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Lamb chops braised in Zinfandel & Cherries and Apricots

The combination of a big bold spicy zinfandel and a touch of sweetness from the dried fruit in this Lamb chops braised in Zinfandel dish gets rid of any gamey flavors you might encounter.  We paired it with pearled couscous for a middle eastern theme.  What I liked most about this dish is that it cooks faster than what you typically expect from a slow-braised dish.  Give it a shot.  Even if you don’t like lamb, I think you might change your mind with this one.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with another recipe.  Here’s a link to an update of this recipe from our friends at Collier Falls Winery.

1/2 T olive oil

4 lamb chops 1 inch thick


1T ground coriander

8 garlic cloves

10 thyme sprigs

1 cup big jammy zinfandel

1/2 c dried cherries

1/2 c dried apricots

2 cups beef broth (I use Jean Pierre’s Beef and Veal Stock, it’s the best.   See for details)  Season chops with salt, pepper and coriander.  Heat oil in a skillet and brown chops on high heat for 3 minutes.  Turn them, brown the other sides along with the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs.  Everything should be nice and golden brown.  Add the wine and the fruit, reduce by half, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the beef broth, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat covered for 35 minutes, turning the lamb twice during cooking.  Serve with couscous.Zin Lamb 1 Zin lamb 2

Feta and Artichoke Appetizer Tart

Holy macaroni are these easy to make!  I haven’t seen a recipe this easy since the macaroons.  The problem with the feta and artichoke appetizer tart is the same problem as the macaroons: you’re tempted to eat the whole batch.  When you bite down on the warm buttery flaky crust of the puff pastry and it mixes with the richness of the feta and tartiness of the marinated artichoke, you reach nirvana.   So, here it is:  Take a sheet of puff pastry from the 17.3z box (there are 2 in the box) and lay it out on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Lightly score the sheet with a knife.  Make a “feta mixture” by food processing 1/3c heavy cream with 2z feta and s&p.  Spread the feta mixture over the pastry staying 1 inch away from the edge.  Arrange artichoke hearts over feta mixture and crumble 2 more oz. feta on top along with thinly sliced scallions.  Drizzle with olive oil and brush 1 inch border with 1 beaten egg.  Bake at 425 for 10 minutes.  Lower temp to 375 and bake an additional 20-25 minutes until you get a beautiful brown color on the edge.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale and Northern California with appetizers for tonight.z13

Asian Mexican Pork Tenderloin

Denver is a real foodie town.  If you ever get there, be sure to stop in at Root Down and try the Green Curry Pork Tenderloin.  It’s utterly amazing.  It’s an odd combination of asian and mexican fusion, but the layers of flavor and texture give you that OMG moment.  Make it easier on yourself and do the pumpkin seeds and curry sauce the day before (at the same time you marinate the pork).  Then on the second  day you are just grilling the pork and assembling everything.  Serve it with a side of wide rice or farro.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with a new recipe that’s sure to be a favorite.

Pork Marinade  (combine and marinate overnight)1/2c reduced sodium soy sauce

1/4c fresh orange juice

2T maple syrup

2T toasted sesame oil

2 pork tenderloins (silver skin removed)

Cumin-spiced pumpkin seeds (Heat oil in a skillet; toast pepitas and cumin seeds 3 minutes; add sugar; add lime juice; coat; spread on baking sheet; sprinkle with salt)

1T vegetable oil

3/4 c shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1/2t cumin seeds

1T sugar

1 T lime juice

kosher salt

Curry sauce (Saute shallot and garlic 3 minutes; add curry paste and lime zest cook 1 minute; pour in coconut milk, reduce by half – 15 minutes; let cool; transfer to blender.  Add cilantro lime juice brown sugar and water; s&p.  Blend until creamy;   pour over grilled pork and sprinkle pepitas on top).

3T vegetable oil

1 shallot chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 small can green thai curry paste

1t lime zest

1 14z can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4c cilantro

1T lime juice

1T brown sugar


Summer Sangria

For those of you who keep requesting this


I always wanted to make Sangria as an alternative to serving wine to my guests during the hot summer months.  I finally took the plunge and adapted a F&W recipe for this Summer Sangria.  The results were great.  I made a small batch since I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out.  So this recipe yields a pitcher for 3 people, but it’s easy enough to expand.  I used LaCroix Berry sparkling water for the top, but any sparkler will do.  But don’t use a sparkler with sugar in it.  The whole point is that the sparkler will cut the sweetness of the sangria and balance out everything.  Also, this recipe calls for St. Germain liqueur.  It’s an elderflower liqueur.  Gives the sangria a unique flavor (in a positive way).  There aren’t too many things you can substitute for that.  The usual suspects just won’t work in…

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Roasted Duck Breast with Orange and Ginger Glaze

This recipe is for Roasted Duck Breast with Orange and Ginger Glaze.  Place the duck breast on a chopping board and with the tip of a very sharp knife, score a diamond pattern into the duck skin.  Slice carefully, not to cut through the fat and into the breast meat.  Rub salt and pepper into the skin of the duck, on both sides.  In a saute pan, heat some olive oil and when hot sear the breast on each side and bake in a 375 degree oven for a few minutes (8-10) until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.  Remove the breast and brush with the glaze (recipe below) and return in the oven and broil for a few minutes until the glaze turns mahogany in color.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.  Slice the breast according to your taste.

1T lemon EVO

1T butter

2 shallots minced very fine

Juice of 3 mandarin oranges

2 T soy sauce

2T Tangerine Balsamic vinegar

1 finger of ginger cut into small discs

4 cloves garlic minced

2 T lime juice

1 T honey

1 T vanilla

1 cup Duck or chicken stock

2T corn starch made into a slurry


2-3 T butter for finishing

In a sauce pot, add butter and oil when hot add shallots and saute.  Add all the ingredients and cook for 20 minutes.  Strain all the solids and adjust seasoning with s&p and adjust texture with a touch of cornstarch.  At the last minute, add the butter off the heat.  Serve.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with another recipe courtesy of Jean-Pierre’s Cooking School in Fort Lauderdale, where you can buy ALL the ingredients you need to make this wonderful dish.  (Picture shown here with leg confit as well).Duck Breast

Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir 2008

The Sonoma Cutrer Pinot Noir 2008 is a great bottle of wine for the price (about $25).  For those dinners that you want something a little bit more than white, but not too heavy as cabernet sauvignon, this Pinot Noir fits the bill.  Silky smooth tannings is what this one is all about.  It slides down your throat so easily it can be dangerous.  The bottle will be gone before you know it.  I paired it with my fish Roma recipe (see earlier blog post) and it married perfectly.  It’s actually smooth enough to drink by itself without food.  Either way, pick up a bottle or two.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with yet another Pinot Noir recommendation.

Chardonnay-Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips

Before we even get started I will tell you that I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like chicken thighs.  And to the collective gasps of you purists, I don’t like chicken on the bone period.  But just to see what everyone’s raving about, I did just that – made this recipe for Chardonnay-Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips – with thighs on the bone.  It looks and smells terrific, just like the picture in October 2012 Food & Wine magazine.  Let’s just say I will try it again next time with boneless breast of chicken and see what happens.  The flavor of the wine-based braising liquid and the parsnips is delicious.  I don’t like the dissection of the bird from the bone part.  Did I mention that?  Maybe I should repeat it, again.  So here’s the recipe written as originally intended, but , well, you know…..   This is Steve R Morse with a bird on the bone dish.

2T butter

2T olive oil

8 medium chicken thighs (although I used 4)

salt and pepper

1/4c flour

4 shallots, peeled and quartered

1 rosemary sprig

1 cup Chardonnay (I used Arroba Winery Santa Maria Valley Chard – made by Deerfield Ranch,  with the rest of the bottle to drink).

1 1/2c chicken broth

parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 425.  In an ovenproof skillet, melt the butter and the oil.  Season the chicken with s&p.  Dredge the chicken in the flour and, skin side down, and cook in the skillet on high heat to brown, about 6 minutes.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the shallots, parsnips and rosemary to the skillet, and cook, stirring for a minute.  Add the chardonnay and reduce by 1/2, about 4 minutes.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Nestle the chicken between the parsnips, skin side up.  Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Garnish with parsley and serve.Chardonnay Chicken

Lucy’s Favorite Coconut Macaroons

It’s always nice to get a dessert that is homemade, but who has time to make anything?  Nothing eats up time more than making dessert.  Whenever I need a last minute course to round out a dinner but i find myself out of time and energy (not to mention I don’t want to go back to the supermarket),  I make Lucy’s Favorite Coconut Macaroons.  Five simple ingredients that you can keep in your pantry.  A large bag of coconut flakes (14z), a can of condensed milk, 2 eggs (just the whites), vanilla extract and salt.  You want to keep it really easy?  You’ll need some parchment paper for the cookie sheet and a medium ice cream scoop.  It’s neater and faster than spooning out the mix.  Just get a big bowl, mix the coconut with the condensed milk and the 1T of vanilla.  Beat the egg whites with the 1/8t of salt and form stiff peaks.  Fold in the egg whites to the coconut mixture.  Scoop them out on 2 parchment lined cookie sheets.  Put the 2 cookie sheets in the middle and upper parts of a 350 degree oven.  Bake for 12 1/2 minutes.  Then rotate and switch the 2 pan positions (the top to the middle and the middle to the top).  Bake for another 12 1/2 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.  Done!  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with dessert in minutes.Coconut Macaroons

Olive Oil Warm Chocolate Budino

This warm chocolate budino desert is easy to make and looks like it came from a fancy restaurant.   Credit goes to pastry chef Jennifer Dolence for this cross between cake and pudding.  The subtle drizzle of fruity olive oil and the saltiness of the almonds crank this up a notch.  You don’t need a mixer for this.  Just a simple whisk.  What I like about this dish is that it is not overly sweet.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale adding a pound or two to your waistline.

1/2 c flour

1/2 t kosher salt

1/4 t baking powder

9z bittersweet chocolate

1 1/2 sticks butter

2 T olive oil and more for drizzling

1/3 c sugar

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

hot water

Salted roasted almonds and vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour an 8″ round cake pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter and flour the paper.  In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.  Chop the chocolate and melt it with the butter in a microwave safe bowl.  Whisk in the 2T of olive oil and the sugar.  Whisk in the eggs.  Whisk in the dry ingredients.  Pour into the pan.  Bake for 40 minutes by putting the cake pan inside of larger pan where you pour hot water 2/3 up the side of the cake pan (google bain marie, don’t worry, it’s easy).  Let the cake cool 30 minutes.  Invert.  Take off parchment paper.  Invert again.  Cut and serve.Budino

Sunday Braciola

I love making this dish as much as eating it.  Braciola (also called Brascole) is one of those dishes that looks a lot more complicated than it is.  Whatever you do, don’t buy the pre-cut pre-rolled braciola in the supermarket at the meat counter.  It won’t come out the same.  If you want to save additional time, use a good quality jar of marinara sauce.  I made my own.  After all, it is Sunday.  What’s a Sunday without stirring a big long wooden spoon in a giant pot of gravy?  You can use flank steak if you want.  I use thinly sliced top round (it may be labeled as London Broil, even though that’s really describing the method of cooking, not the cut of meat) and it works like a charm every time.  It’s a simple technique.  I like to pound out the steaks even more when i get them.  Then you generously salt and pepper them,  sprinkle them heavily with your cheese and herb mixture (I like to use three or four different cheeses, but anything will do),  tie them up,  brown them in your dutch oven, cover with the marinara sauce and white wine, and cook them at 350 for 2 hours.  It’s that simple.  You can’t mess it up.  So here’s your shopping list.  Pair this classic Italian sunday dinner dish with a hearty Italian red such as a Barolo or a Ripasso.  The ample tannins in the wine will cut right through the heaviness of the meat, cheese and sauce and will make this dish sing.  This is Steve R Morse in Fort Lauderdale with an italian feast.  Ciao!

3-4 pounds thinly sliced top round

1/3 cup parmesan

1/3 cup pecorino

1/3 cup provolone

1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons italian parsley

1 garlic clove

4 T olive oil

1 t sea salt

1 t pepper

1 cup dry white wine

4 cups marinara saucebrasciola

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