Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chef Chuck's Risotto alla Primavera

Risotto all Primavera


Risotto alla Primavera, is an Italian creamy rice dish, with tender spring vegetables. Arborio rice is used, because of it's high starch content. The rice is soft on the outside yet firm on the inside. Organic vegetables are always the best choice and organic broth. A healthy alternative for a dinner or a side dish.


Risotto Primavera
1 cup arborio rice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 pound asparagus, cut in 1" pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup parmigiano cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


In a large frying pan heat olive oil with butter saute onions, celery, carrots, (soffritto) and bell peppers for 3 minutes. Add rice and cook for 2 minutes to coat each grain, stirring occasionally. Slowly add about 3 ounces of broth and gently stir till almost absorbed. Continue to add a little broth at a time and wait until each addition of broth is absorbed before adding more. This process takes about 25 minutes. Add asparagus towards the end of the cooking then add parmigiano cheese and parsley.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Red Snapper

Dentice

Catch of the Day !

This crispy snapper was so moist and the tomatoes and shallots gave it a light delicate flavor. The fresh lemon juice added a bright zing! A great pairing with the garlic spinach and beans
for a smooth texture.

Red Snapper
1 pound red snapper
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup canola oil

1 tomato, diced
3 shallots, diced
1 tablespoon fresh
rosemary, chopped
juice of 1/2 a lemon

Spinach

fresh organic spinach
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup cannelloni beans
salt and pepper to taste

Wash and pat dry fish, dip in egg then breadcrumbs. Heat oil in frying pan and brown fish 3 minutes on each side, set aside. Pour out the oil and saute onions, tomatoes, rosemary and lemon juice cook for about 2 minutes. Plate fish and top with tomato toppings. Wash and dry spinach, heat olive oil in pan add garlic cook for 30 seconds add spinach, salt and pepper cook on low, till leafs are wilted add beans remove from heat.
Serves 2

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chef Chuck' Sausage Potato Bread

Pane  con Salsiccia e patate


A savory and flavorful bread, perfect for Sunday dinner. I decided to try something new today, so I used hot Italian sausage, thin slices of sauteed potato and sweet red onion. Imagine dunking your bread into the leftover sauce on your plate, and there you have my creation.

Bread
1 cup warm water
1/2 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 tablespoon salt


Add 1/2 tablespoon of yeast to warm water and sugar, stir. Let sit for 7 minutes (until foamy). Pour into mixer bowl, set to a medium speed, add olive oil. Mix in one cup of flour at a time with salt until it forms into ball of dough. Dust a cutting board with flour and knead dough for 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl, lightly coat with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and layer small towel on top. Let rise in a warm area for 1 hour 30 minutes - 2 hours. When dough becomes 2-3 times it's original size, take out and spread onto flour dusted cutting board and form into about 10"x14".

Sausage filling:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 hot Italian sausage links
1 small potato, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
pecorino cheese, shaved

In a frying pan add olive oil and brown sausage, remove and set aside. Cook potatoes and onions for 3 minutes, add sausage. Spread mixture on half of dough then fold over and seal by pinching edges. Brush on egg whites and bake at 475 degrees on a stone or baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Dough may be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in refrigerator up to 2 days.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Chef Chuck's Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad

Insalata Mista Verde


A fresh and healthy, light lunch for Saturday afternoon. Crispy greens, juicy tomatoes, crunchy onions and carrots drizzled with homemade vinaigrette is so good. The vinaigrette has a deep rich flavor from the balsamic garlic blend. The fresh squeezed lemon and Italian flat leaf parsley softens the vinegar and the honey sweetens the dressing.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 cup extra virgin olive oil


In a food processor combine all ingredients except olive oil. With processor running slowly drizzle in olive oil, taste and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.


Salad


fresh organic assorted greens
onions, sliced
carrots, sliced
tomatoes, quartered
stuffed green olives
parmigiano cheese, grated


Combine greens such as romaine, arugula, spinach, radicchio, butter or Swiss chard. Add all other ingredients, pour vinaigrette over greens toss gently and serve.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Cream Cake

Torta alla crema

This is a creamy, pecan cake which is great for any special occasion. The coconut compliments the texture of this dessert. The pecans are soft and crunchy and the buttermilk adds to the moisture.

Italian Cream Cake
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
3/4 cup pecans, chopped

Icing
8 ounces cream cheese,
room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons pecans, chopped
2 tablespoons pecans,
finely chopped for decorating

In an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, buttermilk, vanilla, coconut, baking soda, flour and nuts. Grease three 8 inch pans pour batter evenly and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes and place cakes on a rack cool completely. In a mixer combine all ingredients for the icing. Ice each layer of cake and sides sprinkle extra fine nuts on top and side of cake.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pasta with Prosciutto

Conchiglie con Proscuitto


Proscuitto is the King of Italian hams, it's salted and air dried with the right amount of time. Each region and city prepares proscuitto in a slightly different way depending on the seasoning and the climate. This delicious ham melts in your mouth. The saltiness of the ham blends well with the shelled pasta and nutty garlic.


Pasta with Prosciutto

1/2 pound conchiglic pasta
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound thinly sliced proscuitto,
cut in strips
salt and pepper
pecorino cheese, shaved


Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta till al dente. In a large fry pan heat butter and olive oil and saute garlic for 1 minute. Remove from heat add proscuitto strips, then toss in pasta and add salt, pepper and cheese. Serves 2
Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chef Chuck's Coconut Cookies

Biscotti della Cocco


These cookies are light and airy with an outer crunch and a soft chewy center. A hit of orange and chocolate in every bite, life is so sweet!

Coconut Cookies
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup confectioners sugar

1 1/4 cup sweet coconut
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon orange zest

chocolate for drizzling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk egg whites till soft peaks form then add vanilla continue to whisk till firm peaks appear. Gently fold in sugar, coconut, flour and zest. Let sit for 10 minutes for coconut to soak up moisture. Place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes. Cool and drizzle chocolate on top.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chocolate Torta

Torta di Cioccolato

This is a real chocolate fix, every now and then you must indulge in something very chocolaty. I found that this chocolate torta meets that standard! The texture of this cake is smooth and creamy. It can be served with berries, whip cream or even ice cream!

Chocolate Torta

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup butter

1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
powdered sugar for dusting

Slowly melt chocolate and butter over low heat, remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, add 1 egg at a time, vanilla, salt and flour. Pour in a buttered 9 or 10 inch pan and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Torta is very moist, cool, wrap and refrigerate. Dust with powdered sugar.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chef Chuck's Garbanzo Salad

Insalata di Ceci


Today, we were heading out for a picnic and a hike, so I decided to make this bean salad for my son. This is a very fresh and healthy salad. A simple and delicious way for a bundle of protein! enjoy.


Garbanzo Salad
2 cans organic garbanzo beans, drained
3-4 shallots, finely diced
10 kalamata olives, halved
1 tomato, quartered
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
cracked black pepper to taste
parmigiano cheese, shaved
zest of 1/4 lemon

Combine all ingredients toss gently and serve.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chefs Chuck's Italian Roast Beef

Roastbeef all'Italiana

Roast beef is the ultimate dinner, so elegant and delicious. A great meal reserved for the weekends when you have time to cook this slow tender roast. Before cooking always allow roast to warm up to room temperature. After cooking let rest 15 minutes before carving. I use the round tip roast you could use a rump roast, or sirloin tip. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy and those sweet balsamic carrots with pine nuts. Tomorrow we will have great roast beef sandwiches on our picnic!

Italian Roast Beef
3 pound round tip roast
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh oregano
3/4 cup red wine

1 cup water
1 cup beef broth

Bring roast to room temperature about 1 hour. Wash and pat dry rub with olive oil and generously add salt and pepper. In a large pan add olive oil and brown on all sides. Place roast on a rack in a roasting pan. De glaze pan with 1/2 cup wine then add 1 cup water, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Pour juice and herbs on top of roast and cook at 200 degrees. Cook 3 1/2 hours or till internal temperature is 130 degrees, which is rare. Let rest for 15 minutes, covered before slicing. De glaze pan with beef broth and 1/4 cup wine, add salt and pepper to taste reduce 1/3.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chef Chuck's Shrimp Scampi


Pasta con gli Scampi


Yesterday, was an exciting adventure, I did another live cooking segment on N.B.C.'s Arizona Midday and had the privilege to have met Conan O'Brien. The show was a lot of fun, I made a Bolognese sauce over fettuccine, served with a vegetable focaccia, salad and some great cream puffs. Everyone ate well. I was inspired to make shrimp scampi by Conan, during our conversation he asked if I make this dish and I replied, yes I do. So here it is!
Scampi are tiny lobsters, also called langoustines. In Italy they are prepared with olive oil, garlic, onions and white wine. Italian chefs, who came to America used shrimp instead of lobster, but kept the name. A must in this recipe is fresh lemons and parsley and of course the freshest shrimp you can find. I used bucatini pasta but you can use any kind.

Shrimp Scampi
1 pound shrimp, peeled, de-veined, tail on

3/4 pound bucatini pasta

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon zest, grated

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes



In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta al dente. Meanwhile in a heavy fry pan over medium heat add butter and olive oil, saute garlic about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper and saute till shrimp turn pink about 4 minutes. Remove from heat add parsley, zest, juice and pepper flakes, toss. Add pasta and mix and serve.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pesto Tuna

Tonno


This tuna steak must be very fresh, and at least one inch thick. Be sure to preheat the pan, so it sears the tuna, this technique seals in the moisture and flavor. Fresh yellow fin tuna is a lean meat, with a large flake. This is one tender tuna. The pesto adds another element of flavor.


Seared Tuna
1 fresh tuna steak
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
cracked black pepper
3-4 tablespoons pesto


Preheat a heavy frying pan over high heat for about 3 minutes. Rub olive oil on both sides of tuna, and then season with salt and pepper. Sear 2 minutes on both sides. Heat pesto and drizzle over finished tuna. Serves 2


Roasted Potatoes


4 large russet potatoes
extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
salt and pepper


Cut potatoes in medium size pieces, place on baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle sage, salt, pepper and mix. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes then toss and continue cooking 15 more minutes, or until golden brown.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chef Chuck's Pane di Fontina


Pane e Fontina

A sure sign that the weekend has arrived, the oven is on 500 degrees, and the stone
is hot. It's time to make the pane ( bread ). Fontina is one of my favorite cheeses,
and it melts so well. The pungent flavor of the San Marzano sun dried tomatoes from
last years garden add texture and color. The artichokes and mushrooms are an added
surprise!

Pane and Fontina
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar

4-5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
Makes 2 loaves

Filling for 1

Fontina, sliced
mushrooms, sliced
artichoke hearts
San Marzano sun dried tomatoes, chopped

Add 1 tablespoon of yeast to warm water and sugar, stir. Let sit for 7 minutes (until foamy). Pour into mixer bowl, set to a medium speed, add olive oil. Mix in one cup of flour at a time with salt until it forms into a ball of dough. Dust a cutting board with flour and knead dough for 3 minutes. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil, transfer dough and cover with plastic wrap and layer towel on top. Let rise in a warm area for 1 hour 30 minutes - 2 hours. When dough becomes 2-3 times it's original size, take out and divide in two. Spread one piece onto a flour dusted cutting board and form into a rectangle shape about 1/4 inch thick. Layer fontina, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and tomatoes on dough. Roll dough and form a ring place on a baking sheet or directly onto heated stone. Brush egg whites on dough. Place in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Chef Chuck's Risotto Spinach Soup

Minestra di riso e spinaci

What a healthy, quick, simple and inexpensive soup to make. This soup was so comforting since there is still a chill in the air, on this Saturday, in mid March. I used fresh organic baby spinach and arborio rice for this dish. I grew these organic carrots in my greenhouse so tender and tasty. The essence of Italian cooking, has always been simplicity, so here we go.

Risotto Spinach Soup
1/2 pound fresh organic baby spinach
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup arborio rice
6 cups organic vegetable broth
1/4 cup pecorino cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
optional: red hot pepper flakes

Wash and place spinach in a large pan drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and cook on low heat. Turn spinach leaves till they wilt, remove from heat and place on cutting board, reserving any liquid. Chop spinach finely, set aside. In a large pot heat about 3 tablespoons olive oil and gently cook onions, carrots and garlic for 3 minutes. Add rice and coat with vegetable mixture, then add broth and any spinach liquid, bring to boil, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper to taste, partially cover pot and simmer another 5 minutes, until rice is tender. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over soup and grate pecorino cheese on top and serve. Serves 4

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chef Chuck's Lemon Curd Ricotta Cake

Torta di Ricotta al Limone

This cake is so delicate, light and delicious and then add the lemon curd it's ridiculous! Fresh made lemon curd is a wonderful fruit topping or spread. Working with the organic lemons, filled my kitchen with a fresh and sunny lemon aroma. Always grate lemons first then juice the lemons. I recommend to make the lemon curd first as it needs to chill for a couple of hours.


Lemon Curd Ricotta Cake
6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup ricotta
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
confectioner's sugar, for dusting


Grease a 9 inch round cake, line with parchment paper, grease paper and lightly flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer cream together butter and sugar until smooth, add ricotta. Beat in egg yolks one at a time. Add 2 tablespoons flour, lemon zest and juice. Sift baking powder into remaining flour and beat into batter. In a separate bowl beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, carefully fold into batter. Pour in prepared pan and bake 35 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 minutes and turn out onto rack. Cool 30 minutes and then cut carefully in half. Spread lemon curd as the filling, then sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top.


Lemon Curd


2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter


In a small pot on medium heat combine lemon zest, juice, eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt whisk till combined. Add butter in small pieces continue to whisk for about 6 to 8 minutes till mixture thickens and starts to bubble. Remove from heat, pour curd through sieve into a bowl cover and chill at least 2 hours.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chef Chuck's Chicken Parmigiano

Pollo al Parmigiano


Chicken parmigiano is a breaded chicken cutlet, fried and broiled to perfection. Using the finest ingredients, such as the, King of Italian cheeses, parmigiano reggiano. This cow's milk cheese, has a sharp and rich flavor. The Italians take extreme pride in producing this fine cheese. No substitute can compare to the taste of parmigiano reggiano imported from Italy. Flattening the chicken is important, to ensure a tender chicken breast. Do not overcook so you have a moist chicken, 165 degrees internal is perfect, as it will continue to cook once removed from oven. Serve with vegetables and a side of pasta.


Chicken Parmigiano
2 organic boneless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon,
parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/2 cup marinara tomato sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Wash and pat dry chicken, flatten with mallet in a plastic bag, to about 1/2 inch thickness. In a bowl mix egg, 1 tablespoon parmigiano cheese, salt and pepper. In another bowl mix bread crumbs and 1/4 cup parmigiano cheese. Dip chicken in egg mixture then bread crumb mixture. Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium high heat, saute' for a few minutes on each side till golden brown. Using a oven proof dish coat with half the sauce, place chicken in and top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Broil in oven for 1 to 2 minutes till cheese melts and gets bubbly.
Serves 2

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chef Chuck's Mediterranean Bean Dip

Crema di Fagioli Cannellini

A Mediterranean bean dip made with cannellini beans, balsamic roasted tomatoes, shallots and more. A surprise of flavors popping on your taste buds after every bite. The white Italian kidney bean has a potato like texture and is very creamy. Roasting the tomatoes with balsamic vinegar and olive oil brings out a sweetness from those little grape tomatoes. The pesto was from my garden, last summer. I make my pesto and freeze some in ice cube trays and then place the cubes in a plastic bag and store for the winter. All the flavors of the pesto give the dip a mild fresh summer flavor. Use this dip as an appetizer served on bread, crackers, or cut up vegetables. It also can be used as a spread for your favorite sandwich.


Mediterranean Bean Dip
2 cans cannellini beans, drained
12 grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons basil pesto
3 shallots, cut in quarters
2 tablespoons organic sesame Tahini
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt


Heat oven to 375 degrees cut tomatoes in half, place cut side down on baking pan, drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over tomatoes. Cook for about 7 minutes, pull skins off and discard.
In a food processor add beans, tomatoes, pesto, shallots, Tahini, lime juice, red pepper flakes and salt begin to process. Slowly drizzle olive oil in, to make a smooth blend. Serve in bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Chef Chuck's Almond Biscotti

Biscotti di Mandorla

Let's get dunking! The almond biscotti are one of my favorite cookies. I have posted my chocolate biscotti in the past and they are both off the charts! We bake the biscotti a shorter time than usual, so that they are not so hard, but still dunkable!

Almond Biscotti

2/3 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour plus 2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate


Bake nuts 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees, cool and chop, set aside. In a mixer cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, vanilla, almond extract, flour, baking powder, salt and nuts. Grease a baking pan, divide dough in half, place on pan 1/2" high and about 3 1/2" wide. Bake at 325 degrees about 25 minutes, cool 5 - 10 minutes, cut 1" thick, and bake another 5 minutes. Remove cookies and cool on rack. Melt chocolate and drizzle on cookies.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chef Chuck's Ricotta Salata Pasta

Pasta con Ricotta Salata

Lanterne pasta has deep ridges and a semi curl, great to capture the sauce. The secret to this dish is the ricotta salata cheese it is imported from Italy, so it's made with sheep's milk. The ricotta salata has a unique taste, nutty, milky and sweet. It cooks well and grates to perfection. I have always been a very fungi friendly kind of guy! I use garlic just to infuse the olive oil and then discard it. A simple and quick dish ready in 20 minutes.


Ricotta Salata Pasta
1/2 pound lanterne pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, cut in half and crushed
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 shallots, minced
1/3 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste


Boil a large pot of salted water for the pasta, cook al dente.
In a large fry pan, heat olive oil and add garlic for one minute and then remove and discard. Brown mushrooms for 3 minutes, then add shallots for about 30 seconds. Pour in broth, heavy cream, crumbled cheese, peas, salt and pepper, stir and simmer a few minutes. Add pasta to mushroom mixture and stir, grate cheese on top.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Chef Chuck's Muffaletta

Muffaletta

The muffaletta, is an Italian sandwich, originating in New Orleans in 1906, by a Sicilian immigrant. It is a medley of ham, salami, mortadella, provolone and the olive spread. A Mediterrean olive spread is what the muffaletta is all about. The olive spread can also be served as an appetizer with focaccia, crackers or vegetables. This is a substantial sandwich for any large gathering.


Muffaletta
1 round crusty Italian bread
1/4 pound ham, thinly sliced
1/4 pound salami, thinly sliced
1/4 pound mortadella, thinly sliced
1/4 pound provolone, thinly sliced
roasted red bell peppers
slices of onion
1 cup olive spread


Caviale di olive


1/2 cup black olives
1/2 cup green olives, pimento stuffed
1/2 cup capers, drained
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
1/4 cup organic tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil


In food processor combine all ingredients, slowly drizzle olive oil in.


Cut bread in half, layer meats, cheese, peppers, and onions on one half. Spread olive mixture on top half of bread put together, cut carefully.
This recipe is for half of an 8 inch round loaf of bread.
Serves 2 very hungry people.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Chef Chuck's Italian Crab Cakes



Torta di granchio

Tonight I was in the mood for, long awaited crab cakes. I used a jar of lump crab meat this time but you also can crack your own. These wonderful flavored cakes have a great taste of the salty waters of the Pacific ocean. This is a treat do to the fact that I am packed in the foothills of the Rockies! The veggies and the lemon zest give the crab meat a fresh taste!


Crab Cakes
1 pound crab meat
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 egg
zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


In a frying pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and saute celery, onion, and peppers for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl combine cooled veggie's and crab meat with one egg. Lightly toss with Iemon zest, breadcrumbs, Italian flat leaf parsley, salt and pepper.
Pack tightly and form a desired shape. Store in refrigerator for a short while to help hold together.
Place patties in lightly oiled pan and simmer both sides to golden brown, approximately 3 minutes per side.
Serve with lemon wedges, makes 8 cakes.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chef Chuck's Cous Cous di Pesce

Cous Cous di Pesce

Fresh seafood and cous cous is a delicious meal. You can use any variety of seafood you like but you need some shell fish to add to all the flavors. Cous cous should always be steamed never boiled. Patience is needed to make the cous cous light and fluffy.


Seafood Cous Cous
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces diced tomatoes
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups vegetable broth or fish broth
1/2 pound swordfish, cubed
8 mussels
8 clams
12 shrimp
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped


In a couscoussier, heat olive oil and saute carrots, celery and onions for about 3 minutes. Add garlic and tomatoes, stir. Add broth, fish, salt and pepper and gently simmer for 20 minutes. The cous cous steams above the seafood. Add parsley to finished dish.

Cous Cous


2 cups cous cous
2 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt


Place cous cous in a large bowl, coat with olive oil. Using your hands or a wooden spoon sprinkle alittle water at a time and continue stirring till all water is absorbed. Steam for 20 minutes over seafood.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Chef Chuck's Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola Gravy

Bistecca al Gorgonzola


Steak for dinner once in a while is always a treat and a very hearty choice. Along with my Gorgonzola gravy and fresh broccoli it's a complete meal. My blend of sharp Gorgonzola and the dry Chianti seem to have made friends quickly!! The fresh sage gave the dish a down to earth taste. All together this is one tender melt in your mouth steak.


Filet Mignon
2 filet mignon steaks 1 1/2" thick
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup Chianti wine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon flour


Steaks should be at room temperature atleast half an hour. Salt and pepper both sides. In a large heavy pan, get it searing hot add olive oil and butter and place steaks in pan. Do not move, cooking 6 minutes each side or 150 internal temperature for medium rare. Remove steaks to a cutting board cover and allow to rest 10 - 15 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully add broth to pan then wine and stir. Add heavy cream, cheese and flour, reduce two thirds in volume then stir in chopped sage, strain and serve.


Buon Appetito!