I love to place Grape Tomatoes Topping over Ravino Ravioli. It is more of a topping than a sauce. This recipe makes enough for two portions as a side dish.
Ravioli with Grape Tomatoes Topping © Karen Lee 2016
- 2 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon sliced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in circles, preferably Del Cabo brand
- Boiling water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 pieces of ravioli, preferably Ravino
- ½ cup or more freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons chiffonade of parsley
- Heat an 8-inch skillet for 1 minute over medium heat.
- Add two tablespoons olive oil and then the garlic. Turn the heat to low. Sauté about 2 minutes or until the garlic has just begun to take on a little color.
- Add ¼ teaspoon salt, oregano, black pepper and cayenne. Sauté 1 more minute, but do not allow the garlic to get too dark.
- Add the grape tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes or until they have softened. In order to keep the round shape of the tomato slices, stir no more than 2 times.
- In a medium size saucepan, bring one quart of water to a rolling boil. Add ½ teaspoon of salt. Add the ravioli to the boiling salted water.
- After the ravioli has come to a boil, set the timer for 4 minutes. Stir once. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon.
- Place ravioli on two dishes. Spoon Grape Tomato Topping over ravioli. Drizzle with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Garnish with parsley.
© Karen Lee
Broccolini is a green vegetable similar to broccoli but with a milder taste. It has smaller florets with thinner and more tender stalks. I use the whole vegetable except for the last half-inch of the stems.
Broccolini © Karen Lee 2016
- 1 bunch broccolini
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- a pinch of crushed dried chili pepper
- ¼ to 1/3 cup chicken stock
- Wash broccolini by submerging and lifting in a big bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added.
- Let drain in a bowl. Spinning dry is not necessary.
- After discarding about ½-inch of the stems, cut the broccolini into ½-inch pieces.
- Heat a 10-inch stainless steel or enamel skillet for one minute over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and then the garlic. Turn heat to medium low and sauté the garlic until it just starts to take on some color. After the garlic has been in the pan for one minute add the salt and the chili pepper.
- Add the broccolini and toss; sauté about 1 minute, then add the stock a few tablespoons at a time. Simmer until evaporated then toss and add more stock as needed until the broccolini is tender, approximately 5 minutes. Dish. Drizzle with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
© Karen Lee
Shiitake boost the immune system. I roast 2 or 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms almost every night in a black iron skillet and serve them as a side dish or an appetizer with my dinner.
Tips for working with mushrooms
- Buy all mushrooms 2-4 days in advance and let them air dry in the frig on a plate without a cover.
- Always wash your hands and the cutting board after handling the shiitake and make sure they are cooked through before eating.
- You want to be able to see parts of the bottom of the pan otherwise the pan is too crowded and the shiitake will not brown or crisp.
Shiitake Chips © Karen Lee 2016
- 12 shiitake mushrooms
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper, a few turns of the mill
- a sprig of thyme or rosemary (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Wash shiitake.
- I like to wash all vegetables and fruits by submerging and lifting them in a bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added. This helps the cleaning process.
- Dry the shiitake with a paper towel.
- Place them in a black iron skillet stems up.
- Do now crowd lest they will not crisp.
- Drizzle with olive oil.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss in a sprig of thyme or rosemary if you have it.
- Roast the shiitake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a little crisp and brown.
Serve like lollipops.
The stems are too tough to eat.
© Karen Lee
In my last blog I gave you the tips for successful sautéing. Now here is a recipe for sautéing. Chicken Piccata is a regular on my class menus as it is simple and delicious.
- 2 whole chicken breasts with skin and bone, weighing 14-16 ounces each (or 1 pound of chicken cutlets, organic or free range)
- 2 -3 Tbsp. flour for dredging
- 1 tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. chopped shallots
- 1 Tbsp. sliced garlic
- 1 lemon sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp. white wine or vermouth
- 6 Tbsp. chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Rinse and dry chicken breasts. Bone chicken breasts or have the butcher do this. Save skin and bone for stock. Remove tendon in fillet portion of breast. Slice the cutlet lengthwise to make two thin cutlets. You will have four fillet pieces and eight thin cutlets for a total of twelve pieces. Place a piece of wax paper on the cutlet and pound each cutlet piece slightly to even them out. This can be done with a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, or a rubber mallet.
Mix the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.
Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour seasoning mixture using as little flour as possible. Tap off excess flour. Rinse then place a 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat for 1 minute.
Turn the heat to medium.
Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and ½ tablespoon of butter to the skillet. After adding the chicken, lightly salt and pepper the breasts. Turn the heat to medium high and sauté half the amount of chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Lower the heat if necessary. The chicken should be nicely browned on both sides. Repeat with other half of chicken. Place chicken cutlets on a serving platter.
Turn the heat to low. Pour off the oil if necessary, and then add in same skillet add ½ Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil; sauté the garlic and shallots; add ½ tsp. salt and black pepper to taste, until they just begin to take on color. Add 2 tsp. olive oil, then add lemon slices and sauté another minute or two turning once until slightly brown. Add the white wine and simmer a few seconds then the chicken stock. Simmer until reduced by half. Then add the 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter stir until butter is incorporated into the sauce. Re add the chicken breasts and coat in the sauce for about 30 seconds. Pour sauce over chicken breasts and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.
I love old mushrooms. I buy them a week in advance and put them on a plate in the refrigerator.
The mushrooms will lose moisture while sitting in the frig, instead of giving up lots of water in the sauté pan.
This trick results in a nice and crispy mushroom sauté, and not a soggy one.
Sign up for my Saturday October 18th class and learn how to cook fish perfectly. If you overcook fish it is dry. If you undercook fish it is rubbery. You want it cooked through but not overcooked.
In this class you will learn not only all the tips about picking out fresh fish and all the right questions to ask but also how to judge when the fish is perfectly done. The Black Sea Bass with Sweet and Sour Onions is a delectable example of how to do it.
This Saturday class, starting at 10 a.m.and finishing at 2 p.m. we will also be making Sole Meunière… and achieving a crust that you thought could only be produced in a restaurant!
Sea Bass with Sweet and Sour Onions
- 1¼ pounds Sea Bass fillets, skin off (you will need one or two whole sea bass, head and tail intact, with a total weight of 2 1/2 pounds as you lose 50 or 60 percent when the fish is filleted)
- 1 tablespoon flour, spread on a plate mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, approximately
- 3 cups onion sliced very thin
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Rinse and dry fillets.
- Combine on a plate the flour, salt and pepper
- Dredge the fish on presentation side in the flour mixture. Tap off excess flour.
- Choose a stainless steel sauté pan large enough to accommodate all the fish in a single layer. Heat the pan for one minute over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onions over medium low heat until the onions have wilted. Turn up the heat to medium. Add another 1 tablespoon olive oil and continue cooking. Stir from time to time. Sauté until the onions become a rich golden brown. Push all the onions to the edge of the pan.
- Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan then place the fish fillets in pan, presentation side down. Raise the heat to medium high. Sauté fillets for 3 minutes and then turn them over. Pour the wine, vinegar, and sugar into pan over the onions. Turn the heat down. Continue cooking for approximately 2 minutes. Check to see if fish is done. Transfer the fish to a heated serving platter. Reduce drippings in pan if necessary. Arrange onions in-between fish. Pour any pan juices over fish. Then sprinkle with parsley. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil (also known as finishing oil).
© Karen Lee 2014
If you forgot to ask fishmonger to remove the skin, slit the bass in three places (crescent shape slits) on the skin side in order to prevent the fish from curling up too much when it is turned.
© Karen Lee
These tiny eggplants have a short season, about one month. You can find them in your local open-air markets. They are beautiful, delicious and easy to prepare. You can serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish.
Roasted Fairytale Eggplant
- 15 eggplants, approximately
- 1 clove of garlic, sliced thinly (about 8 slices)
- Cut each slice into two the long way
- 1 ½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and dry eggplants.
- Make a slit in each eggplant and slide in a piece of garlic.
- Place the eggplants in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Season with some of the salt and pepper.
- Toss again using a rubber spatula.
- Place an iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes.
- Add the eggplants to the skillet and using a rubber spatula scape in any oil that clings to the bowl.
- Roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until the eggplants are soft.
- Place on a serving platter. Drizzle with the remaining oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let cool 5 minutes and then have your guests pick the eggplants up by the stem and eat them with their hands, leaving only the stem behind.
© Karen Lee
This is an ancient Chinese recipe updated and upgraded. I use prime filet instead of flank steak – less oil, less salt.
Flank steak is good, the filet is great. Because the filet is so tender there is no need to marinate more than a few minutes. I cut the filet into thick slices so that in the final dish the meat is medium to medium rare.
If you choose to use flank steak, cut the steak first into two pieces the long way then cut into thin slices against the grain and marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
Karen Lee Secret: When choosing steak always look for lots of marbling. Marbling is the white threads going through the meat. The more marbling the more tender and juicer the meat will be. The final dish resulting in that big luxurious mouth feel.
- 1 lb. filet of beef completely trimmed of fat and silver skin
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pure olive oil or peanut oil
- 2 Tablespoons finely shredded ginger
- A full ½ cup shredded scallion (white and green parts included) 2 ½ inch thin strips
- 1 tablespoon light soy
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 level teaspoon water chestnut powder or arrowroot
- 1 teaspoon water chestnut powder or arrowroot dissolved in
- 2 Tablespoons sherry
- 1 ½ tablespoons Chinese dark soy
- 10 or more V-cut snow peas (blanch and shock)
- or snow pea shoots ( do not blanch, just wash)
- or scallion brushes
- or steamed broccoli flowerets
- Slice steak 3/8-inch thick.
- Place beef and ingredients for marinade in a bowl and stir with chopsticks.
- Refrigerate meat while preparing the rest of the recipe.
- Combine ingredients for the seasoning sauce.
- Place wok over high heat for 2-3 minutes or until it smokes.
- Add 1½ tablespoons oil, swirl to coat wok, then immediately add half the beef slices in a single layer.
- Sauté about 30 seconds or until nicely seared. Working quickly, turn each piece of meat and sear another 10 seconds.
- Remove the beef from the wok allowing the fat to drain back into the wok. Place beef on serving dish.
- Repeat the frying procedure with the remaining beef; remove from the wok.
- Add ½ tablespoon oil to the wok and over low heat stir-fry the ginger for two minutes and then add the scallions and continue to sauté for 1 more minute.
- While the ginger and the scallions are sautéing, re-stir the seasoning sauce.
- Turn the heat to high, and add it to the wok all at once along with the beef; stir-fry for about 5 seconds. During that 5 seconds coat the meat evenly with the seasoning sauce. Empty contents of wok into heated serving dish and serve immediately.
- Garnish with blanched snow peas around the beef or a few shredded scallions on top or show pea shoots on the side or steamed broccoli flowerets.
© Karen Lee
I taught a class on February 4th and asked the students at the end, “About which recipe would you like me to blog?”
They overwhelmingly replied, “The Soup!”
This delicious soup lasts five days in the refrigerator, and is packed with healing spices that can have a salutatory effect on the body when used regularly.
- Cayenne pepper has been given credit for lowering cholesterol, fighting infection and acting as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Turmeric has been given credit for preventing cancer, acid reflux, inflammation, and Alzheimer’s.
- Cumin has also been given credit for preventing Alzheimer’s.
- Ginger has been given credit for aiding digestion and circulation, lowering cholesterol, and acting as an anti-inflammatory. It also speeds the recovery of a cold and sore throat and settles an upset stomach.
- Beans are a great source of iron, fiber, and protein and also help lower cholesterol.
Karen Lee Secret: Roasting cumin enhances the flavor. I like to roast ¼ cup cumin seeds in a small iron skillet over low heat for a few minutes or until the seeds are a little darker and smell good. Let cool then pulverize in a Krups electric coffee mill or use a mortar and pestle. Store in refrigerator in a covered brown glass jar. Roasted cumin will keep its aroma for three months.
Split Pea Soup with Spiced Yogurt © Karen Lee 2014
- 1 2/3 cups organic yellow split peas
- 6-7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (green stem removed if any), sliced
- 2 cups diced sweet white onion (such as Vidalia) or half onion and half leek
- ½ cup carrot, scrubbed but not peeled
- ½ cup diced celery
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 cup diced ripe tomatoes
- Spiced yogurt
- Juice of one lemon
- Chopped cilantro
- Wash split peas, drain and simmer in 5 cups of the stock for 1 hour, cover askew, or until almost soft. Stir every fifteen minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
- Pour the olive oil in a heated skillet over low heat. Sauté garlic and onions for 4 to 5 minutes until they just begin to color. Add carrots and celery, ginger, and continue to sauté for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, salt, and cayenne; sauté over low heat for another 3-4 minutes until spices get a little darker and their aroma is released. Take care not to burn the spices. Add the tomatoes and simmer a few minutes. Then add the cooked peas and the remaining stock. With cover askew, simmer until the split peas are soft, approximately 20 minutes.
- To serve the soup, place one cup of pea soup in a bowl. Add 1½ teaspoons of lemon juice. Sprinkle with cilantro and a dollop of spiced yogurt.
© Karen Lee
The Spiced Yogurt recipe is adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison and can be made two days in advance and stored in refrigerator. Yields four to six portions.
- 1 cup plain whole yogurt, hung, or use Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin, ground
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- If using plain yogurt, cut a piece of cheesecloth about an 8-inch square. Rinse in cold-water; squeeze dry. Line strainer with cheesecloth and drain yogurt in strainer for a few hours.
- Place the yogurt in a bowl. Using five chopsticks (Chinese wooden whisk), stir in the spices.
© Karen Lee
We had another fun class on January 19th. Happy hungry students gathered around the butcher block eager to learn healthy new dishes to add to their repertoire. Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake were on the menu and I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you.
Choose Snow Peas that are bright green, no trace of brown or yellow. Crisp looking, flat, with underdeveloped peas. Snow peas are a good source of vitamin C, iron and manganese (good for bone development).
Shitake have been given credit for boosting the immune system, and helping prevent cardiovascular disease.
Karen Lee Secret: I like to buy shitake (and all mushrooms) three to five days in advance. Place them in a bowl, uncovered in the refrigerator. They dry out and give up less water when you sauté them and therefore become crispy.
Sautéed Snow Peas and Shitake
- 10 ounces of snow peas (about 4 cups)
- 1 cup shitake, no stems
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced, no seeds no membrane
- 2 tablespoons diced shallots
- ¼ teaspoon ground roasted cumin
- 1 whole scallion cut into 1/8-inch half rounds
- Salt and pepper
- Wash snow peas by submerging and lifting them out of a bowl of water to which a dash of white vinegar has been added. (This helps clean them) String each snow pea then pile 2 snow peas on top of each other and slant cut into 3 pieces the long way.
- Wash the shitake in the same way as the snow peas. Using a knife remove the stems and discard, then cut each shitake into ¼ inch strips.
- Heat a small iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, turn the heat to medium and sauté the shitake about 5-7 minutes or until crispy. Season with half of the salt and pepper. Remove from the skillet to a serving platter.
- Rinse a 10-inch stainless steel or enamel sauté pan then dry over medium heat. When water evaporates (this procedure will take one or two minutes) add the remaining olive oil and sauté the snow peas over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the remaining salt and pepper. Flip or stir occasionally.
- Add the butter and the ginger and sauté another minute.
- Add the jalapeño, shallot, and cumin and continue to sauté and stir for another minute.
- Add the scallions and sauté another 30 seconds. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Empty contents of pan into the serving platter.
© Karen Lee