Tag Archives: Ohio

Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Watermelon Pico de Gallo

Hello my dear friends and readers! Several months have come and went since I last visited you, although, much to my surprise, many of you have continued to visit us. To that, I say, thank you. It is always a joy and pleasure to share my adventures in food and life with you. What has kept me away you may ask? Over the last several months I have been hard at work building a community gardens program in my hometown of Greenville, Ohio. As the director, it has been a long road full of ups and downs. After two years of research and just one month away from our proposed launch, we still hadn’t found a property on which to host our first garden project.

With some last minute heroics, and a bit of a scramble, the D.A. Fitzgerald Memorial Garden was born, bringing community garden and hopefully much fresh produce, to the locals. The last few weeks have been filled with plot layouts, bed prep, and feverishly planting. Soon, the fruits (and veggies) of our labors will begin to surface on these pages in the form of fresh produce. I am beyond excited!

It has been quite an atypical May in Ohio and we have seen a bit it of a drought set in and quite a heat wave as of lately. In the midst of all this, we have undertaken a landscaping and yard renovation project of the grandest scale. Think an episode of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers, minus the large work crew and you get the picture…or you can just check out the pictures here to get a feel…

Anywho, so amidst all this hubbub and hot weather, we have not taken a great deal of time to cook like we usually tend to do. After a hard Memorial day (sure it wasn’t Labor day) weekend of yard work, I decided to end the drought of good food with a dish to celebrate the return of summer. Here is a little Grilled Swordfish number with a cool, refreshing Pineapple Water Melon Pico de Gallo-

Grilled Swordfish with Pineapple Watermelon Pico de Gallo


Two 4 oz. Swordfish fillets
Pinch of Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups fresh pineapple, cubed
2 cups fresh watermelon, cubed
1 Scallion, diced
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Key Lime rum


Lightly rub swordfish fillets with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside and allow to marinate for a bit. Cube Pineapple and Watermelon into small ½ inch chunks. In a small mixing bowl, combine the Pineapple and Watermelon. Add the chopped cilantro, Lime rum, and scallion then toss. Add a pinch of salt to taste. Keep the Pico de Gallo refrigerated until ready to serve. Lightly oil grill grate. Grill steaks for 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Plate with Pico de Gallo and Serve.

Serving Suggestion:

Great with either Steamed Rice or Pearl Couscous seasoned with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime!


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Filed under Fish, Quick and Easy

Sometimes you feel like a nut…

I woke up today feeling kind of nutty. I had no idea why. I was craving something new, something novel for breakfast. I often wake up with these whims and usually they lead to something I have never made before.

Some days I will search our cookbook library (and yes, we have more than enough to classify it as such) for just the right thing. Others, I will just pursues the fridge to see what’s on hand and start adding things like a mad man. A pinch of this, a handful of that, until, all willy-nilly, it somehow manages to come together. Some would say I am a mad scientist of sorts.

Nevertheless, we had some bananas on hand and I have been pondering how to utilize the remaining ricotta from a recipe earlier in the week. Low and behold, I gave birth to a lovely, fat stuffed French toast that was just the thing to kick off our day. Come to find out shortly after breakfast that it was, in fact, national pecan day- unbeknownst to me!

The history of pecans can be traced back to the 16th century. The only major tree nut that grows naturally in North America, the pecan is considered one of the most valuable North American nut species. The name “pecan” is a Native American word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”

Originating in central and eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico, pecans were widely used by pre-colonial residents. Pecans were favored because they were accessible to waterways, easier to shell than other North American nut species and of course, for their great taste.

Because wild pecans were readily available, many Native American tribes in the U.S. and Mexico used the wild pecan as a major food source during autumn. It is speculated that pecans were used to produce a fermented intoxicating drink called “Powcohicora” (where the word “hickory” comes from).  It also is said that Native Americans first cultivated the pecan tree.

So, now that you know a bit of the history, here is the sweet concoction, in honor of National Pecan Day.

Banana Ricotta Stuffed French Toast with Maple Candied Pecans



3 Farm Fresh Eggs
1 Whole Banana, Mashed
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
½ cup Pecans, chopped
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dohner Maple Camp syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon raw sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
2-4 slices rustic Tuscan bread


In a medium bowl, hand  mix ricotta and banana just until blended. Do not over blend. Add ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and mix until combined.

Cut a slit down the side of each slice of bread and form a pocket. Be sure to leave the ends closed. Stuff each pocket with about 2 tablespoons full of banana ricotta mixture. Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, add 3 eggs, heavy cream and remaining ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Whisk until well blended.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to a medium skillet and melt over medium heat. Add pecans and toss until coated with butter. Add teaspoon of raw sugar and maple syrup. Continue to toss until sugar starts to caramelize. Set aside.

Heat medium skillet and grease with a small pat of butter. Dip each stuffed slice of bread into egg custard then place into skillet, and brown each side.

Plate and top each with candied pecans and natural maple syrup. You can also garnish French toast with Cinnamon Ginger whipped cream.

Cinnamon Ginger Whipped Cream


½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon raw sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ginger powder


In a chilled metal mixing bowl, add heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. With a mixer, whip the mixture on high until heavy peaks form. Chill for at least 10 minutes and serve.

*Dohner Maple Camp

West Milton, Ohio
Locally tapped maple syrup, maple sugar, and candy.

Phone: 937-884-5759
E-mail: dohnermaple@verizon.net

Visit www.bearsmill.com to purchase your own.

Find out how to make your own maple syrup here.

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Filed under Banana, Bread, Breakfast, Brunch, Flavored Whipped creams, Ricotta

Time Flies

Two weeks. The amount of time which has lapsed since I have graced these pages with an update. It has been a busy state of affairs indeed. In the last week, I have been contacted by two major corporate identities, both asking me to serve in various forms as a guest Chef, sharing my cooking savvy. The prospect is thrilling and I will fill you in with more details as I become privy to them.

Additionally, I have been serving as the food coordinator for an upcoming festival at Garst Museum located in my home town of Greenville, Ohio. The museum is an historical venue which houses memorabilia from the likes of Annie Oakley, Lowell Thomas, Tecumseh and The Treaty of Greenville as well as other local lore. The event is taking shape for its inaugural launch this July and should prove to be a stellar get together. If you are going to be in the Ohio valley July 30-31, mark your calendars and swing by The Gathering at Garst!

Then there was the much needed overhaul of our very outdated kitchen. You see, last June we moved into a circa 1920’s farm house situated on the edge of town. Although we embrace our farm roots, we were having a hard time embracing wall paper which would have been at home in my great grandmother Ruth’s farmstead. It was quite the chore getting things in shape. We dug through the first layer which resembled a plaid table clothe only to find an even more hideous layer below that was very early 1960’s Betty Crockeresque. Need less to say, we spent a good bit of time with scrapers in hand and now our walls are a much more pleasant warm gray hue. A few more designer touches and it will be Home and Design worthy!

Oh, and did I mention I have been cooking? Our overly loaded Fridge is a testament to that fact. Anyone care to help us keep the left-over situation at bay? It seems I always manage to cook for an army but we can only manage to muster a few meager troops around here. Needless to say,  there is usually an abundance of goodness to go around. The following pictorial is a small sampling of what’s been cookin’…

I leave you with this simple recipe which I have culled from the mess to share with you.

Eggs Benedict Florentine­­­

8 Oz Fresh Spinach, Stems removed and rinsed

4 English Muffins

8 Thins slices of Canadian Bacon or Smoked Ham

Dash of Ground Nutmeg

8 Large Poached Eggs

*Hollandaise Sauce

In a Large saucepan over medium heat, blanch spinach in two tablespoons of water. Cover until wilted, tossing once with a fork, about 3 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Place 2 muffin halves on each of four plates. Top each half with a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, 1 heaping tablespoon of spinach, and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Spoon on some of the Hollandaise Sauce then add a poached egg to each muffin half. Serve immediately.

Hollandaise Sauce

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

¼ teaspoon salt

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 cup butter (2 sticks) , melted

In a small, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine yolks, fresh lemon juice, water, salt and cayenne pepper. Whisk constantly until mixture bubbles and begins to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrap mixture into blender. Add butter in a slow, steady stream and blend until all the butter is used and sauce is thickened, about 30 seconds.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, condiments, Eggs, Ham

Lets Be Frank

Big City Dogs-Greenville, Ohio

The heart and soul of a person are in their roots. Who are you? Where do you come from? Me, I’m a country boy at heart. I come from a long, long line of farmers. Some of my fondest memories of my paternal grandfather are of time spent with him riding on a tractor around a field as he worked the land. As a boy, the neighboring fields and woods which lined our property where my play ground. I spent hours there.

Still, as a boy, like many youth who are born and raised to a rural life, I longed to see the bright lights of the big city. I felt as if something inherently was missing from my life- A want of close spaces and unfamiliar faces. To me, it seemed, the city held some magical allure which eluded a simple rural upbringing. Until recent years, I hadn’t yet discovered the fondness and appreciation for wide open spaces, the slow,  simple life of the country and all it affords. Love the country life as I may though, I still have had a taste of the big city.

And of all the tastes of the big city I have experienced, none stirs a fervor of excitement more to me than a simple hot dog. Not just any dog, mind you, but an honest to goodness Chicago dog! In that particular city lie the epitome of hot doginess- Portillo’s. Let’s be frank, there is an art form buried in the Chicago dog and its execution. Portillo’s is the mecca in my book. You see, after having experienced a Chicago dog from Portillo’s I have developed a relentless craving for them, but a six hour drive separates me from the object of my affection.

Enter Big City Dog’s, a local mom and pop joint right here in my home town  of Greenville, Ohio. You see, it seems they too have had a taste of the big city dogs and decided to feature it as the sole theme of offering on their menu. A plethora of city names abound on a menu as long as my arm. Since the Chicago dog hold such esteem in my eyes, I zeroed in on making it the first to undertake when sampling this new establishment and all it had to offer.

Let me tell you, The Chicago dogs at Big City Dogs cut the mustard, which happens to be the only condiment, sans catsup, that can dress a TRUE  Chicago dog, according to purists…I have mine with a squeeze of the tomato stuff, rebel that I am! Never the less, all the prerequisite elements where in place- The Poppy seed bun, dayglo green relish, thick tomato wedges, whole kosher dills, onions, sport peppers, and even celery salt. But the Pièce de résistance was the 100% All Angus beef hot dog which lie at the heart of the matter. The total package gave even Portillo’s, which I consider to be the holy grail of hot dogs, a run for their money. There is something magical about eating a Chicago dog in its city of origin. Certain foods just taste better in their home towns, such as Buffalo Wings, Key Lime Pie or the Juice Lucy.

This fact aside, Big City Dogs served up the real deal and it warms my heart knowing I don’t have to wait until my next trip to Chitown to satisfy my cravings. And with a HUGE order of handcut, freshly salted fries, it makes for a down right tasty meal on the go! If you are in the Greenville, Ohio area, or get in the mood for a road trip, stop by and have a sample. I know I look forward to exploring some of the other city dogs they have to offer.

Big City Dogs

853 East Main Street

Greenville,OH. 45331

(937) 657-5595

*No word on a web site or facebook page. Will keep you posted.

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Filed under Hot Dogs, sandwich, street food