Category Archives: Greens

Spring Pea and Bacon Risotto

Risotto. A mere mention of the word strikes fear in many a cook. Seasoned or other wise, utter it and you may see someone break a sweat. All one has to do is watch an episode of the Food Networks “Chopped” to witness the sight first hand. For many, sometimes myself included, the risotto can be somewhat of a mystery. To properly prepare one requires a certain amount of finesse and the proper loving care in its preparation. When creating a risotto that achieves greatness, virtually no short cuts exist.

It doesn’t have to be hard to make a good risotto. A good quality Italian risotto rice is preferable. Arborio is the one most commonly available in American markets. The grains of this rice are short and stubby and absorb liquid without becoming gluey (unless they are overcooked). The rice is stirred constantly, with hot stock added a cup at a time, until it has reached a point of softness but with the grains retaining their shape. They should be creamy, with a slightly resistant core and should not stick together or to the bottom of the pan. The whole procedure usually takes about 20 minutes.

Like with anything else in life one wishes to master, a good risotto takes patience and time to perfect. Practice makes perfect and there are no shortages of the possible variations on this classic dish which you can experiment with. This Spring Pea and Bacon variation is a good example.


6 ounces hickory smoked bacon

2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small sweet onion, minced

2 cups Arborio rice

½ cup dry white wine

7 cups simmering organic vegetable stock

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh pea tendrils


In a skillet cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. About 6 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels; reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat.

In a food processor, puree half of the peas with 1 cup of water. In a large saucepan, heat the oil. Add onion and cook over medium heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until the rice is evenly coated with oil. Add the white wine and simmer until almost evaporated. About 3minutes.

Add enough hot stock to just cover the rice and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the stock has been absorbed. Add more stock to cover the rice. Continue cooking and

A recent post by Secret Supper guest Michael Glass.

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Filed under Bacon, Greens, Peas, Rice, Risotto, Vegetables

Arugula and Grilled Peach Salad with Mozzarella and Balsamic Dressing

Late Spring is the perfect time for salads

Late Spring is the perfect time for salads! With a variety of lettuces starting to pop up in the gardens and farmers markets beginning to show their first fruits, a wide variety of options spring to life when it comes to putting together a creative little number. One is not limited to merely mixing and matching greens when approaching the subject. Be BOLD! Explore and experiment! Do something WILD! Cooking was meant to be fun, and the best way to achieve that is by stepping outside of the box to try something new.

When the opportunity arrived to prepare for our little Secret Supper, I wanted to showcase fresh items which where readily available, all the while, attempting to push flavors in new directions. Generally, one would not think about throwing fruit on the grill. The end result is full of surprises, with the grill bringing out flavors usually not experienced in the fruit. On this occasion, I paired the sweetness of peach with the bite of arugula. A touch of smokiness from the grill adds a little something unexpected.

You can cook, or you can create food that is art! With a little experimentation, you too will find bold new flavor combinations. Here is the basic salad recipe. I suggest throwing it out the window and creating something with your own unique signature!

Arugula and Grilled Peach Salad with Mozzarella and Balsamic Dressing


¾ cup balsamic vinegar

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 firm, ripe peaches- halved and pitted

4 ½ tsp extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups fresh baby arugula

1 ball mozzarella, cut into ¾ inch chunks


Prepare a medium gas of charcoal grill fire.

Combine the vinegar and thyme in a 2-quart sauce-pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture is thick, syrupy, and reduced to about ¼ cup, around 6-9 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the thyme sprigs and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Rub the peaches all over with 2 tsp. of the oil and season lightly  with a few pinches of fresh thyme, a pinch of salt and few grinds of pepper. Grill cut side down until lightly charred, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice each half into thirds.

In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 2 ½ tsp. oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter. Top with mozzarella and peaches, then drizzle with about 2 Tbs. of the reduced Balsamic dressing, adding more to taste. Season to taste.


Filed under Balsamic Vinegar, Greens, Salad

Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Oakleaf Lettuce and Citrus Honey Dressing


Life around our house can get crazy. Sure, we are a work at home family but with 3 teen age kids, two dogs and oodles of side projects or activities, we can all be fairly overloaded with “stuff” to do. Nothing destresses me from all the hustle and bustle more than spending time in the kitchen. I have never looked at cooking as a  chore,  but more as a pleasurable means to an end. Hacking away at veggies and other food as you cook can be quite therapeutic indeed!


Nevertheless, there are days when our schedule is so overloaded the idea of a decent meal is left to the mercy of dinning out or throwing together something quick with what ever is on hand. Not ever meal can be an iron chef affair with multi-course offerings and lengthy prep times. A quick salmon recipe with a nice, healthy salad is often times our go-to meal when we are left with little spare time or energy.  Nothing beats quick, easy and healthy.

Here is a quick and easy twist on a tasty Salmon dish-


serves 4

prep time: 15 minutes


Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Oakleaf Lettuce and Citrus Honey Dressing

4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tblspoons Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tblspoon Organic Honey

1 Tblspoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


Stir together balsamic, vinegar, honey, and sesame oil.

Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Increase heat to high and sear salmon, skin sides up, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Turn fish over and sear until just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.

Transfer salmon to plates and carefully add vinegar mixture to skillet (liquid will bubble vigorously and steam). Simmer, stirring, until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes.

Spoon glaze over salmon.

Citrus Honey Dressing


¼ cup Orange Marmalade

2 Tablspoons Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tablspoon Honey

1 Tablspoon Fresh Orange Juice

1 teaspoon Sesame Oil

½ teaspoon Maple Syrup

1 orange

Salt to taste


Combine marmalade, vinegar, honey, orange juice, sesame oil and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Can be made in advanced and refrigerated. Rewhisk before serving. Serve salad with fresh orange sections.

Wine Suggestion:

2009 Chateau Ste. Michelle Reisling

Riesling is a chameleon of a grape, able to produce world class wines that range from bone dry to unctuously sweet. Germany is most closely associated with Riesling, where all styles are made and the range of flavors runs the gamut from steely and crisp with crunchy mineral-driven flavors to fresh lime, apple and peach flavored expressions – even rich honied, candied fruit tones in the great dessert wines.


Filed under condiments, dressings, Fish, garnish, Greens, Salad, Salmon, Uncategorized

Spicy Farfalle with Fresh Sausage, Chard and Pamigiano-Reggiano

Work week meals can seem like such a chore. We are often left with zero energy for meal time at the end of a busy day at the office, even when our office is at home. This is a great meal that is quick and easy to prep but still tastes like a million bucks and you an evening in was spent in the kitchen slaving over it!

15 minutes-start to finish! With plenty of time to relax over a nice glass of wine! Try this great selection with it!

Sixfootsix Shiraz Geelong Australia

Now that we have your priorities heading in the right direction for relaxation, here is the recipe!


3/4 pound Swiss chard (preferably red; from 1 bunch)
1 pound fresh ground sage sausage
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
3/4 pound penne
1 pound finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup) plus additional for serving

Cut out center ribs and stems from chard, then thoroughly wash, along with leaves, in several changes of cold water. Cut ribs and stems crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and coarsely chop leaves.

Brown fresh ground sausage over medium-high heat. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Cook chard ribs and stems with salt in fat remaining in pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add chard leaves, water, and red-pepper flakes and simmer, partially covered, until chard stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove lid and stir in sausage.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water and drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta to chard mixture with cheese and salt to taste and toss until combined well. Thin with some of reserved pasta water if necessary.

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Filed under Greens, Pasta, Pork, Quick and Easy, Sausage, Vegetables