Food and Wine Magazine: Recipes

Part of making a healthy lifestyle a priority is taking the time to cook well rounded meals.

Part of making a healthy lifestyle a priority is taking the time to cook well rounded meals.  I’ll be the first to admit that I am not one to spend a lot of time in the kitchen; however, I do want to help my kids learn the importance of cooking at home rather than relying on pre-made, processed foods or indulgent takeout meals.  I love Food and Wine Magazine because it has really inspired me to cook at home.  Many of the recipes not only look delicious, but are dishes I can actually see myself preparing at home.

I’d like to feature some of the recipes that catch my eye from time to time as part of my commitment to sharing how important health and fitness are to me.  Preparing dinner at home more often is a reasonable goal for anyone, no matter how busy, and is a great part of an overall healthy approach to mealtimes.  Here are some recipes that recently caught my eye!

SalmonMustard Salmon with Cannellini Bean Ragu

Serves 4



3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large shallot, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 tsp finely chopped thyme

salt and pepper

2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

3/4 cup chicken stock

1 head escarole (3/4 lb), with dark leaves discarded and remaining leaves torn

2 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest


extra virgin olive oil

4 skinless salmon fillets, 4 oz each

salt and pepper

1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tsp dry white wine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp finely chopped thyme

1.  Make the ragu.  In a deep skillet, add the oil, shallot, and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes start to break down, 4 minutes.  Add the beans and stock and simmer until the beans are hot, 2 minutes.  Add the escarole, prosciutto, and lemon zest and cook over moderately high heat, stirring until the escarole is just wilted, 4 minutes.  If the bean ragu is too thick, add a little water.

2.  Prepare the salmon.  Preheat the broiler.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and brush it with oil.  Season the fish with salt and pepper and set on the baking sheet.  In a bowl, whisk both mustards with the wine, 2 teaspoons of oil, the garlic, thyme, and a pinch each of salt and pepper.  Broil the salmon fillets 6 inches from the heat for 2 minutes, until the top just starts to brown.  Spoon the mustard on the salmon and broil for 5 minutes, until the fish is nearly cooked through and the top is browned.  Spoon the bean ragu into bowls, top with the fish, and serve.

Balsamic Figs

Balsamic Figs

1 lb fresh Black Mission figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

6 basil leaves, thinly sliced

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt and pepper

Toasted crostini, for serving

Goat cheese, for serving

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan.  Lightly brush the cut sides of the figs with olive oil and grill until lightly browned and warm, 2 minutes.  Transfer the figs to a bowl and top with the basil, balsamic vinegar, and the 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and let stand for 20 minutes.  To serve, top crostini with goat cheese and figs.

What is your favorite source for memorable recipes?


Swordfish Provencale

A favorite seafood of mine, swordfish is a mild tasting, white-fleshed fish.

A favorite seafood of mine, swordfish is a mild tasting, white-fleshed fish.  It is also a heart healthy choice because of its omega 3 fats.  Swordfish is particularly good grilled either as a steak or kebobs.  It’s also delicious broiled or sautéed.

During the times when I cannot the grill swordfish, I like to cook it in a provencale sauce made with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onions, and herbs. When I cook this for my family, I will add clams and mussels to the dish, making it a much heartier meal.

Swordfish ProvencalSwordfish Provencal 10Serve a side dish of linguini for those who want pasta, add crusty bread for dipping, and you have a meal that pleases everyone.

Swordfish Provencale


4 8 oz swordfish steaks, 1 inch thick

1 lb mussels, cleaned (optional)

12 little neck clams, cleaned (optional)

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

1 c white wine

1/2 c fresh basil, chopped

1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped

¼ tsp hot pepper flakes (optional)

crushed black pepper

Sea salt to taste

½ to 1lb fresh or dry linguini (optional)

Serves 4

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil.  Sauté the garlic and onions till golden,  then add the black crushed pepper and red crushed pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the white wine and stir the mixture, letting the flavors absorb.  Crush the tomatoes by hand and add them to the pan.  Stir in the chopped basil and parsley, then season with the sea salt.  Add more pepper if needed.  Let the mixture simmer.

Remove the skin from swordfish, and cut away the darker areas, and place in the sauté pan, spooning sauce over fish.  Cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the cleaned clams and mussels in a separate pot.  Once they are opened, add to the sauce and simmer until ready to serve.  Adjust the seasoning to taste.

If you are preparing the linguini as a side dish, boil water in a separate pot, add linguini, and cook as directed.  Drain the linguini and place in bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Chop some basil and parsley to add to the linguini and  toss until all ingredients are absorbed.

Transfer the swordfish steaks to warmed individual plates, add the clams and mussels with the sauce.  If serving linguini with the meal, place the swordfish, clams, and musses over the linguini and top with fresh chopped parsley.

Swordfish Provencal 2

swordfish recipe

Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and, of course, a salad.  Enjoy this delicious meal!

Blue Hill Farm

Located in scenic Westchester County near Tarrytown, Blue Hill Farm is a fantastic destination for food lovers and families.

Located in scenic Westchester County near Tarrytown, Blue Hill Farm is a fantastic destination for food lovers and families.

Blue Hill Farm Stone BarnsBlue Hill FarmThe restaurant, Stone Barns, is a four season farm to table affair.  The menu mainly features seasonal items either grown by the farm or sourced locally.  The building itself is beautiful and provides the ideal back drop for the food.  Rather than choosing from a menu, diners are given a list of ingredients being used in the kitchen on that day to build a unique tasting menu.  Each course is crafted to showcase these ingredients with such creativity.  In winter, you might experience smoked kale or hake with mussels.  At other times of the year, you might experience zucchini pasta or beet burgers.  Dining here is a whole experience; when you visit, you may be selected to meet the chef and watch him cook.  It’s very different, and not your traditional restaurant.

Blue Hill Farm 3Blue Hill Farm 6One of my favorite aspects of Blue Hill Farm is that it is a true working farm.  From spring through fall, you can take your kids to see how the farm is run.  In addition to the many gardens and greenhouses, Blue Hill is home to chickens and sheep.  After touring the farm, a stop at the Cafe and Grain Barn lets you recharge with snacks, salads, and baked goods.  Or, you can try Blue Hill Farm’s very own yogurt.

Blue Hill Farm 5Blue HIll Farm 1Blue Hill Farm 7To learn more about Blue Hill Farm or to plan a visit, go to their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.



Del Posto

Located at 85 Tenth Avenue in NYC, Del Posto is the creation of Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich.

Located at 85 Tenth Avenue in NYC, Del Posto is the creation of Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich.  The restaurant’s goal is to create an atmosphere of European luxury where guests enjoy refined Italian cuisine and a world class wine list.  The menu is crafted from the highest quality ingredients and tailored to provide an unrivaled experience.  Lunch consists of a 3 course prix fixe with antipasto, secondo, and dolce.  Dinner guests can choose for their table the five course Il Menu Del Posto or the sumptuous eight course Captain’s Menu, each available with wine pairings by Del Posto’s sommelier.  Each dish is executed to perfection and so beautifully presented with a truly memorable combination of flavors and textures.  The food is pure art — as soon as you see it, you know it tastes amazing.

Del Posto 6Del Posto 2Del Posto 5Del Posto 4Del Posto 1

Of course, I always notice the interior of a restaurant.  As soon as you walk into Del Posto, the restaurant’s design influences your expectations and sets the tone for the meal you’re about to enjoy.  Del Posto’s dining room is opulent and lavish, but also inviting.  The food is bright and colorful while the interior is a handsome and masculine contrast with dark woods and geometric floors.  The yellow hue on the ceiling provides a light counter balance, and the overall effect is just a great backdrop to the food.  Del Posto is definitely on my must-visit list!

Del Posto 10Del Posto 3Del Posto 7Del Posto 9Del Posto 8Del Posto 11To see a complete menu, visit the Del Posto website.  You can also find them on Facebook.



Pasta e Fagioli

Simple and hearty, this true peasant dish will definitely warm you up.

This is a great dish to make on a cold winter’s night.  Simple and hearty, this true peasant dish will definitely warm you up.  Pasta e fagioli translates to beans and pasta; it is often pronounced “pasta fazool” in the United States after the pronunciation of the word beans in the Neapolitan language.

Pasta e Fagioli
Pasta e Fagioli

The recipe for this soup varies based on the region or town in which it is prepared.  The consistency of the dish can also vary, with some versions being soupy while others are much thicker.  Some variations do not include tomatoes at all but are made from a broth, and some use a pancetta in the base of the sauce.

The recipe I had was pretty basic, so after looking through a few of my cookbooks I decided to go with my recipe but add a few ingredients.  As always, my measurements are estimated and you may need to adjust them.

Most recipes use dried beans, which need to be soaked as directed.  If time is a factor, canned beans can be used.  I use pancetta, but some recipes use bacon.  Both can be optional, although I feel that the pancetta gives the pasta e fagioli that extra flavor.  If you want a lighter soup, use half of the tomatoes to start with and add the rest if needed.  I also take a rind of the Parmesan cheese and add it to the mixture while cooking, a tip I learned years ago from my favorite Italian deli in the Bronx.

Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Cannelloni and garbanzo beans.



½ lb pancetta

1 large onion

1 carrot

1 rib celery

1 glove garlic, optional

1 14 oz. can cannelloni beans, or dried beans

1 14 oz can garbanzo beans, or dried beans

8 oz of vegetable or chicken stock

2 cups of water

1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Bay leaf

2 Sprigs of rosemary

2 Sprigs of thyme

1/4 cup basil, chopped

¼ cup parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp coarse black pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

Rind of Parmesan cheese

1 lb ditalini pasta

Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1 loaf of crusty bread

Serves 4 to 6

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven.  In a food processor, chop the pancetta, add it to the olive oil, and brown until golden.  Add the coarse black pepper at this time.  Chop the garlic, onion, carrot, and celery and add to the pancetta.  Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable or chicken stock and 2 cups of water.  Crush the tomatoes by hand and add to mixture, then bring to a slow boil.  Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pot.

Wrap the thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf in a piece of cheese cloth.  Secure with kitchen twine and add to the mixture along with the chopped parsley and basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the rind of the parmesan cheese and let the mixture simmer.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta.  Cook until al dente and drain the pasta, reserving some of the liquid.  Remove the sachet of herbs and rind of cheese from the soup.  Add the pasta and some of the reserved cooking liquid to reach the desired consistency.  Check the seasoning; I usually add extra parsley and basil prior to serving.  Let mixture simmer for a few minute to give the flavors a chance to blend.

Crusty Italian Bread
Crusty Italian Bread

Ladle into soup dishes and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Serve with a warm crusty loaf of Italian bread and, of course, your favorite salad.


Holiday Traditions

With the start of the holidays a few weeks away, I am always brought back to the many traditions that were handed down through the generations in my family.

With the start of the holidays a few weeks away, I am always brought back to the many traditions that were handed down through the generations in my family.


We lived next door to my grandparents, so I was very fortunate to have been able to watch my grandmother as she would cook and bake.  We were quite a large family, so when the holidays came she would start to prepare days in advance by baking cookies and storing them until she was ready to use them.  Her pastas were made fresh; I remember her cutting the raviolis on the kitchen table.

Everything was homemade.  She would can and jar the vegetables and fruits from the garden that my grandfather grew to enjoy them throughout the year.  Of course, at the time I was too young to realize this was the way she was taught by her mother.


She made so many great meals and desserts, so I thought I would share her recipe for one of my favorite cookies that she baked, her melt-in-your-mouth Walnut Sticks.

I try to keep with tradition, though unlike my grandmother, I may not cook or bake everything from scratch. One of the desserts I bake every Thanksgiving is Pumpkin Pie.  This is a favorite in my house and I always make sure I bake enough of them so there is plenty to go around.

I hope you enjoy these desserts.  It’s never too late to start a tradition of your own to pass down in your family!

Walnut Sticks

Walnut Sticks Recipe


2 cups all purpose flour

1 ½ cup of dark brown sugar

1 cup Crisco or 2 sticks margarine or butter

1 cup chopped nuts

2 eggs

Use a quarter sheet cookie baking pan.  If using a full half sheet, you will need to double recipe and cooking time.

Makes approximately 2 dozen.

Mix together the flour, 1 cup brown sugar, Crisco or butter, and 1 egg.  Mix until soft enough to spread onto a cookie sheet pan.  Spread evenly, making sure it is not too thick or the cookies will be doughy and heavy; they need to be thin and crispy.  Beat the other egg slightly and spread on top of the batter.  Sprinkle the ½ cup of brown sugar on top of the batter, then spread the nuts on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely.  Cut into 1 ¼” wide and 2 ½” long cookies.

Pumpkin Pie



1 ½ cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 ½ tsp. ground cloves

4 large eggs

1 can (29oz.) Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin

2 cans (12 fl.oz. each) Carnation Evaporated Milk

2 unbaked 9-inch (4 cup volume) deep-dish pie shells

8 to 16oz heavy cream for whipping

Makes 2 pies.

Mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Stir pumpkin and sugar mixture into eggs.  Gradually stir in evaporated milk.  Pour into pie shells and bake in preheated oven at 425F for 15 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until knife or toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack for 2 hours, then serve immediately or refrigerate.

I usually make these pies the night before.  Just be careful not to touch the top of the pies when storing them.

Whip the cream just before serving pies; I usually add some sugar to the cream while whipping.  Enjoy!