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Dairy-free

Seared scallops with roasted cauliflower and olive puree

This is a dish from the “Brooklyn Rustic” recipe book and is the perfect combination with scallops without overpowering them.

Serves 4

2 head cauliflower,cut into 1 inch florets
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
Fine sea salt
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup vegetable stock or water
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1 1/2 lbs jumbo scallops (about 12 to 16)
freshly ground black pepper
4 oz young pea shoots

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl.
Pour the cauliflower into a preheated pan inn an even layer and roast until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting.

In a blender, puree the olives, vegetable stock, lemon juice, and half the basil until smooth, about 2 minutes

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the scallops dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cooking in batches, if necessary, add the scallops to the skillet, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches between each scallop. Sear until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Scatter the pea shoots on a serving platter. Sprinkle the roasted cauliflower over the pea shoots, then lay the scallops on top.
Drizzle the olive puree over everything and finish with a sprinkle of lemon zest, the remaining basil and a drizzle of olive oil

Roasted cauliflower with olives, currants and tahini dressing

This is a really tasty and well balanced recipe with a lot of interesting flavors going on. It’s terrific for those on the Whole 30 program, as my husband and I are and is fairly simple to put together.

Serves 4

1 large cauliflower (about 3lbs), trimmed and cut into florets
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Tahini Dressing
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp water, plus more as needed

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt to taste. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes, turning once, until the edges are brown and caramelized.

While the cauliflower roasts, make the dressing. Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt until smooth and creamy. Add the water and whisk until combined. The sauce will be thick. Add more water to thin it slightly if you like. It will continue to thicken as it sits.

Keep aside some of the olives, currants and parsley (or add a little more) so you can decorate the top of the salad after tossing it in the dressing.
Toss the warm cauliflower with most of the dressing. Add most of the currants, olives, and parsley and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing or salt, if desired.
Decorate with remaining olives currants and parsley

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Crab bombs

A simple, hot and tasty appetizer to serve. Lovely with a dry champagne or crisp white wine.

1 lb. Crab meat
1 Egg, beaten
1 cup Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 tsp. Yellow Mustard
2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Place the crab meat in a mixing bowl, picking any stray shell fragments out. Add the crushed crackers, Old Bay Seasoning & parsley to the crab.

In a separate bowl, combine the egg, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Whip with a whisk until smooth.

Pour the egg mixture over the crab meat and crackers and gently mix, careful not to break up large lumps of crab meat.

Mold into golf ball-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drizzle w/ melted butter and allow to cool.

Crispy potato, olive and caper bake

This is such a lovely mixture of flavors and again, really not difficult to make.
Paired with some grilled meat or poultry, you have a pretty gorgeous meal

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2lbs Jersey Royal or Baby Yukon potatoes
A handful small capers
2 x handfuls pitted black olives (Please, not those awful canned ones!)
1 tbsp thyme leaves
A medium bunch rosemary, broken into sprigs
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Heat oven to 450 F
Boil the potatoes until the softer side of cooked, about 12 mins.
Drain, slice in half, then tip into a bowl. Tip the capers, olives and herbs on top of the potatoes then add most of the oil and a some seasoning.
Stir together, lightly crushing the potatoes.
Line a medium Swiss roll-type tin with baking parchment, leaving some hanging over the sides.
Tip the potatoes into the tin and flatten down. Mix the vinegar and remaining oil, drizzle over the potatoes, then bake for 40 mins until golden.

Enjoy!

A really great and easy BBQ sauce

This is a really simple and super BBQ sauce you can keep refrigerated for up to 1 week, so if you’re planning a BBQ party, this part of it, you can do well in advance. It’s easily doubled too.

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Makes about 2 1/2 cups

1/2 cup vegetable oil or any other oil ( don’t waste really good olive oil)
4 large cloves garlic, finely diced or minced
a good handful fresh rosemary leaves, stripped from the stalk, finely chopped (minced)
2 tbsp mustard powder
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp curry powder
4 tbsp sesame oil(toasted is nice too)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup store-bought BBQ sauce (yes, I really mean it!)
salt to taste

Place ALL the ingredients in a jar with a tightfitting lid and shake really well.
Use to brush on absolutely anything that you BBQ, mushrooms, chicken, meat, onions, fish…
Enjoy!

Roast salmon with spiced coconut crumbs

As you probably know by now, anything with coconut makes me stop in my tracks, so when I saw this on the BBC GoodFood website, I had to try it. It’s easy and very tasty, what more do I need to say!

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Serves 8
Made in 30 mins or less

2 oz butter, ghee or clarified butter
8 green cardamom pods, seeds removed and finely crushed
3 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 plump fresh red chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch ground turmeric
8 slim boneless skinless salmon fillets
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

UP TO A DAY AHEAD:.
Melt the butter in a medium pan, add the cardamon and coconut and stir non-stop for 2-3 minutes until the coconut starts to toast. Stir in the chili, ginger, garlic, ground coriander and turmeric. Cook for another minute then leave to cool.

Arrange the salmon in a single layer, spaced slightly apart, in 1 large or two smaller buttered ovenproof dishes. Season the salmon, scatter on the cilantro and spread the coconut mixture on top. Cover in cling film and chill (for up to one day) UNTIL ONE HOUR BEFORE COOKING.

TO SERVE:
Turn the oven to conventional 400F/200°C .
Roast the salmon for 13-15 minutes until cooked, but still moist. If this is for a buffet, bring to the table in the dish(es).

Cumin, avocado and corn salsa

This is delicious served with rice crackers or tortilla chips as an appetizer and also gorgeous on a dinner plate with a piece of sauteed salmon sitting on it. I like to roast my cumin, then grind it myself, as the oils are released and the smokiness of the roasting really adds something to the flavor. You can also add a can of drained and rinsed black beans to the salsa for extra protein.

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Makes about 3 cups and serves 6

3 ears corn, husks and silks removed. (I have been known to use the equivalent in drained, tinned corn, when pushed)
1 good sized Hass avocado
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno chili pepper
1/2 to 3/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the kernels off the corn cobs by using a sharp knife and transfer the kernels to a large bowl.
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the flesh and cut the avocado into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to the bowl with the corn.
Add the cherry tomatoes, red onion, lime juice, chives, cilantro, jalapeno and cumin to the bowl, and toss together gently so as not to mash the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Refrigerate the salsa for about 30 minutes and bring back to room temperature before serving.

Spicy Asian sesame guacamole

I love anything to do with avocados and this recipe, served with those lovely sesame rice crackers, is the perfect appetizer. Beware though, you will look like all your front teeth have fillings in them due to the black sesame seeds, so have toothpicks handy!

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Serves 4

3 good-sized ripe Hass avocados
1/3 cup chopped red onion (fairly finely chopped)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts. Reserve some for decoration
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp chili-garlic sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce or Coconut Aminos
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp black sesame seeds
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sesame rice crackers, or celery sticks for serving.

Cut each avocado in half lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin and place the flesh in a bowl.
Add the chopped red onion, scallions, lime juice, chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, 1 tsp of the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.
Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky.
Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp sesame seeds and some chopped scallions and serve immediately with the rice crackers

Asian-influenced chicken and coconut “paella”

This is Tyler Florence’s Asian version of a Spanish paella which is gorgeous. The chicken thighs are lightly crusted with crushed coriander seeds then sauteed and tucked into basmati rice that has been simmered in sweet coconut milk and ginger. Need I say any more?

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Serves 4 to 6

1/4 cup coriander seeds
8 chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely minced
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cups basmati rice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups coconut milk

Pea Salad
1 cup frozen peas, thawed in a colander under cool water
A small handful of fresh mint leaves
1 bunch watercress
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Mint leaves for garnish
Lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Coarsely crack the coriander by either pulsing in a spice grinder, wrapping the seeds in a tea towel and crushing them with a rolling pin or grinding them in a pepper grinder on a coarse setting.
Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper and sprinkle all over with the cracked coriander.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep ovenproof skillet. Lay the chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down and give them a good sear for 4 to 5 mins to develop a nice crust.
Turn and cook for 4 to 5 mins on the other side to brown the meat. Take the chicken out of the pan.

Put another 2 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, ginger and bay leaf, and cook, stirring for 4 to 5 mins, until the onion is soft but not colored.
Now you’ve got all this great flavor going on in the bottom of the pan; chicken drippings, onion, ginger and bay leaf. Add the rice and season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the grains are well coated with oil. Stir in the lemon zest. Now add the broth and coconut milk and bring that to a simmer.
Tuck in the chicken thighs, put the whole thing in the oven, and bake, uncovered, until the rice is tender and bound by a creamy sauce and the chicken is entirely cooked through,about 30 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf.

When the chicken is done, put the peas, mint and watercress into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and give it a good toss. Taste for seasoning. To serve take a big spoon and scoop out some chicken and rice and garnish each plate with the pea salad

Bruce’s beautiful broccoli dish

You may not have known but I am married to not only a wonderful composer, but a wonderful cook. Because he’s such a brilliant orchestrator of his own music, that attention to detail works wonders with his food preparations too. He just knows how to combine flavors, textures, tweak, and make all his food look and taste stunning.
This recipe he makes up, so I have had to stand over him and catch the ingredients as he throws them into the bowl, then measure them and give them back to him to re-throw. It has taken several times to get it right and he continues to tweak the recipe but to me, there is no better dish using broccoli out there.

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Serves 2, but can easily be augmented

4 Cipollini onions
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 cup whole cashews or slivered blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic or granulated garlic to taste
Dried chili pepper flakes
1/3 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes (the smoked ones are preferable if you can find them)
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper

First, fill a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. This is for the broccoli and onions.
Peel and quarter the onions. Chop the garlic if using real garlic. Cut the broccoli into florets and cut the stems into 1/4 inch slices.

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Lightly toast the nuts, then put these into a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic or 4 to 5 shakes of granulated garlic, 4 big pinches of salt and 2 good pinches of dried chili pepper.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

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When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and onions and cook for 3 minutes only. (Please use a timer for this) Drain and add to the bowl with the nuts and sun dried tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, toss together and season very well. It can take a good whack of salt but taste as you season to check.

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Bruce’s beautiful broccoli dish

Serves 2, but can easily be augmented

4 Cipollini onions
1 large head of broccoli
1/2 cup whole cashews or slivered blanched almonds
3 cloves garlic or granulated garlic to taste
Dried chili pepper flakes
1/3 cup smoked sun-dried tomatoes (the smoked ones are preferable if you can find them)
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper

First, fill a large pot of salted water and bring to the boil. This is for the broccoli and onions.

Peel and quarter the onions. Chop the garlic if using real garlic. Cut the broccoli into florets and cut the stems into 1/4 inch slices.
Lightly toast the nuts, then put these into a large bowl. Add the chopped garlic or 4 to 5 shakes of granulated garlic, 4 big pinches of salt and 2 good pinches of dried chili pepper.
Julienne the sun dried tomatoes and add them to the bowl.

When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and onions and cook for 3 minutes only. (Please use a timer for this) Drain and add to the bowl with the nuts and sun dried tomatoes. Add 1/2 cup olive oil, toss together and season very well. It can take a good whack of salt but taste as you season to check.