled fish or meat

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 53mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1307IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg

Short Rib Ragu Fettuccini

Short Rib Ragu Fettuccini

Topped with warm creamy burrata

Similar to a bolognese but instead of using ground meat we use bone-in short ribs that are roasted until the meat is so tender that it falls off the bone. This sauce starts on the stove and finishes roasting in the oven. Low and slow is the key here. The result is a rich savory meat sauce that goes perfectly with a flat long pasta like fettuccini or pappardelle. You need to use a flat noodle so the sauce has something to cling to. The sauce combines flavors of sweet and savory with a touch of spicy. I like to top the pasta with an individual sized ball of burrata weighing 2 ounces.

Tip on serving the best mozzarella:

Put the mozzarella in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up before you place it on the pasta. When I owned my restaurant I was told by our mozzarella company to always serve fresh mozzarella slightly warm. When fresh mozzarella is made it comes out of the water warm and is shaped into a ball. There is nothing like truly fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated. The flavor is so smooth and mild. When fresh mozzarella is cold it does not have the same flavor, it is masked by the cold temperature. When you serve any fresh mozzarella or burrata you should place it in a pot of warm water or in the microwave for 30 seconds to take the chill away. You will see how much creamier and tasty the mozzarella is.

Making Short Rib Ragu:

A good ragu should have layers of flavor that can only be accomplished with a slow cooking process. In this recipe I combine red wine, brown sugar, mustard, tomatoes and red chili flakes with other herbs, carrots, onions and beef broth. All the flavors marry together and create a wonderful spicy- sweet short rib ragu. The short ribs are seared in a touch of olive oil on the stove top before being added to the sauce and placed in the oven for two hours. The sauce is done when the short rib meat is falling off the bone and ready to be shredded. The sauce will not take more than 15 minutes to prepare before going into the oven and once in the oven there is nothing you have to do for the next two hours. Just let the sauce stew together and work its magic.

Short Rib Ragu Ready To Be Covered And Placed Into The Oven

What should I do if the Sauce is dry after roasting?

After two hours take the short rib ragu out of the oven. Remove the short ribs from the sauce and shred the meat from the bone. You should try to cut the fat off and discard it with the bones. Return the shredded meat to the sauce. If the sauce seems too dry add additional beef broth to the short rib ragu. One cup of beef broth should be sufficient. This is a ragu so it is a thicker meat sauce that should cling to the pasta.

This sauce can be made up to two days in advance and reheated when ready to serve. Add more beef broth if you need more liquid.

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Short Rib Ragu with Fettuccini and Warm Burrata

Slow roasted short ribs create a hearty sauce for pasta
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
resting time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course, pasta, lunch, dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta Sauce, pasta, meat
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 621kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lb bone in short ribs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • cup chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth plus extra cup if sauce gets too dry
  • 1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves no stems
  • 2 bay leaves dry
  • ¼ tsp red chili flakes more if you like spicy
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 5 leaves basil chiffonade
  • grated parmesan for serving
  • 8 oz burrata (4) 2oz balls

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 325
  • heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or deep oven proof pan
  • brown short ribs on all sides and then remove from pan and place on side
  • add onions and carrots to pan and saute until onions are translucent
  • add garlic and saute for 2 minutes until garlic is sizzling
  • pour in red wine and simmer for 5 minutes until wine is reduced by half
  • stir in tomato paste and brown sugar
  • add crushed tomatoes and beef broth and stir well
  • add mustard, thyme, chili flakes, salt, pepper and bay leaves
  • put short ribs back in pan, meaty side down, so they are submerged in the liquid
  • cover pan with lid or aluminum foil and place in oven for 2 hours
  • remove pan from oven
  • remove short ribs from sauce, remove meat from bones and trim fat
  • discard fat and bones
  • shred meat and place back into sauce
  • let sauce sit for 15 minutes so you can skim fat off the top
  • prepare pasta according to directions
  • gently warm sauce and add more beef broth if necessary
  • mix pasta into sauce
  • warm burrata for 30 seconds in microwave or warm water for 2 minutes and place on top of pasta
  • grate parmesan on pasta and sprinkle basil

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 1048mg | Potassium: 1454mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 6336IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 412mg | Iron: 7mg

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasting the garlic cloves creates a nutty mild garlic flavor that balances well with the tahini.

Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread that is made with cooked chickpeas. The chickpeas are boiled until very soft and their skin is beginning to come off. This makes it easy to mash them into a very smooth dip that blends perfectly with the silky tahini. Tahini is made from sesame seeds. I like to use the Soom Premium Tahini available here on Amazon. This tahini is all natural, delicious and made by a woman owned company.

Homemade hummus can be used in a variety of ways. You can serve it as an hors d’oeuvres with pita or flat bread and raw vegetables or as a side dish with charred broccoli and peppers. Simply toss the broccoli and peppers with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes in a 400 oven then serve over the hummus as a side dish or appetizer. The hummus will stay fresh for 5 days in your refrigerator and is a healthy snack to have around. If you feel a little hungry try dipping some pretzel crisps into the hummus as a mid afternoon snack

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Roasted Garlic Hummus

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack, Sauces and Dips
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: Sauce, vegetarian, Side Dishes, dips, snacks
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 42kcal

Equipment

  • food processor or immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 clove garlic
  • ¾ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed
  • 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • tsp Extra virgin olive oil plus extra to drizzle on top if desired
  • sumac to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 400
  • peel garlic and toss with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Wrap in foil and roast in oven for 30-45 minutes until light brown and soft
  • drain and rinse chickpeas and add them to a sauce pan with baking soda.
  • fill pan with water until chickpeas are just covered
  • bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until chickpeas are soft
  • drain in mesh strainer and rinse with cold water
  • mash roasted garlic with the back of a fork and add to food processor
  • add lemon juice, tahini, salt, pepper and ice water and blend until smooth
  • add chickpeas and cumin and remaining teaspoon of olive oil
  • blend until very smooth scraping sides as necessary.
  • If too thick then add another tablespoon of water
  • place in a bowl and drizzle with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of sumac

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 42kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 287mg | Potassium: 38mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 7IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

Homemade English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins

Fun to make and way better than packaged.

I have been wanting to make English Muffins for awhile. My family loves to eat English Muffins for breakfast and lunch. English Muffins are great to use for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich or a tuna melt or simply toasted with some jam.

I saw this recipe on King Arthur Flour website. I love King Arthur Flour and always keep a supply of their all purpose, bread flour and “00” flour on hand. This English Muffin recipe calls for bread flour. The main difference between all purpose flour and bread flour is that bread flour has a higher protein content which produces lots of gluten which is essential in creating more stability and rise in the dough. All purpose flour is better for cakes and cookies.

This English Muffin recipe comes together very quickly but does require a double rise. The first rise is about 1.5 hours and the second proofing is a quick 15 minutes after the muffins have been shaped. Since this is a softer dough it is a good idea to shape the English Muffins and place them on the griddle or heavy bottom frying pan that you will be baking them on. The pan or griddle should be heavily sprinkled with semolina flour before you place the English Muffins on the pan. After the English Muffins have been placed on the pan you will need to sprinkle more semolina flour on top, cover with parchment paper and let proof for 15 minute . The semolina flour will prevent the bottom of the English muffins from burning before the inside is cooked. After the second rise you should place the griddle or frying pan on medium low heat.

The first side of the English Muffin will take 15-25 minutes, the second side will take roughly 15 minutes to bake. I like to turn the muffins periodically so that they brown evenly on the bottom. The English Muffins are done when the internal temperature reaches 185-200. After the English Muffins are ready let them cool completely and then brush off most of the semolina flour from both sides. After the English Muffins have cooled completely you can use a fork to cut them in half. Do not use a knife or else you won’t have the nooks and crannies.

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English Muffins

Homemade English Muffins are easy and fun to make
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Proofing1 hr 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack, lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bread, muffins
Servings: 16 Muffins
Calories: 160kcal

Equipment

  • Cast iron Griddle or heavy bottom frying pan
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients

  • cups bread flour
  • tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • cups lukewarm milk
  • 3 tbsp butter softened
  • 1 egg beaten lightly
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • semolina flour to sprinkle on pan

Instructions

  • Mix flour, salt and yeast together
  • In a stand mixer fitter with dough hook add butter, sugar and mix
  • add egg and milk and continue to mix for 1 minute
  • add flour mixture and mix for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and puuls away from sides
  • shape into a ball, place in bowl, cover with a dish towel and let rise for 1.5 hours until double in size
  • remove from bowl and gently press down in center of dough to deflate
  • divide the dough into 16 pieces, gently roll into a ball and flatten into a 3½ inch disk shape
  • Place each disk on a cast iron griddle or heavy bottom frying pan heavily sprinkled with semolina flour
  • sprinkle more semolina flour on top of muffins and cover with a piece of parchment paper
  • let english muffins rise for 15 minutes
  • place griddle or frying pan on medium low heat
  • cook English muffin for 15 – 25 minutes until bottom is a light golden brown
  • flip muffins over and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown on bottom and internal temperature is between 185 and 200. Adjust heat lower if muffin bottom is beginning to burn.
  • Let English Muffins cool completely.
  • Scrape most of the semolina flour off of the muffins when they are cool
  • Always use a fork to cut muffins in half. DO NOT USE A KNIFE.

Notes

Semolina flour prevents the bottoms of the muffins from burning. I like to brush most of it off before once the English Muffins are cool.
Muffins can be frozen in airtight plastic bags.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 238mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 63IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1mg

Colcannon

Colcannon

Colcannon is a hearty Irish dish that combines kale (or cabbage) with mashed potatoes. There are four main ingredients in Colcannon; potatoes, kale, milk and butter. The dish should be served with extra pats of butter on top so that they melt over the Colcannon while it is being served. Ok, so this is not one of my healthier dishes but even my keto loving husband had to stick a fork in the Colcannon after I made it. The white potatoes mixed with the green kale and melted butter on top is quite irresistible. It is absolutely delicious to grab a forkful of the potatoes and kale and dip it in the melted butter. If you serve colcannon in individual portions it makes it even easier to achieve this experience. Try serving the Colcannon in individual ramekins with a pat of butter on top.

What should I serve with the Colcannon?

Typically Colcannon is served with ham, sausages or corned beef. It would also make a nice side dish with stew. If you’re looking to keep the main dish a little lighter then broiled salmon with a lemon sauce would work well.

Tips for making great mashed potatoes:

You must dry the potatoes after you boil them and before you mash them. When the potatoes are tender drain the water and put the potatoes back into the pot over a low flame to remove excess water. Stir the potatoes over the heat for a few minutes to dry them out. This step will insure that you you have fluffy, light mashed potatoes. If your mashed potatoes are dense and gummy it’s because there was too much water left in the potatoes.

Return the potatoes to the pot after draining the water. Stir over low heat to remove excess water before mashing potatoes.

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Colcannon

Hearty Irish Potato and Kale dish
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Irish
Keyword: potato
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 401kcal

Ingredients

  • lb yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into cubes
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter portioned
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cups chopped kale hard stem removed, chopped and loosely packed
  • tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 scallion trimmed 1 inch from top and bottom and thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Put potatoes in a pot and add cold water to cover
  • bring to a boil and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes until potatoes are fork tender
  • strain potatoes and return them to the pot and place over low heat to remove excess water
  • after a few minutes remove potatoes and place on side
  • melt 3 tablespoons of butter in pot
  • add chopped kale and saute for a few minutes until soft
  • add milk and cream
  • add potatoes and mash with a potato masher
  • mix in salt and pepper
  • place colcannon in a bowl
  • make 2 depressions on the top and put a pat of butter in each one
  • scatter sliced scallions on top and serve

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 925mg | Potassium: 938mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3493IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 137mg | Iron: 2mg

Sheet Pan Sausage and Butternut Squash

Sheet Pan Sausage and Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet and Spicy Sausage and Fresh Sage

This keto friendly sausage and butternut squash dish is a cinch to prepare and is packed with flavor. This roasted butternut squash and sausage recipe is surprisingly low in calories. It’s so good, you won’t believe that it is diet friendly. The sausage flavor balances perfectly with the butternut squash and fresh sage. I also add a little spinach to the dish for a little extra color and vitamins. This sheet pan recipe is so easy to prepare and is filling enough to serve as a main course. The recipe calls for a three pound butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into one inch pieces, often you can find butternut squash already cut in the supermarket which will greatly reduce the prep time. Roasting the sausage and butternut squash in the oven results in butternut squash that is a little crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Butternut squash season is almost over so I recommend making this recipe before the end of March. I like to serve it with an arugula salad on the side and a crispy baguette for those not watching their carbs.

Some Other Variations:

You can serve the roasted butternut squash and sausage over pasta with a sage butter sauce. If you choose to serve it with pasta then do not roast the sage with the sausage and butternut squash. Sauté chopped shallots with a little olive oil, add sage leaves and butter to pan. Toss with pasta of your choice and then mix in the roasted butternut squash and sausage.

Another option is to serve the roasted butternut squash and sausage as a side dish. Doubling the amount of spinach in the dish will create an interesting leafy green side dish that pairs well with roasted or grilled chicken. Try serving it on top of thinly pounded chicken paillard.

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Roasted Butternut Squash with Sausage and Fresh Sage

Hot and sweet sausage blend perfectly with tender roasted butternut squash and fresh sage leaves.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian, American
Keyword: butternut squash, keto
Servings: 4
Calories: 221kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 3lb butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ lb sweet Italian sausage casing removed
  • ¼ lb spicy Italian sausage casing removed
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 fresh sage leaves chiffonade
  • 1 cup chopped spinach blanched and water squeezed out.
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400
  • Toss butternut squash with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and some ground black pepper
  • Place on a single layer on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
  • Roast in oven for 15 minutes
  • mix hot and sweet sausage together
  • Remove pan from oven, toss squash and scatter ½ inch sausage pieces and sage on pan
  • Continue to roast for 20 more minutes.
  • Remove from oven, add spinach and roast for another 5-10 minutes until done

Notes

You can use use frozen chopped spinach in this recipe. Defrost spinach and squeeze out water before adding to pan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1person | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 189mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 751IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg