Ratatouille

Going to Culinary School has always been a dream of mine.  Ultimately, I would’ve loved to have gone to the Culinary Institute in Napa, but with 3 kids still in Elementary and Middle School, that wasn’t going to work and I didn’t want to wait another 10 years until they’re off in college to go.  So, I’m taking classes at DVC, our local community college.  However, it is an ACF (American Culinary Federation) accredited program and the entire kitchen was renovated about 3 years ago, so it’s a very top notch facility.

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Grandad’s Salsa

My dad used to make this salsa for almost every family get together or special occasion.  Although closely adapted from one of Tyler Florence’s salsa recipes, he put a few touches of his own on it over the years.  Tyler Florence was his favorite celebrity chef to watch on Food Network.  We spent hours watching Tyler’s Ultimate together when he would visit.  He used to take the printed, folded up recipe back and for the with him to New Zealand to make for his friends there as well…and so, it became “Grandad’s Salsa”.

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Sous Vide Carnitas

One of my favorite gifts I received this Christmas was a sous-vide tool.  Even though I feel like I’ve cooked almost everything, I can now cook food in a completely new way and produce different results.  So, although I’ve made Carnitas many times, I’ve never made them like this.  These Sous Vide Carnitas are juicy and crunchy in a whole new way.  Top them with your favorite taco toppings and you’ll have a showstopper!

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SF Style Cioppino

 

I love to make this SF Style Cioppino recipe this time of year.  We always have family over during the holidays and this is the perfect meal that is elegant in presentation, easy to prepare, light, healthy and oh’ so delicious!

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Slow Cooked Short Rib Ragu Over Penne Pasta

 

Wow!  This Slow Cooked Short Rib Ragu over Penne Pasta will blow your mind!  We had dinner this weekend at a newer restaurant in our town called Locanda Ravello.  Honestly, I can’t get enough of the place.  It’s the kind of Italian restaurant where there is always a wood-fired pizza oven burning in the center of the restaurant, the staff speaks more Italian than English and every once in a while, if you’re lucky, they’ll break into song during your meal.  After being inspired by the special Short Rib pasta I ordered and how scrumptious it was, I needed to try to recreate it.  This is my version.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

My sister-in-law Lisa is the one behind this recipe for these Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Around our house, we call them “Lisa’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies”.  She loves to bake and every year when she and my brother come to visit for Christmas, she gets us all in the kitchen baking.  My daughter looks forward to it every year!  The cookies are delicious and the recipe is super simple and quick.  Lucky for us, she passed on her secret recipe…I’m pretty sure my daughter doesn’t even need the recipe to make them anymore because she’s made them so many times.

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Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb

I was born in New Zealand and my dad’s side of the family all still live there.  My husband is half Greek.  Basically, our kids have no choice but to love lamb, it’s a double whammy!  This Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb always reminds me of Christmas.  We usually have it on Christmas Eve at my mom’s house.  It’s funny, I grew up having it prepared this way by both my mom and dad, not sure who taught who, but it is clearly a Julia Child recipe for the marinade.  I will tell you this, I have found no better way to prepare any cut of lamb than with this recipe.

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Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing

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Hands down, Cornish Game Hens & Wild Rice Stuffing is one of my favorite fall meals!  This recipe is pretty easy but makes for a beautiful presentation and it’s a break from the norm.  I usually cut them in half to serve, no one can usually get through a whole one on their own.  Adding the dried cranberries and apricots enhances the wild rice with a little pop of fall colors.  And the slivered almonds adds a crunch with every bite.  Impress your family and friends with this delicious dish!

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Chicken Marsala

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Chicken Marsala is another classic that is so easy to make but tastes and looks beautiful on the plate.  Definitely do-able for a weeknight family style dinner or fancy enough for a weekend dinner party.  Pounding the chicken thin keeps in tender and cooking time is quick.

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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Chicken Lettuce Wraps are the perfect answer to a healthy lunch or light dinner.  I must admit, fall hit and I went into full blown comfort food recipes.  So, in order to tip the scales (bad pun?), I wanted to share this tasty recipe with you.

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