Category Archives: sauces

A Segue- Veal Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

As the leaves begin to change and the air starts to get that certain crispness, we begin to long for foods which warm our bodies and our hearts. Ahhh, the joys of comfort foods, those starchy, carb-loaded treats which are so supremely satisfying. Although I have deeply enjoyed my seasonal flirtation with such succulent and tender trollops as fresh, homegrown heirloom tomatoes and ripe, voluptuous ears of sweet corn, their fickle, fleeting nature has left me with a longing for the hearty persistence of fall and winter root vegetables.

The earthy pungency of mushrooms and pop of parsnip and cauliflower, Thoughts of potatoes in all their glorious forms are awakening in my mind. I long for those foods, which when ingested, leave one with nothing more than a deep desire for pleasant slumber! As the cold begins to induce that bitter urge for hibernation, I bid a fair a due to that sweet lady, Summer- and welcome the more haughty offerings inherent in falls’ cupboard.

As segue into the new season, I offer this rich and satisfying little tidbit:

Veal Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce


  • 2 veal chops
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon
  • salt
  • pepper


Season the veal chops with salt and pepper, coating evenly on both sides. Preheat large skillet or grill then brown the chops until they reach a temperature of 160° F at the center.

Finely dice the shallot and garlic and Sauté the shallot in the oil for 5 minutes.  Add the garlic for another minute along with the capers and caraway seeds. Deglaze the pan with white wine and scrape off the brown bits in the pan. Finally, add in all of the remaining ingredients (except for the veal) and mix well. Warm this up for two minutes until the sauce is simmering and starts to thicken.


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Avocado Cheesecake- Believe It or Not?

Avocado Cheesecake is sure to surprise!

The Element of surprise, Robert Ripley, the creator of the Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!” francise made an entire career out of it. The stunning and shocking discoveries made by his francise as a television show, in books and museums baring his name worldwide have fooled and baffled for almost 100 years. Life is full of strange and unusually things and occurrences which happen every day.


When Leslie and I  recently decided to treat several of our friends to a dinner party gathering (a rather rare occasion in our world as it is, busy schedules and all) you can imagine the looks of puzzlement as we announced our dessert selection for the evening. The mere thought of it intrigued me when I came across a similar recipe, having  decided to try it out on the unsuspecting and usually very adventurous group of creatives we call our Compadres.


I have to admit, the thought of avocado cheesecake seemed a bit off even to a bon a fide fruitcake like me! I have been known to delve into the unknown myself quite frequently but this even seemed to defy my better judgment. Nevertheless, I love nothing more than seeing the blank expressions on the faces of folks when I attempt to step outside the boxes of conformity. There lives a rebel streak in me a mile long…


On this occasion, the avocado cheesecake pulled through in spades and proved to be quite a pleasant surprise. We coupled it with a Raspberry Coulis, an additional unusual Elderflower Anglaise cream sauce and handmade fresh mint ice cream. It was either fate or a small miracle all these chances paid off, but I had a group of friends who where all fighting to take the last few bites of our decadent dessert home.


If you’d like to taste all this madness for yourself, here are the recipes that bore them.

Avocado Cheesecake


¼ cup sugar

14 oz. cream cheese

2  ripe, Fresh California Avocados, peeled and seeded

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4  eggs

1 tsp. lemon zest

Graham Cracker Crust (see make-ahead recipe below)

Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

½ cup Ritz Crackers

⅓ cup butter

1 Tbsp. butter, to grease pan


Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer. With a paddle attachment, whip the cream cheese over medium-high speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes.

Add the avocado, sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition.

Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Mix in the lemon zest and pour filling onto Graham Cracker Crust and smooth top with an offset spatula.

Place on top of a baking sheet and bake at 300ºF for 45 minutes or until set. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate.

Graham Cracker Crust

  1. In a small bowl, crush Graham and Ritz crackers into crumbs. Combine crumbs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat and mix into crumb mixture with a spoon until well combined.
  3. With the remaining butter, grease the sides and bottom of a nine-inch spring form pan.
  4. Cut out a parchment paper circle to fill in the bottom of the pan.
  5. Pour the crumbs into the pan and press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan with your fingers.
  6. Bake at 300ºF for 5 minutes to set the crust and cool to room temperature.

Elderflower Cream Anglaise Sauce


1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon St. Germaine Elderflower liqueur

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup white sugar


  1. In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream, St. Germaine’s  and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.
  2. While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon

*St. Germain Elderflower liqueur is made with fresh wild elderflowers picked in the Alps. It’s used here as a mild flavoring.


Raspberry Coulis


1 pint fresh raspberries

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Combine all ingredients. Blend or process in a food processor. Strain and chill for several hours before serving.

And last but not least. Here is a link to the Fresh Mint Ice Cream I had made a week before the dinner party.

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Filed under Anglaise, Avocado, Cheesecake, Coulis, dessert, sauces

Sure Don’t Make Them Like They Used Too

American, land of the free and home of the brave. Once she was thought to be the land of milk and honey. Full of splendor and promise, she was the belle of the ball, exuding opulence and grandeur. During the late 1800’s, heavy industrialization proliferated throughout the eastern states of a still young America. Fortunes where made and the rich, luxuriated in their lavish lifestyles of wealth and abundance. This sprang forth the Gilded Age, an era of rapid economic and population growth in the United States during the post-Civil War and post-Reconstruction eras of the late 19th century. The term “Gilded Age” was coined by Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner in their book The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.

The Gold Boom’s of California in 1848 and Colorado in 1859 further expanded both the population and fortunes of our great nation. The Colorado gold rush, which followed approximately a decade after the California Gold Rush, was accompanied by a dramatic influx of emigrants into the region of the Rocky Mountains and exemplified by the phrase “Pikes Peak or Bust”, a reference to the mountain in the Front Range that guided many early prospectors to the region westward over the Great Plains. The prospectors provided the first major white population in the region, leading to the creation of many early towns in the region, including Denver and Boulder, as well as many other smaller mining towns, some of which have survived.

Many struck off to Colorado, looking to stake their own claim on fortune. Henry Cordes Brown, a carpenter-turned-real-estate entrepreneur from Ohio, came to Denver in 1860 after a number of adventures in California, Peru, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri. In Denver, Brown purchased several acres of land, including a triangular plot at the corners of Broadway, Tremont and 17th street, where he grazed his cow.

Brown originally left his Ohio home in 1860, planning on striking it rich in California.  However, as his family passed through Denver, his wife liked it so much, she reportedly said to him, “Mr. Brown, thou may press on to California if such be thy wish. I shall remain here.”

Making Denver their home, the Browns soon homesteaded 160 acres on what would later become known as Capitol Hill.  A shrewd businessman, Brown soon developed the acreage into the most influential neighborhood in the city, where the wealthy began to build palatial brownstone mansions up and down Grant and Sherman Streets.

Henry made a fortune from his real estate development; however the economic panic of 1877 nearly destroyed him.  He was forced to sell his palatial estate to Horace Tabor for $50,000, but the enterprising Brown soon recovered his fortune and by 1880 was worth nearly five million dollars, making him one of the wealthiest men in Colorado.

When the Windsor Hotel, one of Denver’s most elegant at the time, would not let Brown enter because he was dressed in cowboy attire, Brown decided to build his own hotel, and in the process, outdo the Windsor. In 1888, he retained architect Frank E. Edbrooke to design a new hotel, the likes of which had never before been seen in Denver.

The Brown Palace Hotel in 1898

Edbrooke designed Brown’s hotel in the Italian Renaissance style, using Colorado red granite and Arizona sandstone for the building’s exterior. For a finishing touch, artist James Whitehouse was commissioned to create 26 medallions carved in stone, each depicting a native Rocky Mountain animal. The hotel’s “silent guests” can still be seen between the seventh floor windows on the hotel’s exterior.

The Atrium of The Brown Palace, Denver,Colorado.

For the interior, Edbrooke designed an atrium lobby, with balconies rising eight floors above ground, surrounded by cast iron railings with ornate grillwork panels. No one knows for sure whether it was done intentionally, but two of the grillwork panels were installed – and remain – upside down. Edbrooke imported onyx from Mexico for the lobby, the Grand Salon (now the Onyx Room) on the second floor, and the eighth floor ballroom. The hotel was hailed as the second fire-proof building in America. No wood was used for the floors and walls, which were instead made of hollow blocks of porous terracotta fireproofing.

After an expenditure of $1.6 million – a remarkable sum for the time – and another $400,000 for furniture, The Brown Palace Hotel opened on Aug. 12, 1892. It had 400 guest rooms (compared to 241 today) that rented for between $3 and $5 a night. There were two banquet halls, a ladies’ ordinary (lounge), and a Grand Salon. The lobby housed a smoking room, a men’s bar, a ladies’ waiting room, and at least 18 stores. Today, there are four restaurants, 11 banquet rooms (all but one on the second floor), a gift shop, spa, floral shop and business center.

There were, and still are, many interesting and unique features about The Brown Palace. Because of its triangular shape, all rooms face the street. Early on, guests were asked whether they preferred morning or afternoon sun. The hotel derives all of its water from its own original artesian well. A huge carousel oven, at least half as old as the hotel and one of only three known to be in existence, still turns out the melba toast, macaroons and other baked goods on a daily basis in The Brown Palace bakery.

The Brown Palace Hotel has been open for business every minute of every day since Aug. 12, 1892. Unlike most and perhaps even all historic hotels, The Brown Palace has never closed for renovation. Instead, it has been remodeled, refurbished, updated and redecorated on an ongoing basis, including the latest $6.5 million restoration of the top two floors, and $3 million for the newly constructed Spa at The Brown Palace.

Standing the test of time, The Brown Palace today remains what it was originally meant to be – a grand, unprecedented hotel. Indeed, The Brown Palace is still known for many of its original qualities: its unusual triangular shape, its stunning, eight-story atrium lobby, its elegant atmosphere, and perhaps most importantly, its ability to treat weary travelers like royalty.

Afternoon tea, a longheld tradition at The Brown Palace.

The Brown Palace is truly a rare gem. Few places exist in this day and age which exude the same grandeur and regalia. They sure don’t make them like they used too! A chance last minute business meeting landed us in Denver last week- on a long Memorial Day weekend, nevertheless. We stayed at the Brown Palace, where we did indeed feel like we had stepped back in time and where we also felt like we were being treated like royalty.


What has this all got to do with my meager little food blog, you may ask?


 We where also very pleased to find out Denver happens to be a splendid little food town. Here are a few highlights from our food-filled adventure in the Mile High city…

Ship Tavern

located at The Brown Palace, Denver Colorado

Truffle French Fries at Ship Tavern, Brown Palace.

Ship Tavern: The Brown Palace, Denver,Colorado

Ahi Tuna Burger

The Delectable Egg

The California Benedict

Stuffed French Toast

Lou’s Food Bar

1851  West 38th AVE.

Denver, Colorado

Beef Carpaccio, Parmesan, Arugula

White Bean, Harcots Vert, Hard Cooked Eggs and Sherry Vinaigrette

TAG Continental Social Food

TAG is located on bustling Larimer Square in Denver’s historic LoDo downtown district.
1441 Larimer Street
Denver, CO 80202

Sample Menu


Lemon Herbed Sea Bass

Wild Boar Chop


Fresh Mint  Ice Cream Recipe

The Windy Saddle

1110 Washington Avenue

Golden, Colorado  80401

Everythings Golden!

Windy Saddle Cafe

Tuna Salad Sandwich and Chipotle Turkey Club

Afternoon Tea

The Brown Palace Atrium

Tea for Two!

Housemade Pastries

Tea Sandwiches

God save the Queen!

Room Service

The Brown Palace

A fond farewell!

Denver has a fabulous food scene indeed. We just touched the tip of the iceberg in the four days we where there. On a return trip, and very soon, I might add, we hope to visit Table 6,  Riajo, Bistro Vendome,  and Panzano as well as the many other outstanding eateries, food trucks and other culinary delights which Denver has to offer!

Notable Guests at The Brown Palace

Since Theodore Roosevelt visited in 1905 en route to a bear hunt in the Colorado Rockies, every U.S. President except Calvin Coolidge has stayed at the Brown Palace Hotel. Dwight Eisenhower even ran his 1952 presidential campaign from offices on the second floor of the hotel.

During World War II, troops were quartered at the Brown Palace Hotel and soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division were known to rappel from the balconies, much to the management’s chagrin.

Pop-star Billy Joel once joined the lobby pianist for a duet, and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cat was once lost in the hotel heating system.

The Beatles stayed at the Brown Palace during their 1964 tour and the hotel was inundated with applications from young women eager to work as housekeepers during their stay.

The Rolling Stones brought more than 200 pieces of luggage during their two-night stay in 2003.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Carrots, Curry, dessert, Eggs, Meat Dishes, Pork, root vegetables, Salmon, sauces, Side Dish, street food, Tuna, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Not for the Faint-of-Heart…

Life, it can pass you by in a whir if you let it. We rush through our day-to-day, many times, without giving things as much as a second thought. Nowhere is this more evident than during our mealtimes. It seems as if our whole world is geared towards a “make it fast, spit it out of a box” mentality.

This is precisely why I like to occasionally pull out the Big Guns and prepare a full blown, 5-star meal that will knock the socks off everyone. We are not necessarily talking about a 5 or 6 course  coup d’état. I do set my sights to make something impressive enough to make guests want to wonder into my kitchen to see if a star chef from the Food Network has stepped in to take my place.

By-passing those short for time and not for the faint-of-heart, Here are the mixings and makings of just such a meal. Taking inspiration from the early spring offerings at our market and my love for duck, here is what I managed to stir up!

Chinese 5 Spice Duck with Orange-Brandy Sauce

*A quick soak in an orange juice brine infuses the duck with lots of flavor.

For the Duck:

2-4 Maple Leaf  Farms boneless duck breast

2 cups fresh navel or Valencia orange juice

2 Tbs. finely grated orange zest

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs. Chinese 5 Spice

Kosher salt

For the Sauce:

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 medium shallot, minced

2 Tbs. brandy

1 cup fresh navel or Valencia orange juice

½ cup chicken stock

1 navel or Valencia orange, cut segments into thirds.

1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine the orange juice, zest, 6 Tbs. Salt, and 4 cups water in a large bowl or pot; stir to dissolve the salt. Add the duck breasts and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.


Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the duck from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels. Lightly rub the duck breasts with olive oil, just enough to allow them to coat with Chinese 5 spice. Sprinkle the 5 Spice over duck breasts then rub them to evenly coat.

Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a 12-inch oven proof skillet over medium heat. I love my All-Clad D5 non-stick grilling pan for searing off meat in this manner! Add the duck breast and sear about 4 minutes to each side, turning only once.

Place the pan in the oven and roast until an instant thermometer registers 165º F in the center for rare duck or 165°F for a more well done breast. Cook time should be around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a carving board, tent with foil, and let the duck rest while you prepare the sauce.


Pour the juices from the skillet into a heatproof measuring cup. Let the fat rise to the surface and then spoon it off.

Melt 2 Tbs. of butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Off the heat, add the brandy. Return the pan to heat and cook, scraping the pan, until the brandy is almost evaporated, about 30 seconds.

Increase the heat to high and add the orange juice. Boil until thick and syrupy, and reduced to about 1/3 cup. About 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, pan juices and any juices left hanging around on the cutting board. Boil until reduced to about ¾ cup, about 3 minutes.

Swirl in the orange segments. Then, off the heat, swirl in the remaining 1 Tbs. butter and parsley until the butter is melted. Season to taste with salt and a few grinds of pepper.

To serve, cut the duck on diagonal into thin slices and arrange each on a bed of coriander carrot purée. Drizzle with the sauce.

 * Try this as a side:

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter Sauce and Radish Tops

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Filed under Duck, Meat Dishes, Oranges, sauces

Roasted Radishes with Brown Butter, Lemon and Radish Tops

*Recipe courtesy of Bon appetit magazine April 2011 Issue.


2 Bunches medium radishes (such as red, pink, and purple; about 20)

1 ½  Tbs. olive oil

Coarse kosher salt

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Cut off all but ½ inch of radish green, reserve trimmed tops and rinse them well, checking for grit. Coarsely chop radish tops and set aside. Cut radishes lengthwise in half and place in a medium bowl. Add 1 ½ Tbs. olive oil and toss to coat. Place radishes, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet; sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Roast until radishes are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 18 minutes. Season to taste with more kosher salt if desired.

Melt butter in a heavy small skillet over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of coarse kosher salt to the skillet and cook until butter browns, swirling skillet frequently to keep butter solids from burning, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh lemon juice.

Transfer roasted radishes to warm shallow serving bowl and drizzle with brown butter. Sprinkle with chopped radish tops and serve.

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Filed under Quick and Easy, root vegetables, sauces, Side Dish, Vegetables

Sheep Wrecked- Lamb Chops with Balsamic Reduction and Poached Pears

It always happens, anytime I have a meal that involves a lamb dish, I am reminded of Spring. I know it sounds rather twisted and a tad bit warped to mention visions of lambs frolicking through the meadow. The scene growing even further distorted when envisioning putting fork and knife to little bow peeps little sheep.

Growing up, I was a HUGE fan of Chuck Jones cartoons. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Mr. Jones was the animator and produce of such infamous Looney-Tunes cartoons as Bugs Bunny, The Road Runner, as well as Rocky and Bullwinkle. Chuck had a flare for making light of that classic battle of good versus evil. He never let the face of evil get so skewered that it became ominous.

In that way, I see Chuck Jones as somewhat of a zen master, always letting us know that no matter how dark or down things seem to get in life, there is will always be light and laughter on the other side. What does this all have to do with lamb you say? My favorite Chuck Jones cartoon of all time is Droopy Dog. With is slow as molasses drawl and always calm demeanor, Droopy never seems to let the best of a bad situation get him down.

And finally, we stray back to sheep, or lamb, more precisely. My plus one, Leslie, purchased for me a deluxe DVD anthology of all the classic Chuck Jones cartoons. There buried amongst all that youthful nostalgia is the Droopy Dog episodes to top them all. A little ditty entitled “Sheep Wrecked” which featuring Droopy’s arch nemesis, The Wolf. He never has a name, but oh, what a character! In “Sheep Wrecked”, the wolf in relentless in his pursuit of sheep did profess his love for that barnyard favorite, rattling off a slew of his favorite methods of lamb cookery.

I found myself playing the wolf today as I scoured the local market for something sheepishly delicious. With a little luck, I turned up a few choice lamb chops and whipped up the tasty little recipe I am sharing with you today. “Man, Alive…” was that lamb ever good! Thank goodness I didn’t have to work as hard as old mister wolf.


  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Bosc Pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4–inch–thick slices
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Eight 1 1/4–inch–thick lamb loin chops
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Combine apple juice and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium–high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add pear slices and thyme sprigs. Reduce heat to medium–low, cover, and simmer until pear is tender, about 20 minutes. Strain, reserving pear and juices separately. Discard thyme sprigs.

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium–high heat. Add lamb; cook to desired doneness, about 3 1/2 minutes per side for loin chops for medium–rare. Transfer lamb to platter; cover to keep warm. Pour off drippings from skillet; place skillet over medium heat. Add reserved pear juices; boil until reduced to 1/4 cup, scraping up any browned bits, about 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in vinegar, butter, oregano, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme. Season pan sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Top lamb with poached pear. Spoon pan sauce over and serve.

For more great lamb recipes, visit

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Filed under Balsamic Vinegar, Lamb, Pear, sauces

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

Poached Eggs on Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Burgers one day, something fried the next, you know the routine. We often rush, rush through our days paying little mind to the crap we are shoving down our pie holes. In the name of convenience, we sacrifice our common sense to nourish ourselves well with the notion of simply filling that gnawing void in our belly.


Having served a busy week loaded with work, meetings, bad weather and busy kids, fast food managed to dominate our somewhat otherwise health consciences diet. There was plenty of “greasy” to lube the busy wheels! So, as we ventured out for a trip to the grocery this morning in hopes of restocking a bleak, empty pantry, we set our agenda towards the green and healthful plains.


By and far, I believe the vast majority of us, from time to time, are inclined to consider eating lighter. After a week of chucking down fast food, and waking up to feel the lag left over from it, a light brunch, as follows, was indeed the order of the day.





Poached Eggs on Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce


½ cup Brioche or Panko Bread Crumbs

2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained and rinsed

6 green onions including some of the tender green tops, chopped

2 garlic cloves diced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

¼ cup yellow cornmeal

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

6 Large Poached Eggs


Place bread crumbs in a food processor and process until crushed. Add beans, green onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste and process until chunky. Form  into 6 cakes. (Mixture will be sticky.) Place cornmeal in a flat dish or on waxed paper. Add cakes and turn until coated.


In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Fry cakes until crisp, about 5 minutes on each side. Add more oil, if needed.


If serving with the bell pepper sauce, have the sauce warmed and ready.


To assemble, top each cake with a poached egg and a spoonful of Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce. Garnish each with a sprig of cilantro  and serve immediately.



*Note: The Black Bean Cakes also make great vegan burgers!


Roasted Red Bell Pepper Sauce


-Makes about 1 cup


2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup chopped yellow onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

½ cup milk

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and cut up  (see note)

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ tgeaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper



In a small saucepsn over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and garlic, sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until bubbly. Stir in milk and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Sauce will be thick.


Place roasted bell pepper in food processor or blender and purée. Add onion mixture and process until smooth. Return to pan and add paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.


Note: To roast the pepper, preheat the broiler. Cut pepper in half lengthwise and remove seeds and ribs. Make several 1-inch slashes around the edge of each pepper half. Place skin-side up on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Press peppers down with the palm of your hand to flatten them. Broil until skin is charred, about 10 minutes. Remove from broiler, fold foil tightly over peppers, and let them steam for 10 minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Burgers, condiments, Eggs, garnish, sauces, vegan

Black and Blue Spelt Pancakes

Winter in the Midwest, it can be relentless! As is testament, I look out my doorway on this blustery Ohio morning and see what appears to be an endless field of ice. I’m imagining many souls waking to the same who have to venture forth to their work places and feeling fortunate that I am able to work from home. I also imagine many of those same folks who are trudging out, slipping and sliding about, and heaven forbid, maybe even a fall or two.

It is under these pretenses that I issue this directive:

Stay home! Call in sick. Do what ever you have to avoid the madness and stay home to a nice, long, leisurely breakfast! The economy will still suck tomorrow but you will avoid all the nastiness mother nature has hurled at us- And possibly avoid a serious fall or car crash that could cause you a few bumps and bruises.

Trade them instead for this fabulous recipe:

Black and Blue Spelt Pancakes

Black and Blue Spelt Pancakes

-Makes 12


1 cup plus approximately 2-3 Tbsp light, stone ground spelt flour (the coarse stuff doesn’t work. Got to be the light stuff)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp roasted Saigon cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg
1 beaten egg
3/4 cup milk

¼ cup organic yogart
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla


1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture, set aside. Combine the egg, milk, yogart, vanilla and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Add additional milk to thin batter if necessary.

2. For standard-size pancakes, pour or spread about 1/3 cup batter into a 3-inch circle on a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry. Serve warm.

Black and Blue Sauce


1 cup Grade A Maple Syrup

1cup fresh Blackberries

1 cup fresh Blueberries

1 tablespoon raw honey

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice


Boil 1 cup syrup, blueberries, honey and lemon juice in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to generous 1 cup, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Toss in Blackberries just before serving and pour over pancakes. Garnish with a dusting of confectioners sugar and grated lemon zest.

All Spelt product in our recipes locally sourced by The Farmer, The Miller, The Baker.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Fruit, sauces, Spelt, syrups

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

Brioche Pain Perdu

On a cold snowy day, nothing beats baking to warm the house and heart. Not to mention it can be an enjoyable way to pass an otherwise dreary day. I did just that yesterday, baking up a decadent loaf of hot, buttery brioche with the intent of experimenting with a few pain perdu recipes I have been toying around with.

Pain Perdu, to the layman, is the proper French name for what us Americans typically call French toast, in honor of its origin. Broken down to its French essence, pain perdu translates to lost (stale) bread. The stale bread is brought back to life by bathing it in a fabulously rich concoction of egg and milk. (Or cream if you really want to take it over the top!)

When it comes to breads, nothing can be more French than Brioche. Many a French chef has coveted their own personal formula for this buttery treat. When on can master the balance of butter to air and not over work the dough, an airy bread that is both light to the feel but heavy on taste is the optimum result.

Having achieved a decent facsimile, my next goal was to produce a pain perdu with an orange liqueur sauce that would taste like a bite of sunshine. Using freshly squeezed orange juice and a few splashes of both rum and triple sec, I managed to transport us directly to the grove stands and orchards of Florida. Leslie gave me the thumbs up with her approval, so I think we have a winner.

This recipe takes some juggling to get it just right and have everything arrive at the plate in the appropriate time frame, but here it goes…

Brioche Pain Perdu with Orange Liqueur Sauce and Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream

-Serves 4


1 inch thick slices of stale brioche

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon canola oil


1 cup crushed graham crackers (about 6 squares)

2 teaspoons roasted cinnamon

2 teaspoons raw sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place graham crackers in a bowl or food processor, crushing the contents being careful not to turn the cracker into dust. Add the cinnamon and sugar, gently blend with a fork and set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat heavy whipping cream with vanilla. Bring to a slow simmer. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar until it turns a pale, yellow color. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Transfer to a shallow dish.

Take one slice of bread and dip it into the mixture, about 7 seconds on each side. Transfer to a cookie sheet and repeat the process until you have no remaining slices. TIP: This works best if your bread is really hard and stale. If your bread is fresh, you can recreate the same texture by placing your brioche slices in the oven for 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees.

Dredge each soaked slice of brioche in the crust mixture, making sure all sides are evenly coated. Transfer back onto baking sheet.

Place skillet over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and oil together. Dip a ball of paper towel into the oil mixture and coat the skillet. One by one, grill each soaked slice of brioche until it is slightly brown (approximately 1-2 minutes per side). Transfer back to cookie sheet. Bake the french toast in the oven for 10 minutes. TIP: Between grilling each slice, use the paper towel to swipe the skillet clean and reapply another thin layer of oil mixture each time.

Serve by glazing the plate with Orange Liqueur Sauce. Place Pain Perdu over top and glaze with another light layer of Orange Liqueur Sauce and a drizzle of Grade A Maple Syrup. Dust with confectioners sugar and place a dollop of honey vanilla whipped cream. Garnish with fresh orange slices and a sprinkle of grated orange zest.

Orange Liqueur Sauce

-Makes 1 cup


1 cup fresh squeezed Orange Juice

1 oz. Spiced Rum (Sailor Jerry’s is our rum of choice!)

2 teaspoons Triple Sec Orange Liqueur

1 tablespoon cornstarch

¼ cup raw sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon orange zest

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together orange juice, rum, triple sec, cornstarch and sugar until thickened, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and zest. Serve warm.

Honey Vanilla Whipped Cream


1 cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp honey

½ teaspoon vanilla


In a chilled bowl, using chilled beaters, beat all ingredients until well thickened and peaks begin for form. Place immediately in refrigerator until ready to use. Whipped cream can be spooned into peaks onto chilled plate and flash frozen for 15-20 minutes to keep them from running upon serving with hot foods such as French toast, pancakes or waffles.

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Filed under Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, dessert, Flavored Whipped creams, Rum, sauces