Sunday, February 23, 2014

White "Cream" Sauce with Garlic Olive Oil

I'll bet you looked at the title of this entry and started adding up the calories, didn't you?  Well, if this were a true cream sauce, it would have a high carb and fat content.  This sauce is just as good but much healthier for you.

This sauce is called a Veloute Sauce and has several variations. Rather than using a cream as the liquid base, we are going to use cooking stock.  We can use chicken stock, seafood stock and if you like, vegetable stock.  If you have the time to make your own stock, then by all means do so.  But if you're pressed for time then feel free to use store bought...I've had great success with Swanson's.

I've made this sauce before with chicken stock and used it as a topping sauce for chicken filled crepes.  I also used it as a pasta sauce and as a sauce over steamed vegetables.

Last night I broiled some fish and it looked just too plain sitting on the plate so I made this sauce using seafood stock.  If you wish to do this, simply season the fish filet with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder and drizzle a bit of  Joe and Son's Extra Virgin Olive Oil on it and broil until done.


Veloute Sauce for Seafood

2 Tablespoons Joe and Son’s Garlic Olive Oil

2 Tablespoon flour

2 cups Seafood Cooking Stock, (I used Swanson’s)

Pour the Garlic Olive Oil into a medium sized sauce pan. Warm to a medium heat and add the flour to the oil. Lower the temperature and stir until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add 1 ½ cup of the seafood stock and whisk while adding. Cook over low heat until the liquid becomes a sauce thick enough to coat a spoon, about 10-15 minutes.  If it is too thick, add the remainder of the seafood stock.

I don’t salt before it’s done, because sometimes the seafood stock can be salty. And be aware that if adding capers later, that could add more of a salty taste as well.

At this point, you have a basic white seafood sauce with not much of a distinct flavor. I chose to add some drained capers, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon chives,
½ teaspoon dried rosemary and ½ teaspoon minced garlic.*

Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.

When I plated the fish, I poured a little sauce over it and sprinkled it with some plain paprika for color.

* Feel free to season the sauce as you prefer…you could add Tarragon, Basil, Peppercorns, whatever strikes your fancy.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Marvelous Marinade

We all know that lean meats are healthier for us than those meats that have fat running through them.  We also know that lean cuts of meat tend to be tough and that's not very appealing. Well,  let me tell you that a good marinade can tenderize a tough piece of meat at the same time it flavors it.  This marinade can be put to many can use it to marinade beef or chicken cooked on the grill.  But it also makes a wonderful marinade for skirt steak used in fajitas.

Don't bother buying premade packages of fajita spices when you can put your own together in a jiffy and you'll know exactly what you're eating.

I'm going to leave it to you to select your favorite fajita toppings...sour cream, cheese, avocado, salsa, etc.   But, you can also serve the steak, peppers and onions over rice and it is mighty fine and you've cut out those extra calories.


Fajitas Recipe

                    Skirt steak, about 1 pound
                    3 medium onions, cut into thick slices
                    2 medium sweet bell peppers, assorted colors, cut into thick slices

 1/2  cup Joe and Son’s Persian Lime Olive Oil
1/2 cup Joe and Son’s 18 yr  Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt…or more, to taste
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2  teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup Joe and Son’s Persian Lime Olive Oil

                Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large measuring cup.
               Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir well to combine. 
Place the steak in a zip lock bag.  Reserve about 1/3 cup of the marinade and pour the remainder into the bag with the meat. Seal the bag.

Place the onions and peppers into another zip lock bag and add the remaining marinade. Seal the bag.

“Massage” the bags to make sure contents are well coated.

Place both the meat and vegetables in the refrigerate and marinade for 2 - 4 hours.


Pour the remaining ¼ cup of Persian Lime Olive Oil into a large skillet. Heat the oil to a medium/high temperature.

Meanwhile, remove the meat from the bag and allow the marinade to somewhat drain from the steak. Add the steak to the skillet; cook for about 3 minutes on each side and remove. Allow the meat to rest a few minutes before slicing it into thin sure to cut against the grain..the slices will be more tender cut that way.

In the same skillet, saute the onions and peppers, stirring often until the vegetables start to brown slightly but remain tender and crisp.

Using your favorite wrap, layer the meat, onions and peppers, add sour cream, grated cheese and avocado slices OR skip the sour cream, cheese and avocado and simply serve the steak and onions over rice.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Salmon En Papillote

Okay, we're done with indulging ourselves with our Valentine's Day dinners and chocolates.  Most of us probably threw caution to the winds and enjoyed meals that were likely too rich and too high in calories. So, it's time to get on track with healthier meals that will leave us full and satisfied.  We know being  hungry is the key to munching on the nearest available snack, but  adding lots of vegetables to a dish will fill us up and keep the hunger pangs away.

Normally, when I fix this dish I prepare it in the order stated in this printed recipe.  But I wanted to show you the amount of satisfying veggies that will help satiate your appetite, so I placed them on the piece of salmon, rather than under it.

Notice, too, that there is little clean-up involved in making this recipe.  And that's a good thing.


Salmon En Papillote

1 pound fresh Salmon, skin removed, rinsed and patted dry

8 cherry tomatoes, sliced and mashed with juices

5 scallions, diced

1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips

1 medium carrot, sliced into thin strips

2 small red potatoes, sliced into thin rounds

1 small mini bell pepper sliced into thin rounds

¼ teaspoon Joe and Son’s Chipotle Olive Oil OR cooking spray for prepping the foil

1 teaspoon Joe and Son’s Chipotle Olive Oil

1 teaspoon Joe and Son’s Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper

Aluminum foil or Parchment paper for creating a cooking bag

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil about 12’ x 16” in size, or large enough to be able to hold the fish and veggies when completely sealed.

Place the foil on a flat surface. Spray, or coat with oil, the center of the foil paper.

Salt and pepper the potatoes, carrots and zucchini. Place in the center of the prepped foil or parchment paper.

Salt and pepper both sides of the salmon filet and place this on top of the vegetables.

Top the salmon with the scallion slices, the mashed tomatoes and the bell pepper rounds.

Drizzle the fish with the Chipotle Oil and Lemon Balsamic Vinegar.

Tightly fold and seal the foil to create a pouch, leaving some room for steam to accumulate within the pouch.

Place this on an oven proof tray and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. The vegetables will be cooked, but still a bit al dente.

Carefully open the cooking pouch and spoon the juices over the fish. Serve hot.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Don't Go "Bacon" My Heart

Is there anybody who doesn't love bacon?  Bacon is a great way to start off the day as part of breakfast.  It's wonderful in a salad or sandwich at lunch.  And it's certainly a good addition to meat dishes and vegetable dishes as well.  Now we're seeing it used in dessert recipes.

We're featuring a wonderful, new spread we have at Joe and Son's.


Just one taste, and you'll be hooked. 

NEW! Skillet Bacon Spread

Silly? Disgusting? Try, delicious! I too was skeptical when approached to try this "bacon jam," but after one taste, was sold. It's made from Niman Ranch bacon which is slow cooked with onions and balsamic vinegar until it has the consistency of chutney. I tried it on a cracker with blue cheese and arugula (I had three), but it can be used as a sandwich spread, on eggs or as a base for vinaigrette. It is available in Original and Fennel & Black Pepper for $10.95 at Joe and Son's Olive Oils.

Kale Salad with Bacon and Chocolate Balsamic Vinaigrette

6 ounces baby kale, washed
½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup toasted walnuts

4 ounces bacon, 4 strips

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

½ teaspoon each of fresh cracked pepper and sea salt

Place the kale in a serving bowl or individual salad plates. Top each with equal parts of blue cheese crumbles, toasted walnuts and dried cranberries. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat. Cut the bacon strips down the middle lengthwise, then cut crosswise to make bacon bits. (Kitchen shears make it super fast and easy.) Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the pan from the heat and cool for about 3 minutes, (don’t drain the bacon, it’s part of the dressing). Add the minced garlic, stir to combine, and whisk in the salt, pepper and Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Drizzle with the warm bacon dressing and serve immediately.

Skillet Bacon Jam on Toast Rounds with Fried Eggs

​2 toast rounds per person or English Muffin

2 tbsp Skillet Bacon Jam (available at Joe and Son's) per person

2 eggs per person

1 full pinch chopped herbs for garnish

For the toast rounds you can use brioche or halah, sliced and then cut into rounds, or even easier, half an english muffin. Toast the rounds to a light, crunchy brown color. Butter is optional. Heat the bacon jam and slather on the toast round, quantity to taste. Meanwhile, fry an egg, sunny side up with the edges of the white nice and crispy. Slide the egg on top of the bacon jam and garnish with herbs (chives, thyme, etc.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Flank Steak with Bacon Balsamic Sauce

2 tablespoons triple peppercorns
1 flank steak, about 1 1/4 pounds
2 teaspoons garlic flakes
4 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat a stove-top grill pan or griddle greased with olive oil over medium-high heat to preheat. Place peppercorns in a plastic bag and smash with the flat side of a meat mallet, or bottom of a heavy skillet, until finely crushed. Season both sides of flank steak with crushed peppercorns, salt and garlic flakes.

Place steak on hot pan and cook 5 minutes per side for medium doneness. Remove from heat and let steak rest 10 minutes. Slice meat crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.

While the steak is cooking, Place diced bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp. Add Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, or until liquid reduces. In a small bowl, add beef broth and cornstarch, whisking until cornstarch is completely dissolved, and add to skillet. Simmer 2 minutes bringing to a full boil, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, spoon sauce over steak slices and top with parsley.

Shrimp Alfredo Over Beet Fettuccini

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and traditionally we associate the day with Romance and going out to have a romantic meal.  But over the years, we realize that our dinner out hasn't quite lived up to our expectations.

The restaurants are crowded; the servers are rushed and many times our favorite dish has been replaced by a fixed menu.

So this year, we're staying home and fixing a romantic dinner that is sure to please us.
If you're thinking of doing the same thing, let me share the dish we'll be dining on. 

I selected Beet Fettuccini as the base of this dish because it's colorful and red and that's a Valentine color.  Don't you agree that this was a good choice?


Shrimp Alfredo Over Beet Fettuccini

Alfredo Sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon Joe and Son’s medium Ultra Premium EVOO

1 Tablespoon flour

4 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press

1 ½ -2 cups half and half

1 ¼ - 2 cups good quality grated Parmesan Cheese

½ cup ricotta cheese

¼ cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes, or to taste

Combine the butter and olive oil and add them to a medium sized pan. Raise the cooking temp to medium and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and golden in color.

Gradually add 1 ½ cups of half and half. Stir continuously as the sauce slightly thickens. Stir in 1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese and continue cooking over low heat. Stir in the minced garlic, the parsley and the ricotta cheese.

Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add additional Parmesan cheese if desired and thin with extra half and half if needed.


1 ½ pounds of raw shrimp, veins and tails removed

3 cloves garlic, sliced

1 Tablespoon Joe and Son’s medium Ultra Premium EVOO

Salt, pepper

Red pepper flakes

Add the EVOO to a medium sized saute pan. Add the garlic and cook for about 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the shrimp and continue to cook until the shrimp are done. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

At this point, add the shrimp and the pan juices to the Alfredo Sauce and stir.

Plate the fettuccini, top it with the Shrimp Alfredo and add additional parsley.
Beet Fettuccini:
I used Pasta Mama’s Beet Fettuccini for this recipe. It cooks in about 2 ½ minutes and really tastes like homemade pasta. It can be purchased at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils in a 12 ounce package that would allow for 4 ample pasta servings.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Simple Vegetable Stir-Fry

We're still trying to eat healthier meals by decreasing the size of the meat portions on our plates and increasing the amounts of veggies we eat.  I'll admit this sounds easier than it sometimes is.  We have been eating less red meat and more chicken and seafood, so that's a good thing.  And we have become accustomed to serving ourselves meat portions the size of a deck of cards and that's a good thing, too.

This stir-fry dish, simple as it is, is quite good.  In fact, I once had guests over for dinner and served this as a side dish.  It was a casual, serve yourself meal and our friends were comfortable going into the kitchen for second servings.  As it turns out, this dish was popular and  there was no more left after several second helpings. 

One close friend asked if I would mind getting him another beverage so I got up and got it for him.  Turns out that was an excuse for him to eat what was left of the veggies off my plate while I was gone.  If that's not a testament to how good this is, I don't know what would be.

I like to  serve this with white rice and garlic shrimp or pieces of roasted chicken and then just toss them all together. But it is very good on its own.

Vegetable Stir-Fry
1/2 cup sliced scallions, white and green parts
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
3/4 cup carrots, sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup celery, sliced on the diagonal
3/4 cup bell pepper, sliced into matchstick strips
1 tablespoon Joe and Son's mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil  OR
      Chipotle Olive Oil if you like some heat to the dish
 Prepare the vegetables and set aside.
 Preheat the oil in a large saute pan and place all of the ingredients in the pan. 
 Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 9-10 minutes or until the carrots and bell pepper are tender, but not mushy.
Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Black Bean, Corn and Tomato Salsa

Tomorrow is the Big Game.  If you haven't yet planned on what you're serving to your guests or taking to someone's home...For goodness sake!!!!    What are you waiting for?

Okay, let me make your life easier by making a suggestion here.  This recipe makes an easy dip, salsa..whatever you want to call it.  But if you add cheese, avocado and sour cream along with some chunky pieces of cooked chicken then you have the filling for a sandwich wrap.



Black Beans, Corn and Tomato Salsa


3 Tablespoons Joe and Son’s Serrano Honey Vinegar

3 Tablespoons Joe and Son’s Chipotle Olive Oil *

1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika

2 Tablespoons Palma Ceia Honey….may be purchased at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils store

2 cans of yellow corn, drained

2 cans of black beans drained and rinsed

½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup finely diced celery

4-5 scallions, sliced and using the green and white parts

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice, or to taste

1 small red onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Combine the Olive Oil, Vinegar and Smoked Paprika in a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Add the honey and stir to combine with the oil and vinegar. Set aside.

In a large serving bowl, add the remaining ingredients and top with the salad dressing. Stir to coat the dry ingredients and serve with chips.

* Green Chili Olive Oil may be substituted for the Chipotle Oil if you desire a much hotter salsa.

If you prefer a less chunky salsa, feel free to mash some (about ½ of one of the cans called for) of the black beans with a potato masher. I’ve found that by doing this, the salsa “grabs” the chips better.