Tag Archives: recipes

Guy Fieri, vegetable fan? Sure, says Food Network star

Of all the celebrity chefs out there, there’s one you’d least expect to sing the praises of spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts. That would be Guy Fieri.

The spiky-haired champion of American comfort food is more associated with greasy chili dogs than salad — the fryer over the fig. But are you sure you know all the sides of this guy?

“I’m a big greens fan. I’m a big vegetable fan. I’m a big whole grains fan. And I exercise a lot. That’s how I keep this petit dancer’s figure,” he said, laughing. “A lot of people misinterpret what I do.”

Fieri has built a food career on a certain amount of flash — a rock star image complete with tattoos and jewelry, a fleet of yellow muscle cars and high-octane dishes including Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese Burgers.

But he’s also raised a family in the same Northern California house for the last 20 years, eats a burger maybe once a month, considers culinary innovator Jose Andres a hero, and says things like “I cannot get enough farro.”

Both sides are on display in his latest cookbook, Guy Fieri Family Food, with recipes that range from Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza to Quick Cracked Bulgur Wheat Salad. It’s what his family eats, with tips on how to stretch leftovers into several meals.

“It kind of moves all over the board,” said Fieri, who started with 200 recipes and whittled down to 125. “It was a full-blown family project with everyone involved and picking what they liked and didn’t like.”

Finding his role in the food world

Fieri broke into the mainstream after winning The Next Food Network Star. He went on to put his name on more than 30 restaurants across America and Mexico.

His best-known Food Network show is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, which celebrates small eateries that make dishes from scratch.

“I pick the restaurants and I pick the menu and I try to pick what they do best and what is creative and exciting for people to see. But the last thing I really want to do is the 10-pound chili cheese fry overload,” he said.

The show has created what’s called the Fieri Effect, a boost in restaurant revenues after he shows up. “I feel like the guy that gets to bring the Publisher’s Clearing House check to the door, you know?” he says. “It changes their lives. It’s not just giving them money. It’s giving them recognition.”

But as much as Fieri is cheered by fans for his down-home approach to unfussy fare, he’s also dismissed by foody elites who find his manner brash and culinary skills lacking. The New York Times in 2012 had a scathing takedown of Fieri’s Times Square restaurant, asking: “Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art?”

“I have to take the high road,” responds Fieri. “Everybody has their role in the food world and what they choose to appreciate. I’m not a fine dining chef. I appreciate it. I think Thomas Keller is amazing,” he says. “But I really like where I’m at, I like what I do. I like how it makes people feel.”

Fellow Food Network chef Alton Brown sees professional jealousy as the fuel of the anti-Fieri fire: “There are people who have plied their trade for a long time in the culinary world that might see a guy that won a food competition show and, all of a sudden, is a superstar. They resent that. They want to guard the turf and the purity of the turf.”

Taking liberties

Fieri is not exactly hunting for the next food trend. “I try to keep my eyes and ears open. I don’t feel that I have to be the first one to the dance,” he said.

He embraces a laid-back, communal approach to cooking and also encourages cooks to take liberty with his recipes, saying, “There’s not one way to play the song.”

Fieri has expanded his repertoire to include gluten-free options and organic foods, especially after the death of his younger sister.

Morgan Fieri died of skin cancer in 2011 — she is memorialized with a color tattoo on his left arm — and she pushed him to come up with delicious meals while juggling severe dietary restrictions.

“It really opened my mind. I think it was the last gift she gave me. It changed me as a chef,” he says.

With the holidays coming up, Fieri hopes to spend time with his family — wife Lori and their two sons — and he had this advice about big meals: slow down, put the phones away and have lots of courses.

“I say to folks all the time, ‘Watch what you’re eating. You don’t have to eat it all. Make conscious choices. It doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself and eat carrots all day,’” he said. “Have an awareness.”

On the shelves

Guy Fieri Family Food by Guy Fieri and Marah Stets (William Morrow Cookbooks, 2016), $30.

On the Web


Dish to WiG

Have a favorite restaurant to recommend for a WiG review or a favorite recipe or cookbook to share? Email lmneff@www.wisconsingazette.com.

Guy Fieri Family Food. Photo: Food Network

Gifts for those who cook and those who just eat

Barbeque and southern foods expert Elizabeth Karmel rounded up her favorite products of the year and suggests these gifts for those who cook — and those who just like to eat:


  • Williams-Sonoma has teamed up with Share our Strength and celebrity food folks including Ina Garten, Chrissy Teigen and Trisha Yearwood to create artwork for the No Kid Hungry Kitchen Spatula. Proceeds from the silicone spatulas benefit No Kid Hungry in its campaign to end childhood hunger in the U.S. Available in stores and online, 30 percent of the proceeds go to charity. $12.95


  • Sukeno Donut Socks are the perfect (calorie-free) gift for the doughnut lover in your life. Designed to fit both men and women, they come folded up and packaged like a single doughnut, and are available in six different “flavors” such as Oreo Ring, Rainbow Sprinkles and Berry Sprinkles. $15.50.
  • I use Revolo porcelain crumpled cups every single morning for coffee, and I love that they now have cups with a Christmas theme. The cups are perfect for coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate or tea. I’ve also been known to use the porcelain cups for cocktails as well. The crumpled cup feels good in your hand because of the indentation that the crumpled part at the top makes in the round cup. A set of two cups is available exclusively on their website. You can choose between a set of 1 red and 1 Moose design, or 2 other holiday motifs, Gingerbread and Santa. $39.99 for two.


  • The Wustfhof classic 8-inch Uber Cook’s Knife can be used to chop, slice, dice and mince everything. This essential, multi-purpose knife is a workhorse in the kitchen. The knife takes the traditional features of an 8-inch chef’s knife and adds a bigger “belly” to create a smoother motion for all chopping, mincing and dicing tasks. I like to think of the knife as a mash-up of the popular Santoku knife and a classic chef’s knife. $139.99.
  • I had heard that the Breville Toaster oven was so good that it could rival my wall oven, but I didn’t believe it until I tested the new Smart Oven Pro. I made a roast, a chicken, banana bread, and cookies as well as toast and they all came out as good if not better than in my oven. It also re-heated pizza to perfection. If you don’t have the counter space for the PRO, get the Smart Oven mini which puts other small models to shame. $269.99.


  • Ice Cider (think dessert wine) made from heirloom apples … can you think of anything more appropriate or delicious to serve with a warm apple crisp, apple cake or a nice wedge of cheddar cheese? Eleanor and Albert Leger, founders of Eden Ice Cider, produce a rich full-bodied ice cider from their apple orchards where they grow both sweet and sour heirloom varietals. A 375 ml bottle is made from more than 8 pounds of apples. They offer eight ice cider options including honeycrisp, as well as a smaller 187 ml limited release Brandy Barrel Heirloom Blend Ice Cider. $25.00 for a 375 ml bottle.
  • I met Brenda “Blondie” Coffman at last year’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival. One bite of her buttercream-iced cookies and her s’mores bars transported me to cookie nirvana. I gave my sweet-toothed father a gift of the Blondie’s Cookies cookie-of-the-month club and it quickly became his favorite gift. The beauty of this gift is that you choose how many months — from 1 to 12— and the cookies are different each month so you never get tired of the assortment. Each from-scratch cookie is individually wrapped and can be frozen. $29.99 per box.


  • The Cuisinart egg cooker changed my egg- eating life. Sure I can boil a soft-boiled egg but sometimes it’s more cooked than I like it, especially if I get busy doing something else while I’m boiling the eggs. But this Egg Central uses steam to cook the eggs which also makes them easy to peel as the steam prevents the shell from sticking to the white — just make sure to load them with the smaller point of the egg facing down. All I have to do is crack it under cold running water and the shell literally slips off. The Egg Central also comes with attachments for poached eggs and omelets. $39.
  • The brainchild of John Pittner who owns a kitchen shop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, this acacia-wood cutting board is made with a slight concave center that holds exactly 1 cup of liquid. It also has heavy-duty silicone treads on each corner so that the board won’t slip on your counter — especially helpful when carving. $49.99.

Kitchenwise: Tomatoes are the stars of Chilled BLT Soup

Everyone knows Joyce Kilmer’s love song to trees — “I think that I shall never see/ A poem lovely as a tree.” That’s the way I feel about tomatoes. Accordingly, Chilled BLT Soup puts the “T” in BLT.

Yes, there’s bacon and lettuce, and some toast, too, in the form of croutons. But the star of this show is the tomato in its season.

How do you know whether you’re buying a good tomato? To start, pick it up. It should feel heavy, which lets you know it’s ripe and juicy. Then take a whiff of the stem end. It should smell strongly like … a tomato. Once you get it home, store it on the counter, out of the sun. If it’s not fully red, just leave it alone. It will continue to ripen at room temperature. Don’t put a whole uncut tomato in the refrigerator. Chilling it will kill the flavor and the texture.

You want to salt your tomatoes ahead of time, before you cook them, a step that helps to concentrate their flavor. First salt the large tomatoes, which form the base of the soup. Then salt the quartered tomatoes, which provide crunch.

The tomatoes in this recipe don’t need to be seeded or peeled. That’s because you’re going to puree them in a blender until smooth. (Use a blender, not a food processor, which doesn’t produce a smooth texture.) Also, if you seed the tomatoes, you lose a lot of the jelly surrounding the seeds — and that jelly is where the tomato essence lives.

On the chance that you’ve somehow underrated tomatoes before, this deeply flavorful and refreshing soup will show you what you’ve been missing.



Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (30 active), plus chilling time

Servings: 4

3 pounds large tomatoes

Kosher salt

2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 slices bacon

1 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Black pepper

1 cup shredded romaine

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Core and cut the large tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick wedges. In a large bowl toss the wedges with 1 teaspoon salt and set them aside for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed sheet pan toss the bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil until they are well coated. Sprinkle them very lightly with salt and toss again. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until they are golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Set them aside to cool.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the bacon until it is crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When the bacon is cool, crumble it and set it aside.

In a strainer set over a bowl toss the cherry tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let them drain for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise with the garlic, the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the tomato juice from the drained cherry tomatoes and stir well.

Working in batches, transfer the tomato wedges and their liquid to a blender and blend until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the sherry vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the cherry tomatoes and chill the soup until it is cold.

To serve: Spoon one-fourth of the soup into each of the four soup bowls. Drizzle each portion with some of the mayonnaise and top with the bacon, the romaine and the croutons.


Nutrition information per serving: 380 calories; 250 calories from fat; 28 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 13 mg cholesterol; 573 mg sodium; 27 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 13 g sugar; 8 g protein.


Sara Moulton is host of public television’s “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.” She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including “Cooking Live.” Her latest cookbook is “Home Cooking 101.”

Ready to break the rules on salade nicoise? Grab a tomato

Salade nicoise was the first recipe I made when I lived in France, a country that later would become my second home as an adult.

But at the time I was 19, spending a semester abroad. A week after my arrival, my French was barely sufficient to order a coffee, let alone get me through my first French cookbook. Despite the language barrier, one thing that that book made clear was that a true salade nicoise never would include tomatoes because of the acid.

I stood at a turning point: Would I follow the cookbook’s stern direction (even I understood the author’s tone — the tomato thing was not an “optional” point), or would I include my personal favorite part of every salade nicoise I had ever eaten (dare I even call them that anymore?)? I left out the tomatoes.

Nearly 30 years later, I make salade nicoise on a regular basis for my family. It’s what I call a “tray salad,” or a huge salad I make by layering ingredients on a large tray, perfect for serving a crowd. We have a lot of family nearby, so if we have unexpected extra folks to feed, tray salads are easy to stretch. Just bulk up the tray with whatever extra ingredients are available. Toss on a couple extra hard-boiled eggs, for instance, and the salad can accommodate a few more guests no problem.

With several family members being vegetarian, I have created a tuna-free version that gets the salty-fishy-brininess from capers and nori seaweed, and the protein from creamy white navy beans. Of course, there is no harm in opening a can of tuna on the side for fish-eaters, but honestly, I don’t even miss it with this filling recipe.

By the way, years after studying abroad, I moved back to Paris and married a man whose mom was born and raised in Nice. Guess what? She had never heard of a no-tomato rule, which just goes to show you that recipes, even if written with an authoritative tone, are mere suggestions.


Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4

For the dressing:

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For the salad:

15 1/2-ounce can white navy beans, rinsed and blotted dry

2 tablespoons small capers

1/4 cup briny olives, roughly chopped

2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

5 ounces baby spinach or mixed greens

4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and quartered lengthwise

8 ounces thin green beans, steamed until crisp-tender, cooled

8 small red potatoes, cooked and halved

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 sheet nori, toasted, cooled and crushed

Lemon wedges, to garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar and herbs until smooth. Whisk in the olive oil, slowly, creating an emulsion. Add a tablespoon of water if too thick. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together the beans with the capers, olives, dill and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Set aside.

On a platter, spread out the greens. Layer on the eggs, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes and white beans. Sprinkle with the scallions, drizzle on the dressing and top with the crushed toasted nori. Serve with lemon wedges as garnish.

Nutrition information per serving: 530 calories; 200 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (3.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 185 mg cholesterol; 780 mg sodium; 63 g carbohydrate; 12 g fiber; 6 g sugar; 21 g protein.

Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.” 

Doing the impossible: Make a vegan Caesar worth celebrating

I’ve heard that many restaurant chefs despise making Caesar salads, but I don’t understand why. Who wouldn’t love making lemony-cheesy-black-pepper-salad dreams come true?

So my resourceful little self has always had a solid Caesar salad game going at home. My original recipe was rooted in the classic for years: raw egg yolk, umami-laden anchovies, nutty Parmesan cheese, tart lemon juice. I then top that basic Caesar salad with almost any protein to turn it into a truly satisfying meal. Steak, shrimp or chicken work well, but so do turkey meatballs, roasted pork tenderloin and — my secret weapon —  just about every kind of canned fish available.

Over time, I’ve adapted and adjusted my beloved Caesar salad recipe to account for changes in my family. When I was pregnant, I avoided raw eggs. My daughter’s gluten intolerance kicked the sourdough croutons to the curb. And my vegetarian niece and nephew had me searching for a worthy umami substitute for anchovies.

Recently, I faced my greatest challenge: a completely vegan Caesar salad for some dinner guests. No Parmesan cheese? I thought it would be impossible. But you guys, here is the impossible: a totally tasty vegan Caesar salad.

This salad gets its rich umami flavor from a cool combination of miso paste and nutritional yeast (not to be confused with brewer’s yeast). The croutons are back in for this recipe, but I just leave them out for my gluten-free daughter. To turn this salad into a fully vegan meal, top with nuts, seeds, lentils, white beans or tofu. And a note to my carnivore friends: Don’t let the word vegan scare you off this recipe. It’s also great topped with a few ounces of meat.



Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 6

1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews

Boiling water

1/4 cup toasted walnuts

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons white miso paste

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 tablespoons cool water

3 hearts romaine lettuce, roughly chopped

2 cups bread cubes, brushed with olive oil and toasted

In a small bowl, combine the cashews and enough boiling water to cover them. Let sit for several minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the walnuts, nutritional yeast and granulated garlic. Pulse until the mixture has the texture of sand. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the cashews and transfer them to the blender. Add the lemon juice, fresh garlic, mustard, olive oil, miso, pepper and cool water. Blend until the mixture is mostly smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing, then top with the bread cubes and the ground walnut mixture.

Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories; 140 calories from fat (64 percent of total calories); 16 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 330 mg sodium; 16 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 7 g protein.


About the author

Food Network star Melissa d’Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook, “Supermarket Healthy.”

Sara Moulton shares the secret to a vibrant green herb sauce

With St. Patrick’s Day looming, my first thought was that nothing would be more fitting than to salute the patron saint of the Emerald Isle with a fish dish dressed in a very green sauce, one that came by its color honestly, with no artificial food coloring allowed. A second later, it occurred to me that actually making such a dish might be easier said than done.

The problem is that bright green vegetables and herbs can quickly turn gray when cooked. They don’t like to be heated for very long and they hate acid. Meanwhile, fish — that most subtly flavored of proteins — cries out for acid.

It took bumping into several walls, but I eventually arrived at a sauce that filled the bill. This gem is packed with fresh green herbs — 4 cups (about two bunches) of parsley complemented by a quarter cup of fresh tarragon. For my first trial run, I finely chopped the herbs with a knife. The resulting sauce was mostly white with flecks of green. In pursuit of greater greenery, I confidently reached for a blender.

I threw in the whole herbs, unchopped, and pressed start. Nada. The herbs just sat on top of the blade. The third time around, I coarsely chopped the herbs before adding them to the blender. This brought them closer to the blade, but they still didn’t turn into the puree I wanted.

I’d been planning right along to add cream to the sauce at the end of the process. Now, as I climbed into the ring for the fourth round, I tried adding the cream (along with a little water) to the herbs in the blender at the beginning. Bingo! There it was, finally — a puree green as an Irish hillside.

Still, I had to be careful not to overcook it. The key is to cook the puree in a skillet with a wide bottom, which allows it to heat up in a matter of minutes. And as long as you wait until the last moment to add the fresh lemon juice, then serve the dish right away, the sauce will stay green, green, green rather than turning gray.

If you’d prefer to keep this recipe meat-free, omit the prosciutto. If you’re not a fan of tarragon, swap in basil or dill. However you customize it, this salmon will put one and all in a holiday mood.



Start to finish: 55 minutes (40 minutes active)

Servings: 4


Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups packed fresh parsley leaves and thin stems, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup packed fresh tarragon leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup minced shallots

1 teaspoon lemon juice


Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

Wrap the middle section of each of the salmon fillets with a quarter of the prosciutto slices. Season the exposed part of each fillet with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the salmon, reduce the heat to medium, and brown the salmon on all 4 sides, about 3 minutes total. Transfer the salmon to the prepared baking sheet, retaining the skillet. Bake on the oven’s middle shelf until slightly undercooked at the center, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender combine the parsley, tarragon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, cream, cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth puree. Set aside.

Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the oil remaining in the skillet, then heat over medium. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the puree and bring to a boil, stirring. Add the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 minute. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water.

Spoon some of the sauce into the center of 4 serving plates. Set one salmon fillet onto each. Serve immediately.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Sara Moulton is the host of public television’s Sara’s Weeknight Meals. She was executive chef at Gourmet magazine for nearly 25 years and spent a decade hosting several Food Network shows, including Cooking Live. Her latest cookbook is Home Cooking 101.

Cooking restorative veggie soups against winter’s chill

For the conscientious cook, January is often a month full of surprises. Not all of those surprises are happy ones.

With the fall harvest a vague memory and the holiday leftovers finally gone, January finds us digging through the crisper drawers in our refrigerators and the corners of our pantries in search of something edible. Blackened parsnips, pockmarked squash, spongy potatoes and onions that have become little more than bags of fluid rise to the surface with frightening regularity.

So we harvest what we can, compost what we can’t and make ready various pots and kettles for bracing soups to cure the winter chill. And, in a certain sense, we’re fortunate. From both a nutritional and economic standpoint, “soup season” can be one of the most culinary rewarding times of the year.

As a cooking technique, soup-making has been traced as far back as 20,000 B.C., about the time that watertight clay vessels first came into use. Hot rocks were used to heat the water and cook the plants that eventually became part of the soup.

The word “soup” comes from the French soupe, or “broth,” and can trace its origins to even earlier times. In fact, the word “restaurant,” meaning “something restoring,” was first used in 16th-century France to refer to inexpensive, highly concentrated soup sold by street vendors as an antidote to exhaustion. Homemade soups still perform that role.

What follows are a few favorite soup recipes to warm you up, tide you over through the cold months ahead and, perhaps best of all, make good use of root vegetables and other produce you have in the house, or can purchase cheaply at any good grocery store. 

Each recipe makes multiple batches — roughly six to eight servings — which can be shared or saved for future meals.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

16 oz. (3 cans) of black beans, rinsed and drained

16 oz. (1 can) of tomatoes, chopped and drained

1 tbsp. butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium onions, diced

4 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground black pepper

4 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth can be substituted)

16 oz. (1 can) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

Salt to taste

Puree beans and tomatoes in a food processor, in several batches if necessary. Melt butter in a large stockpot, then add garlic, onions, cumin, pepper and salt. Cook until onions are soft and caramelized (about 6 minutes). 

Stir in beans and tomato puree, then add broth and pumpkin mix. Stir well and let simmer for 30 minutes before serving.

Rustic Potato Leek Soup

3 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

1 large onion, chopped

6 to 8 russet potatoes, well scrubbed and thinly sliced with the skin still on

3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

3 tbsp. butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large saucepan and add onions and leeks, stirring until they are slightly browned. Add potato slices and just enough broth to cover potatoes, cooking until potatoes are tender.

Once softened, mash and stir potatoes until the desired consistency is reached. As the mash thickens, reduce heat and stir to avoid scorching the mash.

Add cream, salt and pepper, then cook 15 minutes over low heat. Remove and serve.

White Winter Minestrone Soup

1/2 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed

1 1/2 cups parsnips, peeled and cubed

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 cups lentils

15 oz. (1 can) of white beans, rinsed and drained

1 small apple, peeled and cubed

3 cups shredded cabbage

1 cup kale, chard or other green

1 cup toasted pecans

1/4 cup rosemary sprigs

1/4 lb. dried spaghetti, broken into pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in stockpot over medium heat, then add onions and minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions turn soft, translucent and are slightly browned (about 8 minutes). Stir in parsnips and celery root and cook another 5 minutes until fragrant. Add stock, apples, bay leaves, beans, cabbage and lentils and stir.

Reduce heat to medium, then cover pot and simmer 30 minutes until celery root and parsnips are tender. Stir in spaghetti and continue simmering until al dente, then salt and pepper to taste.

Pleasing persnickety partiers? There’s an app for that

With all of today’s food allergies, dietary restrictions and persnickety palates, how do you successfully plan a New Year’s Eve menu that will satisfy all your guests? Don’t worry — there are apps for that.

Appetizers pitched as small plates have become de rigueur for an increasing number of restaurants, with Spanish tapas leading the way. As food becomes richer, more interesting and more flavorful, quantity gives way to quality. The smaller the portions, the reasoning goes, the more selections your party guests can sample. The more they eat and enjoy from your offerings, the more memorable your affair will be in the minds — and on the palates — of friends and family.

But if you’re going to rely on appetizers to tell your culinary story, make sure you offer a tasty tale that lives up to audience expectations. Piles of chicken nachos and barrels of chips and dip are fine for football playoffs, but your holiday season affairs require more finesse. Your choice and high quality preparation of appealing appetizers will guarantee your status as the host or hostess with the most or most-est.

Here are some recipes to help you in planning your Dec. 31 soirée. All go well with Champagne. But, then, doesn’t everything?

Seafood Phyllo Triangles

4-6 oz. cooked shrimp or crabmeat

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 tbsp. scallions, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 dash each of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces

8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

Melted salted butter

Combine shrimp or crabmeat, cheese, scallions, garlic, Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces in a bowl and mix. Adjust seasonings as needed for a strongly flavored mix.

Place a sheet of phyllo dough horizontally on a work surface, brush lightly with butter. Layer another sheet on top and repeat.

Cut dough into 6 strips and place 1-2 heaping teaspoons of cheese mixture on each strip. Flag-fold each strip into a triangular shape around the mixture and lightly butter the tops of the triangles. Create similar packets from the remaining phyllo dough and mixture until ingredients are used up.

Place the triangles into the oven at 400 degree and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Makes about 2 dozen triangles.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites

9 oz. chicken, ground

¼ cup ham, cooked and diced

1 egg

Blend well the chicken, ham and egg in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add bread crumbs until mixture becomes less sticky and can be formed into balls.

Wrap chicken mixture around cheese cubes, creating 2-inch balls. Deep-fry the balls in cooking oil for about 4 minutes until golden brown. Set aside to drain.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then bake the balls thoroughly until cooked through (about 20 minutes). Cool and serve. Makes 12 servings.

Vegan Hemp Seed Tabouli

1 cup fresh parsley

½ cup fresh mint leaves

¼ tsp. sea salt

4 medium or 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 cup hemp seeds, shelled

2 tbsps. hemp oil (or olive oil)

2 tbsps. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Chop parsley, mint and sea salt until mixed and minced, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add tomatoes, hemp seed, hemp oil and lemon juice, mix thoroughly and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

7 eggs

2 large avocados

½ red onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

1 tomato, chopped

Boil eggs as you normally would until cooked, then let sit for about 20 minutes. Remove eggs to an ice bath and let stand for 5 minutes.

Remove shells from eggs, slice in half lengthwise and discard all but 1 yolk. Mash avocados and other ingredients together except for paprika and 1 egg yolk except for paprika and stir.

Spoon avocado mixture onto egg where the yolk has been and sprinkle with paprika. Serves 14.

With holiday cookies, go big or go home — go bourbon cherry bars!

There is something immensely satisfying about bar cookies. They just have so much more heft than a typical cookie. And in our world, cookie heft translates into serious satisfaction.

So when we created this bar cookie, we decided to go heavy on the indulgence. After all, it is the holidays. We started with a basic pecan-brown sugar base, then heaped a rich bourbon-cherry topping over it. For good measure, we glazed the whole thing with a bit more bourbon and brown sugar. Bourbon not your speed? Substitute rum or brandy.


Start to finish: 45 minutes Makes 16 bars

1 cup pecans, toasted and cooled, plus extra to garnish

1 cup all-purpose flour

6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 tsp table salt

3/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided

1 egg

2 cups dried cherries

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup plus 4 tsp bourbon, divided

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F. Mist an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line the bottom with kitchen parchment, letting it also go up the sides.

In a food processor, pulse together the pecans and flour until the pecans are very finely chopped. Don’t over-process or the mixture will become gummy.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, salt and 1/2 cup of the brown sugar together until creamy. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pecan-flour mixture just until a dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the cherry topping. In a food processor, pulse the cherries until the pieces are no bigger than 1/4 inch.

In a small saucepan, combine the cherries, cinnamon, orange juice, 1/4 cup of the bourbon, and the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. When the crust is ready, spread the cherry mixture over the top. Allow to cool. Using the parchment paper to assist, pull the bars from the pan, removing and discarding the paper.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 4 teaspoons of bourbon and the powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the tops of the bars, then garnish with pecans. Cut into pieces and serve. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 week.

You won’t miss the meat or bread in this veggie oven hash

Heading into crisp weather, I crave the holiday classics that beg to be made this time of year. One of my favorites is stuffing. Seasoned cubes of dried bread sautéed with celery, onion, herbs and butter, then baked up to crispy-outside-soft-inside perfection?

Yes, please!

Except: My extended family has three vegetarians and my daughter is gluten-free. So my challenge was to make a dish that scratches the stuffing itch for them without making it seem like the ugly duckling of the Thanksgiving table. The solution ended up being a roasted vegetable medley that I promise will be the most-requested recipe of your holiday. It is that good, and full of nutrients, too.

To make that happen, I rely on a mix of roasted vegetables for a caramelized sweetness that feels roasty and homey. And I add meaty mushrooms sautéed in garlic and the trifecta of holiday cooking herbs: rosemary, sage and thyme. A Granny Smith apple cut into tiny cubes brings just enough acid for depth, while a surprise little hero tucked into the recipe — toasted walnuts — adds texture, along with some nice healthy fats to fill up vegetarians who will be skipping the turkey.

Easy, healthy and satisfying. Your healthy or vegan or gluten-free guests will feel satisfied, not sidelined.


Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 8


2 ½ cups cubed butternut squash

Olive oil

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

2 cups small cauliflower florets

2 cups small broccoli florets

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary

1 tbsp minced fresh sage

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped


Heat the oven to 400 F. Line two baking sheets with kitchen parchment or foil.

Mound the squash on one of the baking sheets then drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of oil. Toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange evenly, then roast until tender, 30 to 35 minutes, turning once or twice.

While the squash is roasting, mound the cauliflower and broccoli on the second sheet. Drizzle them with 2 teaspoons of oil, season with salt and pepper, then arrange in an even layer and roast for 25 minutes, turning halfway through or until the cauliflower is golden. All of the vegetables should finish roasting around the same time. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, then sauté until the mushrooms are starting to get tender, about 7 minutes. Add the apple, thyme, rosemary and sage, then cook another 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender (but not floppy). Stir in the lemon juice, remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the slightly cooled roasted vegetables and the toasted walnuts. Stir and adjust seasoning if needed.