"Scrumptious Sides For Your Fall & Winter Holiday Table"

Summer's over and all the children are back in school; so you know what that means, that's right, the Holiday season is upon us. For the next several months the parties and dinners will almost be non-stop and though the big granddaddy of them all may be "Thanksgiving" in November, there will be more than enough other events both big and small to occupy our days in the meantime. So to help with that all important decision this year about what to bring, or serve, as a vegetable for family and friends at your next gathering. Let me suggest two that will serve you well…

A quick and simple side, full of the incredible flavor of Italian bacon and perfect to either make for your own, or bring to a, Thanksgiving Day celebration with family or friends…

"Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta"

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces thick cut pancetta, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Pinch of fresh Thyme and Sage, finely minced (1/4 teaspoon)

1. Begin by partially cooking the Brussel sprouts in a large pot of boiling salted water, about 4 minutes. (Or you can lightly steam in the microwave until slightly cooked
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and sauté until beginning to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until pale golden, about 2 minutes...
3. Then add the herbs and red pepper flakes, followed by the Brussels sprouts, to the same skillet and sauté until heated through and beginning to brown—about 5 minutes...
4. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste. Then add the broth and cook until the broth reduces just enough to coat the Brussels sprouts, about 3 minutes...
Serve and enjoy...

This is the most delicious cauliflower recipe you’ll eat and on top of that it’s such an easy addition to include a roasted cauliflower in your family’s dinner plan or for a dinner party with friends. I have also been told you can do it in an instant pot, and then brown in the oven for a few minutes.

"Whole Roasted Cauliflower"

1 whole head of Cauliflower
½ cup of Greek Olive oil (premium EVOO available at The Crushed Olive, Babylon)
Clarified Butter or Ghee (available at North Shore Farms, or substitute butter)
Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
Cast Iron Skillet (or any oven safe pan)
1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan or Sea Salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground White Pepper, or more to taste
Aluminum/Tin Foil

1. First, go and preheat your oven to 375º Fahrenheit. Then trim the bottom of the cauliflower and remove all the leaves and the hard stem – but without breaking apart the cauliflower...
2. Go ahead and give it a quick rinse, patting it to dry. Generously drizzle your extra virgin olive oil on top. It’s the key to a perfectly roasted cauliflower head. Then add salt and pepper...
3. Using your hands spread the oil and salt all around the cauliflower.  Place it in an oven-safe pan and cover tightly it with foil. I use a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, anything that you use in the oven will work...
4. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower...
5. Now, remove foil and allow it to roast for an additional 60 minutes so it turns golden brown. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn’t burn...
6. After it’s finished; melt 3 Tbsps. of Ghee (clarified butter, available at North Shore Farms) and mix in the chopped parsley, then drizzle or brush it on the cauliflower while it’s still hot...
7. Once it’s sliced, it may need extra salt-season to taste…

"Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta"

"Roasted Cauliflower"

"Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts"

"Holiday dinner is perfect for these sides"

"Thanksgiving Dinner Or Anytime - You Can't Go Wrong With These Veggie Dishes"

"A Rose Tart by any other name would smell as Sweet"

"Vegetable Rose Tart"

Last night, as is my usual modus operandi, I decided to mess around in the kitchen...

Now it's not every day that I make a new dish, and a lot of times I'll make the same thing again and again-because, well, it's good an I liked it enough too...

Sometimes, if I'm trying something different with a dish I've done before, I might post it-like with the Caramelized Apple Almond Galette recently...

"Beauty in the petals of a Rose"

But mostly this week I've been doing various dishes that I've done plenty before-like last nights Lemon Chicken de Provence...

Though for a tasty visual treat I did decide to make for me and my Beautiful baby last night a "Vegetable Rose Tart" with a fresh mozzarella and herb'ed cream base.
Slicing up my Zucchini, Squash and Carrots with a vegetable peeler; I began wrapping them into my Roses...

Then inside the tart pan filled with puff pastry I added my mozzarella, sour cream and some fresh herbs-followed by all of my beautiful Roses...

"Roasted vegetables almost to pretty to eat"


Drizzled a little olive oil, with chopped fresh herbs and garlic, over top it to finish-then into the oven to bake...

Finally while it was cooking, I played around with setting up for the picture; which I got done just as it finished baking...

A couple of pretty pics later and it was finally time to dig in and eat..

Such a beautiful dish in it's presentation and oh so—"Definitely Delish"

"All ready for roasting"


"Vegetable Rose Tart"

For Pastry Shell:
1 package Dufour all butter Puff Pastry (or your own puff pastry recipe)

"Just one perfect Rose"

For the Filling:
1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella
1/2 Sour Cream
1 tsp Sea salt
1 clove minced garlic
Fresh cracked Pepper to taste
1 tsp mixed Herbes de Provence (2 tsps if using fresh Herbes instead of dry)

For the Vegetable Roses:
1-2 medium Zucchinis
1-2 medium Yellow Squash's
2-4 Carrots (purple and other carrot colors if available)
Quality Olive Oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon Fresh thyme and parsley, finely chopped
Sea salt and Pepper to taste

For the tart shell:
1. Lightly grease a 8-9 inch loose base tart tin.
2. Roll the pastry out until you have a circle approximately 11 inches and lay it over the tart tin and press into the sides. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Scrunch up a piece of baking paper and open it back up. Place on the tart shell and fill with baking beads.
4. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the beads and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the base is cooked through.
5. Set aside to cool.

"Vegetable Rose Tart" 

"A beautiful Rose"

For the filling:
1. Chop the mozzarella into small pieces and place in a bowl.
2. Add the sour cream, garlic and mixed herbs then stir until combined.
3. Spread the filling over the base of the tart shell.

For the vegetable Roses:
1. Slice the vegetables into 1/8 inch or thinner slices. (Strips)
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. On a chopping board, start with a piece of carrot and begin rolling it into a tight curl. Then wrap the Carrot with a piece of Zucchini and then a piece of Yellow Squash. Roll together the 3 vegetables into a rose shape. Place into prepared Tart shell with filling.
4. Continue this process until you have filled the tart with vegetable roses of various sizes.
5. Drizzle the top lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs, finely minced garlic, sea salt and pepper.
6. Transfer the tart into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and lightly golden. (Alternatively, you could partially pre-roast the vegetable strips before rolling into roses-adjust cooking time accordingly)
7. Serve with a salad for a main course or as a side dish with a main entree of your choice...


"Pastelitos for all Occasions"

"Sweet & Savory Pastries"

"Sweet & Savory Pastries"


So recently I played around with this wonderful pastry recipe that had been floating around in my head for more than a little bit...

So good and so tasty"

So good and so tasty"

This of course was the "Pastelitos" or Cuban Pastries I made and posted not so long ago...


Of course, at the time, I had only done the one version (Inspired by the movie "Chef" in no small part—definitely watch it if you haven't yet); it was a sort of mini Cubanos sandwich pastry which I just loved for it's scrumptious mix of savory and sweet...

This time, though, I decided to go all out and create a veritable multitude of "Pastelitos Pastries" to bring in to work. (As well as a few for friends & family to enjoy at home)

"Hard at work making some Good Eats"

"Hard at work making some Good Eats"



So to get down to the details, and without any further ado, I give you my four delectable and delicious Cuban Puff Pastries....

Pastelitos de Carne, Queso, Cubanos and Nutella Queso...

Each different but equally wonderful; from the sweetened cream cheese filling off the one to the savory meaty picadillo filling off another. (Love the capers and pimento stuffed olives mixed in–Yum)

"Love the sweet outer shell of puff pastry"

"Love the sweet outer shell of puff pastry"

Everyone ate them up lickety-split and now are constantly asking when I'm bringing in more for them. (I think it's the sugary syrup coating on top of each–I could eat that all day)



Such a wonderful, easy and enjoyable dish to make and share and oh so—
"Definitely Delish"



"Cubanos style"

"Cubanos style"





For Puff Pastry:
10 ounces unsalted Butter
1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon fine Sea Salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

For Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water

"Various fillings-from meat to sweet"

"Various fillings-from meat to sweet"

For Egg Wash:
3 eggs, beaten
2 ounces water

For Filling:
2 (8 ounce) packages Cream Cheese
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
1/4 cup white Sugar
2 tablespoons Milk
(see notes for other options)

Boxing them up as I go"

Boxing them up as I go"

For Puff Pastry:
1. Cut 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter into 1/2 to 1/4-inch dice, place on a plate and refrigerate while preparing remaining ingredients.Measure water and add salt; stir to dissolve and set aside...
2. Coarsely dice remaining 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter. Place flour in work bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade; add 4 tablespoons butter and pulse until butter is absorbed -- about ten to twelve 1-second pulses...
3. Add remaining butter and pulse once or twice to distribute. Add water and pulse 3 or 4 times, just until dough forms a rough ball. Do not over-process...
4. Flour work surface and scrape dough from work bowl. Shape dough into a rough rectangle and place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Press dough with rolling pin to flatten, then roll back and forth several times with rolling pin to make a 12 by 18 inch rectangle of dough...
5. Peel away plastic wrap and invert dough to floured work surface. Peel away second piece of wrap. Fold dough in thirds in the width, folding the top third down and the bottom third up, to make a 6 by 18-inch rectangle, then roll up the dough from one of the 6-inch ends, making sure to roll end under dough...
6. Press the dough into a square, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour, or until firm...

"So yummy and delicious"

"So yummy and delicious"

For Pastelitos:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; then prepare simple syrup by mixing water and sugar in a small saucepan and bringing it to a boil, then lowering the temperature to low and simmering for 5 minutes-afterwards remove from heat and allow to cool...
2. For the Cream Cheese mixture; take two packages of cream cheese at room temperature. Then with an electric mixer, mix in two tablespoons milk and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Gradually add sugar and continue mixing until fluffy...
3. Now take the sheet of puff pastry you've constructed and cut it into shapes; circles, triangles, squares or whatever you like...
4. For cream cheese filled add a small amount of the cream cheese mixture to the center of each piece of puff pastry...
5. For the Nutella and sweetened cream cheese filled; add a small amount of nutella (best if you've pre-measured onto wax paper in heaping teaspoons and frozen in freezer), followed by a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese mixture...
6. Moisten the edges of the dough strips with a little water. Cover each filling covered piece of dough with the remaining two dough pieces. Seal the edges on all sides of the dough by pressing and smoothing gently with your hands...
7. Brush the top with an egg wash (3 eggs beaten with 2 ounces of water), then bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes -- pastry should be crisp on top and lightly browning...
8. Remove the pastries from the oven and brush with the simple syrup (recipe above). Return to oven and bake an additional five or six minutes...
9. Let cool slightly, and then enjoy...

"Definitely can not get enough of that deliciously sweet dough"

"Definitely can not get enough of that deliciously sweet dough"

1. You can make all sorts of other filling types for  meat filled, cuban sandwich style (which I've done) and any and all sorts of other interesting ideas-be creative and have fun with it...