Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chicken Soup with Butternut Squash & Mushrooms & Bulgur

I must share this with you! This was one of the greatest soups I have ever made--tasted! And the amazing thing to keep in mind is this: half of this recipe was from leftovers! Let me explain.

The night before I made this soup I roasted a chicken (This was a lemon, garlic, apple juice variation). It, too, was delicious. I then made stock from the chicken carcass, which I simmered during the evening and again for hours before making the soup. OH! The Butternut Squash was mashed and leftover, too; we made this with lots of butter and Five Spice. And it goes without saying that the Bulgur was leftover, too; we had this with the roast chicken (It had celery, red and green pepper, and golden raisins in it.).

So, I added some olive oil to a saucepan. Then I added 1 stalk celery, finely chopped; 1/2 Vidalia Onion, chopped; 1/2 red pepper, chopped--and cooked for about 10 minutes. Then I added 2 cups mushrooms, stemmed, halved and sliced--and cooked for about 5 minutes, gently. I then added 2 cups of my chicken stock and 1 cup of the mashed butternut squash and stirred until the squash was absorbed. A few minutes before serving, I added 2 cups chopped chicken, 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped tarragon and 1 cup of the cooked Bulgur.

Serves Two.

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cook of the Week

The passion started a long time ago:

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Remarkable Dinner & A Recipe

More than anything, this is a memory of a dinner. A memory of dinner with my Dad and my family. Memory helps to keep the past alive. Dad, though gone from this life, lives on in us--those at this dinner table.

It was the most unusual place.

A restaurant tucked away on a seldom-traveled street near the Massachusetts and New Hampshire borderline. Today, I am no longer sure of what state we were in!

Was there a sign? I do not recall. If there was a sign it was rather small; as was the restaurant.

There were no waiters or waitresses, nor busboys. There was the owner, The Chef.

"Is this your first time here?"

"Yes," we answered. There were my sisters, Michelle and Darlene. Their husbands, Stuart and Paul. My niece, Nina. My ex, Betsy, and our children, Danielle and Daryl. My brother, Dennis and his wife, Debbie. And there was my beloved Dad, Alfred (aka Fred) Barone.

"Put yourselves in my hands," said Chef. "I'll cook some special things just for you and then I'll bring them out, one-at-a-time. Appetizers. Little bites. Maybe some scallops to start. And Beet Tartare with Capers, Mustard and Shallots. Homemade breads and Extra Virgin Olive Oil  from Tuscany. Then some pasta. Ravioli. Tortellini. Anyone like Lobster Sauce? (We all nodded yes.) And then I'll bring you your special entrees. You can share. Veal Scallopini. Eggplant Parmesan. Seared Baby Squid with Parsley and Garlic. Sauteed Quail with Mustard and Garlic. And deserts, of course."

The kitchen was just a few steps away. And there were only a few tables in the restaurant. Maybe seven or eight; at the most ten small tables. All different in shape and size. The room I recall was dark; red brick--I have photographs, somewhere. There was a painting of Jesus on the Cross and across the room there were landscapes and maybe a portrait. It was eclectic but comforting, like instruments in an orchestra all working together to create a masterpiece.

The meal--the event--was a masterpiece. The little bites just kept coming out from the kitchen. And Chef would say, "Are you all enjoying your evening?"

Did I mention the hot bruschetta topped with garlic, basil and tomatoes? The olives and marinated eggplant?

I felt, we all felt, as if we were at home eating together in our kitchen--in Fred's Kitchen; Dad's Kitchen. It was that special. We drank wine, of course, all recommendations from Chef, and my children drank wine, too. Reds in large glasses. Bon Appetit!

The restaurant is no longer there but Chef has opened a new restaurant. If I ever open a restaurant it would be just like this most unusual place--or it will be a Food Truck--and I will call it Bruce's Kitchen and I will serve with love healthy and inspired food for everyday celebrations.

Here, have some soup.

"I feel like having soup for dinner," said Susan.

So I made Ribollita, which means 're-cooked' in Italy, and slow cooking is the secret of this hearty winter vegetable soup designed for wood stoves or back burners. There are many different recipes, but most Tuscan recipes call for cavolo nero - black leaf kale - the closest substitute being savoy (red) cabbage - and cannellini - tuscan white beans - the closest substitute being Great Northern beans. There are many variations, try the one that seems the most appealing to you. A specialty of Tuscany, this hearty bean and vegetable soup is served all over Florence in the winter. I used store-bought kale but you could substitute Savoy.

3 tbsp olive oil
2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme
14 oz canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 lb Tuscan kale, trimmed and sliced
1 small day-old or toasted ciabatta loaf, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper


Heat oil in large saucepan and cook onions, carrots, and celery for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for an additional few minutes, until the vegetables are golden and caramelized.

Add the cannellini beans and tomatoes. Add stock to cover. Bring to a boil and add kale and cook for 20-30 minutes, until kale is cooked. Stir in bread (or serve as side to sop). The soup should be thick.
Ladle into warmed serving bowls and serve hot, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan cheese--if you desire. Serve with red wine. And LOVE!
Recipe from "Soup Bowl." Love Food books, an imprint of Parragon Books Ltd. '07

 Do you have a favorite and beautiful  memory about your family? I would love to hear about it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Braised Cod and Golden Onions with Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Pecans

You will love this!


  1. 1 tablespoon butter + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 2 Cod Loin, about 4 ounces each
  3. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, crumbled
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1/4 cup homemade stock + 1/4 cup ginger ale
  7. Chives


  1. Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add oil. Add sliced onions and cook until golden and soft, stirring frequently, about 12-15 minutes. Add thyme and bay leaf to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season cod with salt and pepper and place on top of onions. Add stock and ginger ale. Bring liquids to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet, and braise cod until just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Garnish with chopped chives.
Do you have a favorite Cod recipe? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Roasted Gazpacho

In his award-winning cookbook, How To Cook Everything, Mark Bittman writes: "My friend Ignacio Blanco makes this sensational gazpacho at his Connecticut restaurant, Meson Galicia." (Now called Meigas)

Note: Bittman's recipe (as written below) serves 6. I reduced it by half and it served four with plenty leftover. I served it with Roasted Three Peppers with Goat Cheese and Mafaldine Pasta.


4 ripe tomatoes
2 small or 1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into large chucks
4 small or 2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
2 medium onions, cut into large chunks
About 10 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups water
4 slices stale bread, crusts removed and torn up


1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, onions, garlic and olive oil in a large roasting pan; roast until the eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
2. Turn the mixture into a large bowl an add the vinegar, salt, pepper, water and bread. Refrigerate and let sit several hours or overnight.
3. In a food processor or blender, blend the mixture until smooth. Put it through a food mill or strainer to remove any remaining bits of skin, seeds, or other solids. Check the seasoning and serve.

Note: I did not put mine through a food mill. Next time I make it I think I am going to add a few jalapeno peppers.

Do you have a favorite Gazpacho recipe?  I would love to hear about it!

Let's make the world a more beautiful place!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Grilled Salmon with Mustard, Horseradish, Molasses

This simple dish combines the intense sweetness of molasses, the tangy taste of Dijon mustard, the zesty flavor of red wine vinegar, with the sharp kick of horseradish.


1 1/4 pounds Salmon (King, Coho or Sockeye)
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons horseradish, drained
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper


1. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Put on aluminum foil (I always then just place the foil with the salmon on grill and never flip the salmon).
2. Whisk together the mustard, molasses, horseradish, vinegar, salt and pepper.
3. Brush salmon with the molasses mixture.
4. Grill with 8--10 minutes (with grill top closed)

We served this with an endive, radish, cucumber, tomato salad. And a cucumber mousse, which Susan made.

Do you have a favorite Grilled Salmon recipe? I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Salmon, Sunflower Seed Cakes with Horseradish Sauce

Simple, yet a bit unusual, this Salmon Cake is sure to please everyone.


8 ounces cooked Salmon (King, Coho, or Sockeye), flaked
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 green onion, chopped
1 heaping tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon Frank's Hot Sauce
1 small egg, beaten
A good dash or two or three Worcestershire Sauce


Mix all the ingredients together. Form into four cakes. Fry in hot oil till  brown. Serve with Horseradish Sauce (2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt, 1 tablespoon drained horseradish, 1 teaspoon fresh dill--chopped).

I served this with a garden-fresh tomato, cucumber, basil salad over grilled eggplant. And a pasta salad with garlic, tomatoes, green olives, basil and oil.

Do you like Salmon Cakes? Do you have a favorite recipe?

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Drawing on that degree in Art History, a passion for telling stories, and years working as a portrait and documentary photographer (And owning an Art Gallery) helps me bring a heightened sensitivity to my photography. Let's make the world a more beautiful place!