Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

Got Leftovers?

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Now that you’ve made those fabulous roasted carrots with ginger and turmeric, and yams, and rice …. here’s an idea for “refreshing” the leftovers.

Heat a bit of avocado (or coconut) oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until the oil just starts to shimmer. Add about 1/2 cup rice per serving and cook a a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Add the leftover roasted vegetables and combine well with the rice – you judge your serving size. Add a handful of fresh or frozen peas and stir to combine well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and heat through. If you want a little extra protein, cook an egg or add some tofu. If you’re using tofu, I would probably use a firm tofu and cook that with the rice.

Not quite a stir-fry, not quite a scramble ...

Not quite a stir-fry, not quite a scramble …

This makes an easy and satisfying post-ride or work-night meal.

Aaaah, a quick and chilly ride yesterday.

Aaaah, a quick and chilly ride yesterday.

I need to start gearing up for the 2017 Napa Valley Tour de Cure … will you join me this year? Please help to support a great cause and take the ride of your life!


Mushroom Risotto

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

This mushroom risotto was the main dish for Christmas dinner this year. Based on this recipe, I modified it just a bit. I added a lot more mushrooms (probably double and added oyster mushrooms to the mix), added a little smoked Gouda cheese with the Parmesan cheese, and I forgot to get flat leaf parsley. Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did double the original recipe, which turned out to not be necessary because the serving size was pretty generous. The recipe below is not doubled, so it will make about 6 servings. Be sure to allow about an hour for total prep (25) and cooking time (35) and do remember the parsley!

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Mushroom Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
about 6 ounces each: fresh shiitake, oyster, and crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 1/4 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio would be a good choice)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 quart hot vegetable stock
3/8 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/8 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese (or cut into very small chunks)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Make sure to assemble all of your ingredients before starting. Once you add the liquid to the rice, you’ll need to stir constantly, so have everything ready to go.

Remember to heat the stock and keep it hot and close by for when it’s time to add it! Make sure you’ve got some hot water available, too, in case you need it to finish cooking the rice.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the crimini mushrooms and cook a few minutes, then add the shiitake, cooking a few minutes more. Add the oyster mushrooms last (they’re the most delicate). Stir frequently and cook until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and the Arborio rice. Stir to coat the rice well. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are golden brown.

Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated, stirring constantly. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium low and begin adding the hot stock. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stirring until it’s evaporated. Repeat with the remaining stock. Each addition will take about 7 minutes of stirring.

Continue stirring until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy. You might need to add a little hot water at this step and continue cooking until the rice is tender.

Stir in the cheeses and flat parsley. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto ... warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

Mushroom Risotto … warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

I hope your holidays have been merry and bright, filled with family, friends, and a heaping dose of joy. Now, let’s get to some cycling – the weather is beautiful out there today. If you’re out and about today in Northern California, be sure to layer up – it is chilly out there!


A Little Rain … A Little Party …

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Sunday we had quite the little storm. I grabbed a quick ride in the morning and then came home to cook for a housewarming party (finally!)

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

Sunday morning, October 30th, near Pena Adobe Park.

A few friends came over on Sunday for a housewarming party. We had a fabulous meal.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Lynda brought some yummy mushroom brie and crackers.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

Herbed Chevre and Smoked Gouda.

The Herbed Chevre is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to “dress up” a plain Chevre. Simply take your favorite plain Chevre cheese, let it come to room temperature. Mix in some chopped fresh herbs (dried will do in a pinch), a couple of splashes of good extra virgin olive oil, and mix until smooth.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Crimini Mushrooms

The Stuffed Mushrooms are quick and easy, too. Here’s the recipe. I modified the filling a little bit – the filling was simply light cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, and a few grinds of Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend (paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, basil).

One friend brought a beautiful Corn & Shrimp Chowder, which I heard was fabulous. It had bell peppers in it, so I couldn’t eat it. What’s funny is that the soup that I made had peas in it, so he couldn’t eat my chicken soup!

Marsh's Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Marsh’s Corn & Shrimp Chowder

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Another friend made Pork Tenderloins with a Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze that was fantastic.


Rick’s Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Maple-Molasses glaze.

Of course there was salad …

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

Mixed Greens with Fresh Fuyu Persimmons, Pomegranate, Feta Cheese, and a light and refreshing Citrus Vinaigrette.

… and what is a party without dessert?

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate Tartlets.

Tartlets: Fresh Lemon Curd and Caramel, Macadamia & Chocolate.

The Lemon Curd recipe can be found here. I used pre-made tartlet shells … a little “semi-homemade” time-saving trick. I also cheated a bit with the caramel. I used Trader Joe’s Flue de Sel Caramel Sauce. This is my go-to caramel sauce.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful day. If you get the chance, would you please ride a few miles for me today? I’ve got to run to work now.

Foxy’s Fall Century 2016

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

For the last 10 days I have been checking the weather forecast regularly and have gone back and forth between wanting to ride and wanting to bail on today’s Foxy’s Fall Century. The forecasts changed a bit daily – rain, no rain, but wind was a certainty each time I checked the Weather Channel’s site.

By the end of the workday yesterday I had convinced my self that riding today would be a bad idea, but I checked the weather forecast again when I got home and decided that I would reevaluate in the morning if I would ride or not. As of last night, the forecast was no rain until late afternoon and fairly reasonable winds until about 2:00, when they were projected to be 20+ mph. I began to think that if I started early enough that I could finish the ride before these 20+ mph winds started. So, I packed up all of my gear and went to bed with the promise that I would make my final decision in the morning.

I am so glad that I rode today.

What's a ride without a fabulous selfy?

What’s a ride without a fabulous selfy?

For a couple of weeks I’ve been trying to get friends to do the ride, but no one wanted to. I have not been cycling nearly enough this past year, so I wasn’t feeling particularly eager (or confident) to do this ride solo today. But I really needed to do the ride, so I was quite happy when another solo rider pulled up alongside about 10 or 15 miles into the ride and we got to chatting and finished the course together. I was very appreciative for the nice company.

After the ride, the lunch was good – lasagna, salad, gluten-free bread, desserts (ice cream sandwiches, macaroons, gluten-free chocolate cake).

Foxy's Fall Century - Lunch

Foxy’s Fall Century – Lunch

By the time I got home, I was a little hungry again …

Golden Milk - healthy and soothing.

My new go-to recovery drink is Golden Milk.

The weather held out throughout the ride. I did not get rained on this year and the wind didn’t get that bad. Actually, the winds were for the most part pretty favorable today.

I know I said this last year, but … next year … the full century is the goal.

It’s Zucchini Time Again!

Friday, July 15th, 2016

So many zucchini … so many possibilities.

Zoodles ... there's a special gadget that will turn your zucchini (or summer squash) into "zoodles" ... a low carb and delicious alternative to pasta.

Zoodles … there’s a special gadget that will turn your zucchini (or summer squash) into “zoodles” … a low carb and delicious alternative to pasta.

My first recipe with these was a Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles …

Garlicky, fresh, light and healthy!

Garlicky, fresh, light and healthy!

To make this, simply prepare your favorite scampi recipe and when the shrimp are about 3/4 of the way cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside (cover to keep warm). Add the zoodles to the pan, adding a splash of wine or lemon juice if needed, turn the heat to high and stir fry for a bit. You don’t want to overcook these, so remember to work quickly. Reduce the heat to medium, return the shrimp to the pan, give a good toss to distribute the ingredients evenly, then cover to warm through. You do not want to overcook this or the shrimp will become tough and the zoodles mushy.

And, of course, there’s always the classic Stuffed Zucchini!

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

This recipe will have to follow later … I’ve got to get to work!


Rainy Night … Curry Night.

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

We are having quite the storm in Davis right now with lots and lots of rain (very welcome) and wind (not so welcome). It’s the perfect night for some super healthy comfort food.

In the oven roasting right now – fresh cauliflower, broccolette, and cipollini onions … a splash of olive oil, sprinkling of salt, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a healthy dose of curry powder. I’ll roast these on 325 degree Fahrenheit for about an hour or so.

I’ve got a simple curry sauce simmering on the stove just waiting for some additional ingredients. I’ve got frozen peas and corn thawing and draining right now and a girlfriend is bringing over some either chicken, pork, or lamb to cook up and add to the mix. I’m not sure what she’s bringing, so it will be a surprise.

To make the curry sauce, just heat a bit of either butter and/or olive oil in a saucier pan. Make a roux by sprinkling in a bit of flour and curry powder, then whisking together to form a paste. Gradually add some milk and/or stock and whisk until smooth. Simmer to thicken, whisking occasionally. Usually I would use chicken stock, but for some reason tonight I used vegetable stock. I don’t like that as much – next time I’ll stick with chicken stock.

We’ll be serving this with rice.

Mmmm … my house smells soo good right now.

Cycling the “Davis Hills” Today!

Monday, February 1st, 2016

It was a pretty breezy day today, with 20+mph winds on my ride. As you may recall from previous posts, in these here parts we call these winds the “Davis Hills.” I managed to get in over 43 miles total: 14 solo and 29 with my cycling partner. Most of the ride there was either a brutal head wind or side wind. Oh, but for a few miles there was a very sweet tail wind!

Saturday was a much better day weather-wise for cycling, but I had other commitments, so I only got about 15 miles in. Oh, but it felt soo good! I have not been getting nearly enough cycling in and the trainer has proven to be more difficult to get situated than expected. Tomorrow morning will be my first ride on the trainer.

Between Davis and Woodland, off Road 27.

We had some very dramatic clouds this weekend – this was Saturday.

This morning I made a scramble with loads of wild mushrooms, some fresh stir fry greens, chicken Andouille sausage, eggs, and just a touch of light Irish cheddar cheese.

Wild Mushrooms, Chicken Andouille Sausage, and Greens

Wild Mushrooms, Chicken Andouille Sausage, and Greens ready for the scramble.


013116 Mushroom, Greens, Chicken Andouille Scramble (26)

Served with some fresh fruit, whole grain toast … this will power you through those headwinds!

With the recent cold, rainy weather, I’ve been playing with some serious comfort food … this was last weekend …

Espresso & Stout Lamb Stew served with Colcannon - perfect on a cold, rainy night!

Espresso & Stout Lamb Stew served with Colcannon – perfect on a cold night!

If you haven’t tried Colcannon, consider making some. It’s basically perfect mashed potatoes with some lightly steamed fresh greens mixed in. A little milk, butter, and garlic if you want. I used Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed and steamed in just enough water so that by the time the potatoes were done most of the excess water had evaporated. Add a splash of hot milk and a pat of Irish butter and whip together with a wooden spoon to make perfect mashed potatoes, then fold in some gently steamed mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, and chard), salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy! Here’s wishing you many happy and healthy miles!


It Balances Out

Monday, December 7th, 2015

If you eat like this most of the time …

Fresh Wild Rock Cod with stir-steamed veggies.

Fresh Wild Pacific Rockfish with stir-steamed veggies.

Veggies! Lots and lots of veggies!

… and just a little bit of this … 

Holiday Treats

Holiday Treats – homemade, of course!

Then it all balances out in the end.

Just remember … if you’re going to treat yourself and splurge on goodies, splurge well. Enjoy homemade, real treats. Use real ingredients. And be sure to enjoy every delicious morsel to the fullest. That is how you can splurge and be satisfied with just a bit and survive the holiday season without gaining a bunch of weight.

Oh, and cycling lots helps!

For recipes to these yummy treats, see my previous blog post.

Chicken Cacciatore

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

One of my culinary “specialties” when I was kid was Chicken Cacciatore. I’m not sure when or where I first had it, but it inspired me to find my own way of preparing it. Growing up we ate lots of spaghetti and lots of chicken legs. So, why not together?

Initially I started out with jar of prepared spaghetti sauce, whichever brand my mom happened to buy (which was whatever brand was on sale). I simply browned the chicken legs in a little oil in our large Revereware skillet, then poured in the jar of spaghetti sauce and probably also a can of tomato paste. I would cook this on medium high heat until the sauce is heated through, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bones. We served this over spaghetti and generously garnished with that grated Parmesan cheese that comes in the shiny cardboard tube.

Over the years, my Chicken Cacciatore has evolved quite a bit to a fully from scratch dish including fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, fresh herbs, and sometimes onion or fennel, freshly grated cheeses, and NO pasta sauce from a jar. Perhaps a bit of tomato paste, depending on how much liquid the fresh tomatoes produce, but that’s the only non-scratch ingredient in the sauce.

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore … recipe to follow later.


Seafood Stew

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Seafood Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large fennel bulb
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 to 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes
1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh wild-caught seafood (I like cod or snapper, prawns, scallops)
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 or more large fresh thyme sprigs
1 large bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon (or more, to taste) red chili flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
Salt to taste
Chopped fresh thyme for garnish

Assemble and prepare all ingredients. Clean, trim, and chop the fennel into about 1/2-inch cubes. Rinse tomatoes and roughly chop into about 1-inch cubes. Rinse and pat dry fish and seafood, cut fillets into about 1-inch cubes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed non-reactive pan. Saute the fennel over medium-high heat until it begins to caramelize a bit. Add fennel seeds and tomatoes, cover and simmer on low until the tomatoes soften and the sauce is heated through. This will take about 30 minutes or so. At this stage, I often puree the tomato and fennel mixture to make a more smooth sauce, but you can leave it as is or puree just a bit for a more rustic stew (as shown below).

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy bottomed non-reactive pan. Add the seafood and saute until it’s about half-way cooked through. Add the wine and cook about 5 to 10 minutes to cook down the wine a bit. Add the tomato-fennel sauce to the pan along with the fresh thyme, bay leaf, and chili flakes. Stir gently to combine.

Cover and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Season to taste with salt. If your sauce is too thin for your liking, add the tomato paste and stir gently to combine.

Remember to remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving.

Serve with a good hearty brown rice, or on top of some freshly made homemade croutons. Garnish with a bit of feta cheese, if desired.

To serve, I like to place some homemade croutons (still warm from the oven is best!), sprinkle a little feta over the warm croutons, then ladle some stew over top. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll add a little more feta and chopped fresh thyme on top as a garnish.

This makes about 4 servings.

I've been promising this recipe for a while, haven't I?

I’ve been promising this recipe for a while, haven’t I? This stew is light and healthy, but also hearty and satisfying. A bit of heat from the chili flakes lends a warm comfort. Apologies for the lousy picture, I assure you this tastes better than it looks in this photo.

Homemade Croutons

Day old bread – a good artisan bread is best
Good quality olive oil

Cut the bread into bite-sized cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well to combine.

Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until they’re golden brown. You’ll want to give the pan a few shakes now and then, and turn the cubes with a spatula so they’ll cook evenly.

Remove from the oven and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. Sprinkle the croutons with a little salt – be careful to not over salt.