Sautéed Chicken Breasts Provençal

Fresh and flavorful, this is the perfect weeknight dinner.  From the kitchen counter to the table in 20 minutes, this dish allows you time to dream Provençal dreams! Have your butcher pound out the chicken breasts for you to save time.

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt & fresh pepper to taste
  • Crushed hot red pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped (use italian canned if necessary)
  • 1 cup pitted black niçoise style olives
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbs chopped parsley
  • A handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Season flour w/ plenty of salt & pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour, patting off excess flour.
  2. Heat 2 tbs oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Sauté the chicken on both sides for approximately 1½ minutes per side. Remove breasts from pan and tent w/ foil. Drain excess oil fro pan.
  3. Add 2 additional tbs oil to pan and sauté onions, garlic, crushed hot peppers (if using), yellow and red peppers on medium heat for 5 minutes, until onions and peppers are softened.  Increase heat to medium high heat and add tomatoes, olives and white wine to skillet and cook for 5 -10 minutes, until wine is nearly evaporated.  Add parsley, basil, salt, pepper and any juices, which have accumulated under the chicken to the pan, and cook sauce for 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add chicken to the skillet with the sauce and turn the filets over in the sauce two or three times to reheat and blend flavors.  Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and pour the sauce over.  Garnish with additional fresh basil, finely sliced.

Serves 4

 

Herbed Couscous

 

  • 1 cup instant couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 scallion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint, parlsey, and chives
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp salt & fresh pepper to taste

 

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in medium sized pot. Add scallion and garlic seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.  Saute for 2-3 mintues until scallion is wilted, being careful not to burn.
  2. Add couscous and stir to coat with the oil.
  3. Add boiling water, herbs and lemon juice, stirring well, cover and remove from heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Fluff couscous before serving and serve immediately.

 

Serves 4

French Country Cake with Strawberries

 

Simple and simply delicious, this cake is adored by everyone!  Perfect for a light dessert, at tea time or even for breakfast, this cake is moist, full of fruit and not too sweet.  Use the freshest and sweetest strawberries available and try it with a dollop of Crème Fraiche

Simple and simply delicious, this cake is adored by everyone! Perfect for a light dessert, at tea time or even for breakfast, this cake is moist, full of fruit and not too sweet. Use the freshest and sweetest strawberries available and try it with a dollop of Crème Fraiche

  • 1 cup sugar, plus additional 1 tablespoon for topping
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 quart of fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried, stemmed and cut in half.

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a round 9” cake layer pan.
  2. In a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together on medium speed, until creamed, about 3 minutes.
  3. Beat in eggs thoroughly, one at a time and then vanilla  Set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to the creamed butter mixture, ¼ cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
  5. Arrange strawberries in a circular pattern in two rows on the cake batter with the tips pointing towards the rim of the pan.
  6. Sprinkle strawberries with sugar and bake until cake is set and light golden, about 50-55 minutes.  The fruit will sink into the batter.
  7. Cool pan for 10 minutes on a rack.  Carefully, run a knife around the side of the cake and unmold.  Allow cake to cool on a rack and serve at room temperature.

 

Serves 6

Artichoke Bruschetta

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

  • 1 small baguette, sliced thinly into about ¾’’ slices
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 chopped finely, 1 left whole
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese, grated on a rasp or microplane grater

 

  1. Spread drained artichokes on a clean kitchen towel and blot with paper towels to dry as thoroughly as possible.
  2. Heat a stainless steel sauté pan on medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil until oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking.
  3. Carefully place the artichokes in the hot pan and season with salt + pepper.  Allow artichokes to brown before turning, cooking until they are colored, brown + crisp looking. Add chopped garlic clove , stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn, but softens.  Allow artichoke mixture to cool.  When cool enough to touch, roughly chop the artichoke hearts on a cutting board and transfer to a bowl .
  4. Add half of cheese to chopped artichokes reserving balance for garnish and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and sprinkle with mint, reserving a small bit for garnish, stirring to combine.
  5. Place bread slices on a sheet pan lined with foil. Using a silicone brush, lightly brush bread with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toast bread slices until lightly browned and toasted or alternately, grill bread slices until golden brown with grill marks on the grill.
  6. Allow bread to cool until you can lift a slice without burning your fingers and then rub each slice of toasted bread with the peeled whole  garlic clove.
  7. Top each toast with a teaspoon of artichoke mixture, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cheese and more mint.
  8. Serve immediately.  The artichoke mixture can be prepared earlier in the day and reserved covered on the counter top, assembling the toasts when ready to serve.

 

Makes approx 18 toasts

 

 

Grilled Greek Island Style Chicken Breasts

Grilled boneless chicken breasts served warm with a cool, Greek style chopped salad on top is the perfect summer dish for a breezy, al fresco dinner

Grilled boneless chicken breasts served warm with a cool, Greek style chopped salad on top is the perfect summer dish for a breezy, al fresco dinner

  •  4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded 3/4” thin

For the marinade

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tblespoons chopped mint
  • Salt & pepper

For the garnish

  • 1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons sweet vidalia type onion, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons small capers in brine, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoons each, flat leaf parsley and mint chopped for garnish

 

 

  1.  Marinate chicken breasts for one hour in marinade.
  2. Prepare garnish by combining all ingredients and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.  Garnish may be made up to 6 hours ahead, but do not add feta cheese until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat grill to high heat.  Grill chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, remove chicken from the grill and place on serving platter, spooning garnish directly over chicken.
  4. Serve immediately, or at room temperature as part of a buffet.
Serves 4

Grilled Asparagus

Grilling asparagus imparts a charred, sweet, smokey flavor and is equally as delicious served hot, warm, at room temperature or, as part of a buffet or even chilled in a salad, total versatility!

Grilling asparagus imparts a charred, sweet, smokey flavor and is equally as delicious served hot, warm, at room temperature or, as part of a buffet or even chilled in a salad, total versatility!

  • 1 pound green asparagus
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & fresh black pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest.
  1. Wash and trim asparagus, drying thoroughly.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat.
  3. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and coat thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle asparagus with liberal amounts of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Grill until nicely charred, rolling constantly over grates.
  6. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with lemon zest.
  7. Serve immediately or at room temperature as part of a buffet.
Serves 4

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Scented Yogurt

Grilling ripe peaches adds smoke and the flavor of caramel, while concentrating the sugar in the fruit. A quick, healthy, Summer dessert, prepared just before grilling dinner only needs a small dollop of yogurt to add some elegance. May be served warm or at room temperature.

Grilling ripe peaches adds smoke and the flavor of caramel, while concentrating the sugar in the fruit. A quick, healthy, Summer dessert, prepared just before grilling dinner only needs a small dollop of yogurt to add some elegance. May be served warm or at room temperature.

  • 2 tbs butter, melted
  • 4 ripe peaches, halved and seeded
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Julienned mint for garnish

 

  1. Mix yogurt with honey and vanilla and combine well.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.
  2. Heat grill to medium high heat, oiling grates well to prevent fruit from sticking.
  3. Using a basting brush, baste peaches lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with a light coating of sugar to taste.  The riper the peach, the less sugar needed.
  4. Grill peaches for 2 minutes per side until marked by grill.
  5. Allow to cool slightly and serve garnished with a dollop of cream or yogurt and mint. May be served at room temperature.

 

Serves 4

photo by Kristi Senat

 

 

Sangria Fontellina

Fontellina is the chic Italian restaurant/beach club seaside in Capri. Spend the day there lounging on the rocks in the sun, swimming in the inky blue Mediterranean Sea, eating the divine food and drinking their famous “Sangria”. La Dolce vita starts and ends here!

Fontellina is the chic Italian restaurant/beach club seaside in Capri. Spend the day there lounging on the rocks in the sun, swimming in the inky blue Mediterranean Sea, eating the divine food and drinking their famous “Sangria”. La Dolce vita starts and ends here!

  • 1 Bottle of chilled dry white wine (I like Pinot Grigio)
  • 4 Ripe peaches, each peeled, pit removed and sliced into 8 slices
  • 4 Ripe plums, each peeled, pit removed and sliced into 8 slices
  • 4 Ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced into quarters
  • 15 Seedless white grapes, sliced in half
  • 2 Mint Sprigs
  • Ice for serving

 

    1. Place all ingredients in a large glass pitcher and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours.
    1. Stir Well, serve over ice in a wine glass and enjoy

 

Green Pea Soup with Mint

Bright emerald green and bursting with clean, fresh mint flavor, this soup is so simple and like a breath of new spring air.  Serve it warm on a chilly night or icy cold as a warm weather lunch.

Bright emerald green and bursting with clean, fresh mint flavor, this soup is so simple and like a breath of new spring air. Serve it warm on a chilly night or icy cold as a warm weather lunch.

 

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 small bag of frozen baby peas
  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 cups of water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs Crème Fraîche stirred together with salt to taste (for garnish)
  1. Heat oil in medium sized pot on medium heat.
  2. Sauté scallions, seasoning with salt and pepper, stirring often for several minutes.
  3. Add peas, mint, water, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until peas are cooked but till bright green.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender.  Blend carefully, allowing steam to escape, stirring and scraping blender container as necessary.
  6. Continue to blend until all ingredients are well pureed.  Add some additional water if necessary to thin the soup.
  7. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately or allow cool, refrigerating and serving the next day.
  9. Garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

 

Note: Be extra careful when blending hot ingredients in a blender to allow some hot air to escape while blending ingredients, by slightly moving lid to a side position or removing the center plastic part of the lid and covering with a towel so the ingredients don’t splatter.  Neglecting this step can cause a hot explosion.

 

Serves 4

photo by Kristi Senat

 

Patrón Black Cherry Margarita

  • 1.5 oz patrón silver tequilla
  • ½ oz orange liquor such as cointreau
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup fresh, pitted black cherries, pureed with an immersion blender
  • Lime for garnish

 

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a shaker glass filled ith ice and shake well.
  2. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with lime.  Drink while icy cold.
Makes 1 Cocktail