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Wednesday, February 4, 2015


One of my favorite meals for breakfast is Salmon and Lox Bagels and Omelets.  This always takes me back to a trip to New York my daughter Nicole and I took together.  It was one of the best vacations!  We traveled the streets of New York City, visited (and shopped!) in China Town, and really spent some great quality time together!

I had a craving and decided to visit my favorite grocery store Market District.  Of course to say this is a grocery store does not do it justice.  This place is more of a Foodies dream.  This store features a Cheese Shop with over 400 imported and domestic artisan cheeses, and Oil and Vinegar Bar, a Craft Beer Department with over 250 types of beer and a bar to sit and enjoy your favorite beverage, a Sushi Station, and a prepared food department that has so many offerings from Indian Curry to Smoke and Fire Rotisserie there is something for everyone.

Back to the Salmon and Lox.  I visited the seafood department and was greeted with a seafood professional.  I told him I was looking for Lox.  He asked me if I had ever tried Pastrami Salmon? Pastrami Salmon?  What is that?  He gave me a sample and I was hooked.  The flavor was smoky and savory with a slightly sweet bark.  I purchased it immediately!

If you want to make your own Pastrami Salmon checkout this article:

Pastrami Salmon  Bagel.

I prefer a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, tomato, capers, red onions and tons of Salmon of course!

Salmon Omelette:

3 eggs
1 tablespoon of butter
1-2 pieces of Salmon Lox
1 tablespoon of cream cheese
1 teaspoon of capers
Several thinly sliced pieces of red onion
Garnish with some green onions if desired.

Whisk eggs.  Take a small non stick skillet pan and set over medium heat.  When the pan is heated add butter and spread out evenly over the surface of the pan.  Once it starts to foam turn the heat down and add the eggs.  Using a spatula swirl the eggs quickly in a circular motion and gently shake the pan back and forth to cook evenly with out any color.

Once the omelette begins to set add the pieces of salmon, small dollops of cream cheese, capers, and red onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Fold the side closest to the handle. Than flip the far side of the omelette over.

If  you want to see a demonstration, Julia Childs is always a delight to watch.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Indonesian Bakmi Goreng

The weather here in Pittsburgh has reached a "balmy" 59. While that may not seem very balmy, the country has experienced quite a winter storm. Thoughts of the movie The Day After Tomorrow would describe it best. The country suddenly plunged into what seemed like an "Ice Age". Pictures that appeared both extraordinary and terrifying at the same time. The Tuesday low temperature of minus 9 on top of the wind chill factor at Pittsburgh dipped to minus 31 shortly.

With this "heat wave" I am starting to think about my upcoming cruise in the beginning of April. Blue skies, warm weather, snorkeling....wait. Ugh, the dreaded swimsuit! How many days away until we set sail from San Juan? 2 Months, 2 weeks, and five days to be exact! So it is crunch time. Literally. So, with out further adieu I dragged myself out of bed at 6:30 AM and headed to a brutal class at F.A.S.T.E.R. in Robinson. When I returned home I was famished! Ok, as I told myself, do not start inhaling what ever is easy and within reach. Luckily, I had already planned the weekends dinner in advance. But, could I really take 30 minutes to cook a meal with out "snacking"? Well, I did grab a slice of swiss cheese I admit but started the task at hand. Making Indonesian Bakmi Goreng.

Pondering over my array of cooking light magazines, I was drawn to the March 2013 issue (yes, I keep ALL my magazines, do not judge). It looked delicious, packed with protein, and filling! I must it admit it was amazing. (Added crush red pepper flakes on top of mine, because I crave spicy food). Both my children Ryan and Nicole loved it as well.


3 tablespoons of peanut oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
6 ounces whole wheat linguine noodles (it called for Chinese egg noodles, but this is what I hand in the pantry)
6 ounces skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
4 ounces of boneless pork loin chop, thinly slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of thinly sliced napa cabbage
3/4 cup sliced green onion
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fat free, lower sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lower sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup packaged fried onions

1) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into pan; swirl to form a think omelet. Cook 1 minutes or until cooked on bottom. Carefully turn omelet over; cook 30 seconds. Remove from pan. Roll up omelet; cut roll crosswise into think strips. Keep warm in foil.

2) Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain and set aside.

3) Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil; swirl. Add chicken, pork, and garlic and stir fry 1 1/2 minutes. Add cabbage, green onions, and celery; stir fry 1 minute. Stir in broth and soy sauce. Add noodles, stir-fry 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add egg; and gently toss. Top with friend onions.

Serves 4 Calories 419 Fat 20.6g Protein 23.8g Carb 33g

Monday, September 2, 2013

THERE'S A CHEF IN MY SOUL: Pasta Bolognese Sauce

THERE'S A CHEF IN MY SOUL: Pasta Bolognese Sauce

Pasta Bolognese Sauce

Italian cuisine is characterized by its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Ingredients and dishes vary by region. Many dishes that were once regional, however, have proliferated with variations throughout the country.

My idea of a sauce with ground chuck was basically browning ground beef in a pan with some garlic and onions and adding to a "doctored" jar of sauce or my homemade tomato sauce. Recently, at a great little Italian place in Crafton, Sarofino's someone ordered the special which was a pasta with Bolognese sauce. As great friends we always share each others dishes so we have a chance to try different entree's. After the first bite I was pleasantly surprised. The depth of flavor was amazing. I knew instantly this was not a quick meat sauce. I had to try my hand at is sauce that seemed so complex.

After doing some research I decided to give this recipe a try. It was easy, but takes 4-5 hours. This would be great to begin this lovely sauce on a Sunday morning and have a nice family dinner.

1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Kosher salt
3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups hearty red wine
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing


In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE BEEF! Brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn't matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned. When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously. Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Italian Baked Tomatoes

For nine or 10 months of the year, grocery store tomatoes are sorry things intended only to provide a bit of color – and not much color at that. But with the peak of summer comes tomatoes that really have flavor. There’s as much art as science in choosing a great tomato. There are a few basics: you don’t want any obvious damage to the skin; you don’t want to feel any particular mushy spots (as opposed to a general softness); you want a tomato that’s heavy for its size. Beyond that, tomatoes are so diverse in color, shape and texture, the main thing to go by is perfume. All tomatoes, whatever the hue, should smell wonderful. To store your wonderful tomatoes do NOT refrigerate. Ever. The flavor and aroma of a tomato will never recover from being refrigerated. On the other hand, store a tomato that is under-ripe at room temperature and it will continue to ripen and improve. There are so many incredible ways to prepare these tasty vegetables, I choose to make some Italian Baked Tomatoes. Ingredients: 4 tomatoes, halved 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 oz reduced fat provolone cheese, shredded or Mozzarella 1 tsp chopped fresh basil 1 tsp chopped fresh oregano Salt to taste Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450° F. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, provolone, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Well, it is quite apparent old man winter is here in Pittsburgh. The temperatures are in the low 30s and ice and several inches of snow cover the ground. Quite a beautiful sight if one does not need to drive anywhere. So the family and I are spending a much needed snow day in the comfort of our home. Fire place is lit and nice cozy pj's are staying on for the entire day. What better way to warm yourself up than a bowl of steaming hot soup!

One of my favorite types of soup are Thai. Thai soups are wonderfully flavored as well as being extremely healthy and nourishing. Perfect for chasing away those nasty cold or flu bugs, or simply for lifting your spirits and brightening your mood! In Thailand, pumpkin and coconut milk are commonly paired up to make a variety of both savory and sweet entrees. Coconut milk tames the heat and combines deliciously with chicken. I found a wonderful recipe on the cooking light website. I hope you enjoy! Stay warm and nourish your body and mind today!

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
3 cups Chicken Stock or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups light coconut milk
4 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup green onion strips
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


1. Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and the next 4 ingredients (through lemongrass); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chile paste; cook 1 minute. Add Chicken Stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Discard lemongrass. Top with onions, cilantro, and juice.