Cauliflower Gold

The spices worked well with this cauliflower side-dish recipe.  We did love this, and definitely a keeper!

Cauliflower Gold
Adapted from Cleveland Clinic Wellness Editors/Chef Jim Perko

1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala (if this is difficult to find, use my easy substitute spice mix below)
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup toasted, ground almonds

1. In a frying pan, Lightly brown cauliflower in olive oil, stirring frequently (15-20 minutes). Remove cauliflower from pan.
2. Add spices to the hot pan. Lightly toast (about 30 seconds). Add vegetable stock to prevent spices from burning. Add tomato paste and mix well.
3. Return cauliflower to pan. Sauté 2 minutes. Add ground almonds, mix well, and serve.  Yield:  6 to 8 servings.

Quick and Easy Garam Masala Substitute
Use only 1 tablespoon in the recipe above and store the rest in an airtight container.

3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix well in a bowl.


The Black Sheep Restaurant in Whitewater, Wisc plus Chef Tyler’s Polenta recipe

We’re supposed to meet with Chef Tyler Sailsbery of the Black Sheep at 4 pm, but we showed up at his place (to me, the Black Sheep dining room layout design is nice and warm with interesting black and white fixtures) about an hour early.   Chef/Owner Tyler has this smile that is so welcoming and that really made us feel pretty excited to know more about his newest Whitewater restaurant venture and his menu offerings.

It wasn’t busy yet so we seized the opportunity and got comfortable with Chef Tyler who then handed us the menu (single white paper sheet shows antipasti, entrees and dessert on front page and wine list at the back page…simply perfect!).   The menu items were Chef Tyler’s interpretation of French and Italian classic restaurant fare.  Also written in the menu, “Sharing our love for fine local food!”, which Chef Tyler explained he pride himself of being constantly motivated to use fresh, locally sourced foods and ingredients  (from fresh vegetables to award-winning Wisconsin cheeses) for his well thought-out and inspired dishes.

I love hors d’oeuvres — and Chef Tyler’s bruschetta plate offerings were indeed a fitting introduction to this Whitewater gem, The Black Sheep restaurant.  The bruschetta appetizers (derived from the Italian word for “roast over the coals”) start with roasted Italian bread that has been rubbed with garlic cloves, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.  And the variety of toppings really offered that unexpected element of complex combination of flavors and colors  — roasted red pepper, avocado, goat cheese, balsamic fig glaze, brandied fruits, etc.  They all disappeared fast — who could resist the nice crunch and surprise flavors.

We did enjoy some entree samples as well.  Chef Tyler’s house-made ravioli stuffed with local farm lamb sausage and then topped with a fresh rosemary mushroom cream sauce and to that I simply remarked, “Wow”.

Then there’s the oven roasted lightly-seasoned salmon filet (baked to perfection and am pretty sure “fork” was involved to check its doneness), drizzled with a lemon caper cream and nicely resting on a cedar plank (yes, a piece of wood, and not for consumption) and over a square of firm polenta (really great flavors for such a simple side dish…Tita Veronica loved loved loved it).

And the star dish for me:  Pork loin glazed with Cherry Stout Reduction.   Pork was not bland and dry at all, and the combination of spices and fruity flavors just made this dish successful and I must say, to die for (hats-off to Chef Tyler!).

The standout dessert, the Chef’s specialty, Pot de Creme was perfection in both flavors and sophistication:  rich and satin-smooth chocolate custard, not too sweet and topped with macerated pears and fresh whipped cream (and note I only had a spoonful and the rest enjoyed by Tita Veronica, now she’s all too “frenchy-sophisticated” come Hall of Fame Awards Night!).  Chef’s dessert is indeed a chocolate lover’s dream come true…simply divine.  For more information, including renovation gallery, location, menu and wine list, please visit website;

CHEF TYLER’S POLENTA (oh-so-good!)

6 cups water   2 teaspoons salt  1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons salt, gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter and stir until melted.

Tyler’s Personal Polenta Recipe Addition:
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup diced shitake mushrooms –> sauteed in a pan with onion and garlic
1/4 cup baby bella mushrooms
1 tbs fresh rosemary  1 tsp savory   1 tbs thyme
Put this mixture into the basic polenta mix and combine.

We (Veronica, Joe, Glenn and me) all went home full….there really is nothing better than starting April with a happy tummy.

A party starter that is simple to make, you can even snack on this anytime.

What you need:
cutting board, bread knife, olive oil, salt, pepper, baking sheets, serving platters, and toppings

Bread Preparation:
Make 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices of crusty baguettes or Italian breads.   Arrange slices on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil (you may want to rub a garlic  clove cut in half or top with chopped herbs) and lightly toast them in the oven, 325 F, about 6 to 10 minutes (watch closely as not to burn the baguette slices).  Or you can brown in toaster oven.

Topping Preparation:
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
freshly squeezed juice of half lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
paprika, salt and pepper to taste
splash of balsamic vinegar (for sweetness, if desired)
Stir and allow to marinate to develop flavors

Place toasted baguette slices on your serving plate and put a heaping tablespoon of marinated toppings.  Garnish with strips of roasted pepper, chunks of fresh mozzarella, chopped basil leaves (and endless variety of toppings, check your pantry).   I usually squeeze more lemon juice on top. Serve immediately.


Here’s the press release from Christine Lindler of Flavorful Insight, thanks Christine…

Experience Local Flavor and Flair at The Black Sheep Restaurant Grand Opening Whitewater, Wisconsin

At the new Black Sheep Restaurant’s preview event, “Taste of Wisconsin,” you can meet, greet and eat while sipping local wines and microbrews.  It’s the perfect opportunity to discover how Chef/Owner Tyler Sailsbery combines locally sourced foods and seasonal ingredients with his own interpretations of French and Italian classic menu items. The “Taste of Wisconsin” Evening Grand Opening Social and Dinner takes place on March 30th and 31st. In addition to sampling signature appetizers and entrees, attendees will have a chance to get acquainted with some of the local producers whose foods are featured on the menu. Local producers attending the Grand Opening tasting event include Steve Pinnow of Pinn-Oak Ridge Farms offering fresh WisconsinLamb™ and Joe and Wendy Staller of Staller Estate Winery.

Chef Tyler Sailsbery was raised on a Wisconsin farm, schooled in the culinary arts, and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater, having specialized in business entrepreneurship. With an emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients, a majority of the foods featured at The Black Sheep are grown or produced within 75 miles of the restaurant. His menu offers a quality local food experience featuring items such as local rainbow trout, high-quality lamb, award-winning Wisconsin cheeses and fresh-from-the-farm seasonal produce. Some of the locally sourced foods have come from DaVALS White Buffalo Farms, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, Flyte Family Farms, Forgotten Valley Farms, Gourmet Delight, Don’s Produce, Under the Oaks Farm and Waterhouse Bakery. Locally produced beverages on the menu include Staller and Wollersheim Wines, as well as wide selection of local microbrews from Ale Asylum, Capital Brewery, Central Waters Brewery, New Glarus Brewing Company, Sprecher Brewery and Tyranena Brewing Company.

For the March 30th and 31st “Taste of Wisconsin” Grand Opening, Chef Tyler Sailsbery will be offering a sample of Black Sheep’s menu. From 4 to 6 p.m. on both evenings, samples of bruschetta appetizers will be paired with local wines and microbrews. The name bruschetta is derived from the Italian word for “roast over the coals.” The appetizer menu features of selection of specialties that start with roasted bread that has been rubbed with garlic cloves, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. The Black Sheep bruschetta varieties include combinations such as roasted red pepper, goat cheese and balsamic; and brandied fruit, goat cheese and balsamic fig glaze. From 6 to 8 p.m. on both Grand Opening evenings, entrée samples will include lamb ravioli, and pork loin glazed with cherry stout and paired with New Glarus microbrews.

For reservations or more information, contact The Black Sheep by calling 262.458.4751 or visiting the website at The restaurant’s hours are Monday, and Wednesday through Saturday from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., with Sunday Brunch served from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.  The Black Sheep is closed on Tuesdays.

The Black Sheep Restaurant is Downtown Whitewater’s newest dining restaurant offering a quality local food experience.  Serving local rainbow trout, high quality lamb to award-winning Wisconsin Cheese coupled with seasonal produce, truly adds local flavor to French and Italian inspired dishes. For a homegrown and hearty dining experience nestled in Downtown Whitewater, eat at The Black Sheep.

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Salmon with 5 spice powder and Sauteed Green Beans

Bold 5 spice flavors in this one….and it’s super yummy!

1 pack (1 lb, 4 or 5 individually-wrapped) frozen skinless salmon fillets
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon Chinese 5-spice powder

Green Beans:
1 lb fresh green beans, washed and ends discarded
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste
juice of calamansi (native lemon), or juice of half lemon

Remove plastic wraps and place salmon fillets on a square pyrex dish; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the salmon fillets.    Turn  to coat fillets with marinade.  Cover with a plastic wrap and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Bake in preheated 400 F oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes (flip the fillets after 5 minutes baking time) or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and is a lighter pink in color.

Meanwhile, saute green beans in sesame and vegetable oil until just cooked (still crispy).  Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of calamansi juice.

Transfer cooked fillets to individual serving plates.  Serve with sauteed green beans and cooked white rice.

No-fail Healthy Sushi with Rice Select’s Sushi Rice plus Texmati Pecan Rice Stuffing/Casserole recipe

Professional sushi chefs, obviously, use the perfect sushi rice to make amazing sushi rolls.  Me, a homecook, only knew one thing…short grain rice and not minute rice (am sure some tried with this as well…and found out it didn’t work!) make sushi rice.  Wrong!  There is really “real sushi rice” now in the market.  And that is certainly good news to me.  I’m not a sushi person.  Oh let me clarify that.  I love the sushi rice but not the seafoods (most times raw), the wasabi (that spicy green stuff), the  nori sheets and the pickled ginger.   When my hubby (who really loves sushi) makes me sit down with him in a sushi restaurant, I would only order and enjoy California rolls with avocado and imitation crab…and the sticky, sweet and tangy sushi rice.

Dana Ziebart for Rice Select Products sent me 2 rice varieties to try out — Sushi Rice and Texmati Rice.  Thanks Dana!

That’s a good start to making sushi indeed…having the right sushi rice to cook and then season with rice vinegar.  I wasted no time…I was excited to make my first-ever Sushi rice and I wanted it done right.  I have a number of sushi recipes in my files and the ratio of water to sushi rice from one recipe to another just made me panic a bit.  Most recipes use a 1:1 ratio, equal parts water and rice.   But I wasn’t too confident how it would turn out.  So I followed Rice Select instruction at the back of the container and used 3 cups water to 2 cups sushi rice…it turned out perfect consistency.

Basic Sushi Rice Making
1.  Wash 2 cups sushi rice several times in the rice cooker pot and drain well.   Add 3 cups water.  Turn on and let rice finish cooking.   Remove pot from the rice cooker base and let stand covered for 15 minutes.

2.  Mix your sushi vinegar: 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.  Stir to dissolve well.

3.  Transfer hot rice to a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle 1/4 of the sushi vinegar and mix (using cutting through and gentle folding motions) in to the rice.  Repeat until all sushi vinegar is used.

4.  Big help to remove excess moisture and create that shine in the rice is fanning it (yes, a hand fan, a cardboard, or a magazine).

Beginners to sushi-making should be using your Rice Select Sushi…it’s a very reliable product.

My hubby loves brown rice (I don’t) so I made Rice Select Texmati brown rice to go with a tomato-based chicken dish.  And he simply adored the rice, he ate them all, no leftovers.

Here’s sharing the press release…and a wonderful Texmati Pecan Rice Stuffing, yummy!

Recent research studies showed that US consumers who eat rice have healthier diets than non-rice eaters. Rice eaters consume less sugar and saturated fat, have a lower risk of high blood pressure and obesity and may be less likely to develop heart disease and type II diabetes. With that said, one company, Rice Select, is doing its part to keep America healthy this holiday season. It’s Texmati and Jasmati varieties are produced by American family farmers, are 100% organically grown (non-GMO seeds are used), naturally highly nutritious, gluten free, low in fat, cholesterol and sodium and both are certified Kosher by Star K. Texmati, the most widely recognized brand of aromatic rice in the US is available in white, brown and light brown varieties.

Rice the Essential Secret Behind Healthy Lifestyles the World Over

RiceSelect Helping Americans Achieve Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet with Award-Winning U.S. Grown Rice

When it comes to life expectancy, the United States ranks a dismal 50 on the CIA World Factbook’s rankings. Outliving Americans are people in places like Macau, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong, all which place in the top 10. And what do all of these countries share in common? Their traditional diets rely heavily on rice. Rice Select, the producer of U.S.- grown, milled, and packaged rice like their Texmati rice , aims to improve Americans’ overall health, and thereby their life spans, with a full line of award-winning healthy rice products.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the staples behind a Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, “traditionally includes fruits, vegetables, pasta and rice.” Additionally, the USA Rice Federation estimates that “rice is the primary dietary staple for more than half of the world’s population.” Not surprisingly then, the residents of the countries in which rice is a dietary staple often boast the longest life spans.

Production of rice is geographically concentrated in Western and Eastern Asia, with more than 90% of world output coming from these regions of the world. According to one agricultural researcher, “96% of the world’s rice is eaten in the area in which it is grown” therefore, the majority of Americans are missing out on the health benefits of this dietary staple.

Rice Select is setting out to change that situation with a line of U.S.-grown, milled and packaged rice products. More than 35 years ago, the makers of Rice Select introduced Texmati, the first basmati rice to be successfully grown in America. Since then, the company has added organic, whole grain, Royal Blend, Jasmati, Kasmati, Sushi, Arborio, Texmati rice medleys as well a couscous and orzo to its product offerings.

A flavorful, all-natural, aromatic rice, Texmati has earned Rice Select numerous accolades. It combines the qualities of basmati with those of traditional American long grain rice. Its delightful popcorn aroma and delicious nutty flavor have made Texmati the most widely recognized brand of aromatic rice in the United States. Texmati is available in white, brown and light brown varieties.

It’s not just its taste and flavor, however, that sets Texmati apart. The product is also a versatile pantry staple. In a Fitness & Nutrition column last year, the “New York Times” gave the thumbs-up to basmati rice. “Brown basmati is lighter and more delicate, and has a nuttier flavor, than regular brown rice. It works as a side dish, but I prefer to put it at the center of the plate in salads, gratins, stir-fries and dirty rice (beans and rice).”

Rice Select’s product line retails at national retailers including Kroger, Publix, Target, Safeway, Food Emporium, Winn-Dixie, Kings and countless others. For more information on all the healthful U.S.-grown rice products Rice Select offers, visit the company online at

About Rice Select

Rice Select is a leading developer, producer, miller and marketer of specialty food products.  Texmati is the first basmati-type rice to be successfully grown in America. Rice Select’s other products include Jasmati, Kasmati, Arborio and Sushi, as well as, Royal Blends, Couscous, Orzo and Texmati Medleys. RiceSelect’s products can be purchased in more than 30,000 grocery stores in North America. For more information, please visit


4 cups cooked Texmati rice (brown)
¼ cup margarine
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup golden raisins
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

In large skillet, sauté onion and celery in margarine until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing well. Spoon into casserole, cover tightly and bake at 375F degrees for 15-20 minutes. Recipe may be doubled and used to stuff a 10-12 lb. turkey.  Serves 6 people.

Shared Recipe: Sweet Potatoes with Texas Pete Fiery Sweet Pecan-strewn Marshmallows

You’d be surprised what’s in this sweet potato casserole dish — Fiery Marshmallows from scratch.  And it’s Texas Pete turning up the heat on thanksgiving side dish.  Thanks to Monique Moffit of the Sales Factory for this press release.

Spice up your thanksgiving with a traditional side dish, updated with an modern flavor

This year’s Thanksgiving feast is getting a zesty update, thanks to Tim Grandinetti, special events chef for Texas Pete® Hot Sauces.  The exuberant chef has taken some of the holiday’s traditional dishes and modified them with his characteristic “flavor bomb” flair.

One of the newly developed recipes featured for Thanksgiving is a Sweet Potatoes dish with “torched” Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Pecan-strewn Marshmallows. Forward-thinking home chefs are sure to receive kudos for bringing this new out-of-the-box recipe to the Thanksgiving table.

Sweet Potatoes with “torched” Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Pecan-strewn Marshmallows

Sweet Potatoes
4 Sweet Potatoes
6 Tbsp. Butter
1 Egg
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tbsp. Salt

Boil or steam sweet potatoes until tender.  Drain, then transfer to large mixing bowl & add butter, egg, brown sugar, spice, & salt.  Using an electric or stand mixer, beat until smooth.

Transfer to a lightly oiled baking casserole dish.  Scatter a handful or two of Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Pecan Marshmallows (recipe below) atop and cook in 325° oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and “torch” (evenly brown) the marshmallows with pastry torch.  Alternatively – broil for 5 minutes to achieve similar results.  Enjoy!

Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Pecan Marshmallows
1/4 cup Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Wing Sauce
1/4 cup Water
12 sheets Unflavored Gelatin Sheets
2 cups Sugar
2/3 cup Corn Syrup
1/4 cup Water
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

Confectioner’s Sugar & Cornstarch to “dust” marshmallows

Line a 9″ x 9″ baking pan with plastic wrap & lightly oil inside.  Reserve.

In the bowl of stand mixer, soak gelatin sheets with Texas Pete® Fiery Sweet Wing Sauce & water for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, in saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water, then bring to a boil.  Utilizing the whisk attachment, turn the stand mixer on low for 1 to 2 minutes.

Increase the mixer to high speed – start to pour the boiling syrup over the gelatin in a slow, steady stream.  Add the salt and continue to mix for 12 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and continue to mix for 3 to 5 minutes.

Scrape marshmallow into reserved baking pan and spread evenly.  Allow marshmallow to sit for 4 to 5 hours and/or overnight, until cooled & firmly set.

In small bowl, combine equal parts of confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch.  Remove marshmallow from pan & cut into equal pieces. Dredge each piece in confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch mixture.

For these recipes, visit the Texas Pete® Web site recipe page at

Shared Recipe: Stuffed Baked Zucchini

Please pass this on to your friends/family concerned with healthy eating….

Stuffed Baked Zucchini  (Vegan Optional)
(Source: That’s Vegetarian Host, Karen Bukolt)

1/2 c Quinoa, rinsed
1 c Water, vegetable broth, or combination of both
4 Zucchini, medium halved lengthwise
1 15-oz can Cannellini beans, rinsed
1 c Grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 c Almonds, chopped (about 2 oz)
2 Garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 c Parmesan (3 ounces), grated (Eliminate for Vegan)
4 t Olive oil

Heat oven to 400° F.

In a large saucepan, spray the bottom with olive oil, put in the quinoa and toast for a few minutes over a medium high heat. When they start to brown, add the water/broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.

When the quinoa is cooked, fluff and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, ½ cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and ¼ cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes for quinoa, 30 minutes for zucchini
Serves 4

10PP for a full zucchini. 5PP for half. Reduce to 9PP by using half the amount of almonds, and 8PP if you use only 1t olive oil and a little spray on the top.

Quinoa from WHFoods Website:

Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food stores throughout the year.

Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”

Fried Tuna-Turnip Cakes and Spaghetti Sides

White at the bottom and a light to deep purple band on the top, these turnips (peak season from October to March each year) are most often snubbed by buyers at the produce section.   Me, included.   When hubby picked up 3 turnips from our last visit to “Caputo” because he likes eating them, I had to be honest with him I have zero knowledge about turnips.  He grinned, “I eat ’em raw or include in salads”.  Really.   But 3 days passed, I still see those sad turnips untouched and already losing a bit of their smooth waxy skin.  So I had to give these neglected turnips some “rough justice” (favorite line from my favorite TV judge, Judge Millian).  But I had to do a bit of “research” first to make sure my turnips dish would be truly delish-iousness.

Turnips 101

1.  Small turnips have sweeter and tender flavor.

2.  To clean, simply scrub with a vegetable brush under running water and peel with vegetable peeler.

3.  Raw turnips will last up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator crisper.

4.   Boil turnips with a potato in the water to counter the bitter flavor in the turnips.

5.    Blanch turnips first before freezing them.  Blanch for 3 minutes in boiling water and drop them into a bath of ice water to stop the cooking.    You can freeze them for up to 9 months.

And how did I use those lonely turnips?  Recipe follows.

Fried Tuna-Turnip Cakes
You have got to try this for a meatless meal.

1 turnip, pared and sliced in 1/2″ slices
2 cans (5 oz each) Tuna in Water, drained well
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
Enough oil for frying

Cook turnip slices in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well; transfer to a mixing bowl  and mash with a fork.  Stir in tuna, flour, egg and black pepper.  Mix well with a fork.  Using an ice cream scooper, make tuna-turnip cakes and place in heated oil.  Flatten slightly with spoon or back of ice cream scooper.  Fry until golden in both sides.  Transfer to paper towel-lined platter.  Serve with tartar or cocktail sauce.

Spaghetti Sides
This is my go-to side dish to pair with my turnip-tuna cakes.

1 package (16 oz) spaghetti, cooked al dente, drained
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (10.5 oz) cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

In a large skillet or wok, combine cream cheese, canned soups, butter/margarine, milk and parmesan cheese.  Cook until sauce boils; lower heat. Stir in cooked spaghetti and toss well to coat.   Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle more grated parmesan cheese.


Creamed Spinach (Benny’s)

Benny’s Chop House is one restaurant I like to visit in 2011. Had a sampler dish at the March of Dimes event last year, and it was YUM. From Info Menu handed out at the event, Benny’s offerings include Raw Bar (oysters, jumbo prawns and shellfish tower), Salads & Soups (Belgian endive with goat cheese, pecans and mustard vinaigrette), Hot Appetizers (lobster ravioli in tomato cream sauce), Cold Appetizers (Wagyu Beef Carpaccio), Steaks, Chops & Entrees (Venison Osso Bucco) and Fish.

A recipe of the month was included in the flyer and it’s my fave side dish/appetizer ever.

Creamed Spinach

2 lbs fresh spinach, washed with tough stems removed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 teaspoon minced garlic (I add a bit more!)

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup heavy cream

Bring a 3 quart pot of slated water to a boil over high heat. Add the spinach and steep for 2 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh strainer, pressing with a large spoon to extract as much water as possible. Finely chop and set aside.

Melt the butter in medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, stir just until the remaining liquid is released from the spinach. Add the cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until the cream is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve immediately. (Oh serve with lots of tortilla chips, yes).

I can’t wait to try Benny’s Michigan Apple Tart, served with cinnamon ice cream and caramel sauce.