Turkey and Artichoke Puttanesca

It’s still a cold one here on the east coast and we still have snow on the ground. It was a chilly, rainy day today and I wanted something warming to the soul, yet a little spicy and deeply satisfying. And I also want to do a little bit of spring cleaning, starting with the freezer. And that bag of artichokes has been staring at me for quite a while. And they always feel like spring to me. A girl can be hopeful right? Lol. This makes a juicy potful of goodness that’s great topped on a pile of rice, broken noodles, or even mashed potatoes. Enjoy!


  • 1 1/4 pound turkey cutlets, cut into strips
  • 1 14oz. bag of frozen artichokes, defrosted and squeezed dry if necessary
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, ripped in half
  • 2 1/2 cups good quality puttanesca sauce (a 24 oz. jar)

In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter over low heat until bubbling add turkey and saute for about 10 minutes or so. Add tomato sauce, artichokes and olives and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until turkey is cooked through. Serves about 4.

DSC05634I just love the rustic-fanciness of this dish! It’s so tasty too!

Make someone happy tonight! ;)

Shrimp & Celery Salad

Ohhh I know it’s the middle of winter and about a foot of snow fell yesterday and that little cute chubby groundhog predicted another six weeks of winter. Maybe that’s what pushed me over the edge, towards a healthy shrimp salad? I’m not sure what did it but it’s such a good salad because it’s the best of both worlds, hearty from the shrimp, light from the lemon vinaigrette and full of flavor with olives and sweet peppadews. This salad transports you to sunnier days with roses blooming outside and a nice tall glass of icy lemonade, enjoyed outside. To wishful thinking that cutie Phil is wrong. ;)

  • 3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 4 celery sticks, sliced diagonally
  • 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
  • 6 sweet red peppadews, sliced
  • about 6 Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon

In a small bowl, pour the vinegar over the red onions and allow to sit, while you get the other preparations underway. Bring a pot of small water to a boil, add in the shrimp. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside. In a non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp, celery, olives, peppadews, sliced onions and vinegar, olive oil and the juice of the lemon. I like to enjoy this right away. Serves about 3.


Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with a Mint, Sorrel & Olive Relish

I used to be really intimidated making lamb on the grill but the more that I grill which is basically all summer long, the more comfortable I get with it and the instincts come in naturally; when to turn the piece of meat, how fast to run when you hear the the hissing sound of a flare up and the “knowing” of when dinner is done. Grilling is so much more forgiving than I originally thought. And lamb is no different than a good steak on the grill, it needs a good watch. And a nice salad to complete it along with a nice sauce on the side. In this case, a simple arugula and feta salad compliments the lamb along with a minty, lemony, slightly salty and sweet relish on the side, which goes with both. Double the relish recipe, if you need a sauce with your lamb, there was a time I would not be able to have one bite of lamb without mint jelly. Now that I look back, it more of mint jelly with lamb, not lamb with mint jelly, lol. Enjoy your weekend, it looks like it’s going to be a beauty!

  • (1) one and a half pound butterflied leg of lamb
  • 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, roughly minced
  • 1 cup loosely packed sorrel leaves, (with the inner stem removed) roughly minced
  • 10 Castelvetrano* olives, pitted and minced *any bright green olive will do
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar with apple or pear pulp
  • garlic powder
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Start off by scoring the fat of the lamb about an inch apart in a checkerboard pattern and seasoning your lamb with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and the juice of half a lemon. Rub in all of the ingredients. Let it sit in a shallow glass plate, covered for 1 hour at room temperature. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable with this, marinate it in the refrigerator for the hour. Cooking is all about having fun in the kitchen and not worrying about a thing. In the meantime, combine the mint, sorrel, olives, olive oil, juice of half the lemon, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder and black pepper. Season to taste. Heat up your grill to about 400 degrees, keeping it at a steady temperature. Place your lamb fat side down onto the grill and flip every 5 minutes for a total grill time of 20 minutes for a medium piece of lamb. If you want more of a rarer piece, flip every 3-4 minutes. According to the Joy of Cooking lamb is done at a temperature ranging from 130-135 degrees fahrenheit for rare and 140-150 degrees fahrenheit for medium. If unsure, remove the lamb from the grill and take the temperature once you suspect your lamb is done. Once your lamb is done, remove and cover and let sit for about 5 minutes, to let the juices collect. Serves 4.


Super Garlicky Turkey Puttanesca

Don’t plan to make this on a make-out night with your love, unless you are both garlic lovers. This sauce is full of garlic cloves, super spicy and has a fiery effect, that is almost sexy. Using a good jarred marinara sauce saves on time and has dinner on the table in less than an hour. Pair with a nice Riesling and enjoy!

  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • (1) 26. oz. jar good marinara sauce
  • 20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
  • a tablespoons of capers, quickly rinsed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • generous sprinkling of red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Start off by combining the garlic slices and olive oil in a large Dutch oven, heat on low for about 7 minutes, until they are softened a bit. Stirring often is key and keeping an eye on the garlic so it doesn’t even begin to brown is really important to a good sauce. Remove the garlic and any garlic bits and set aside. Into the remaining oil, add in the turkey (patted dry) and saute for about 5 minutes on low heat. (You don’t want it to brown, so it really absorbs all of the rich flavors.) Add in the garlic, olives, capers, chili flakes, marinara sauce, Sriracha sauce, bay leaf and black pepper. Give it a good stir and increase the heat until it boils. Once it boils, lower the heat on the lowest setting and simmer for half an hour, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. Season with sea salt if needed. Start the meal off with a chunky green salad and pair the turkey puttanesca with ziti, pan-fried potatoes, rice or a creamy polenta. Makes 4 servings and this is great heated up as leftovers.


Cod with Tomatoes, Shallot & Olives

This is my favorite way to make cod. The sweetness of the tomatoes and the salty depth of the olives makes this fish dish extra special and it’s on the table in no time. This dish is really simple, so fresh ingredients make a difference in flavor. If you have an olive bar in your supermarket, grab a handful for this dish, it just makes this so much better and grab a few extra so you have something to munch on while you cook. ;) Combine this with a quick brown rice and quinoa pilaf or orzo to complete the meal. You want a side dish that will help you along with enjoying all of the tasty pan juices. Worst case scenario: just get a hunk of bread and really enjoy! Serve with lemon wedges on the side, if you like. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound cod, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced thinly shallot
  • 4 Campari tomatoes, halved and sliced
  • about 10 oil cured olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • handful of pale celery leaves, chopped
  • sea salt (obsessed with pink Himalayan salt right now.)

In a large heavy bottomed pan, combine the olive oil and the shallots and a light sprinkling of salt. Saute on low heat until the shallots are transparent, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the tomatoes and saute for another 5 minutes until the tomatoes soften and release some of their juices, stirring occasionally. Toss in the olives midway and give it a good stir. Next, nestle in the cod pieces into the shallot, tomato and olive mixture, placing the thicker pieces in the hottest part of the pan. Cover and saute for about 3 minutes then turn over and saute another 3 minutes, until the fish pieces flake. Top with the celery leaves and cover, let sit for a minute or so and serve. Serves 4.

Roasted Beef Bone Marrow Platter

Halloween skeletons sway from the trees, as October winds pick up and bring leaves with its whisper. Skeleton arms creepingly emerge from front yards alongside grave stones, as flickering lights complete the eerie scene. Halloween touches upon the darkside, as we embrace it and make peace with it. When I was little, my mom would make chicken soup and sometimes add marrow bones to enrich the flavor. And when the soup was done and I saw some empty marrow bones in my mom’s bowl, my mom had to show me that the marrow had fallen out and were swimming in the bottom of the soup pot. (It didn’t dissolve into the soup, like I had thought, lol and I was relieved!) After much reassurance, lol, I ate my soup and it was so good! It took me a long time to appreciate marrow bones, as my husband reintroduced me to them. In the cooler, rainy summer days, he made a broth with the bones and spread the soft buttery marrow on toast and I was a little hooked! Later tossing them on the grill, and now with the cooler weather upon us, tossing them in the oven. This is an appetizer that is indulgent and all you need to be satisfied is a little bit on toast. It’s delicious with the salty olive tapanade. If you want more of a pungent flavor add a thin slice of blue cheese on top. And if you want pure indulgence, make a little well in your marrow and pour in a little cream…My favorite is the marrow spread on toast and topped with an arugula leaf, just delicious! And so, as we make peace with the darkside of the season, embracing the ghosts, ghouls and the supernatural, I’ve made peace with what I thought was from the darkside that was lurking in the chicken soup of my childhood…those marrow bones.

  • 1 & 1/2 pounds beef marrow bones
  • 1 ciabatta roll, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup black Cerignola olives
  • 1/4 cup oil cured olives
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed baby arugula leaves plus more for garnish
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 smashed garlic clove
  • sprinkle of garlic powder
  • ground black pepper
  • sea salt, if needed
  • 1 teaspoon pear infused balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • slice of blue cheese *optional
  • heavy cream *optional
Rub the garlic on both sides of the bread slices and lightly spritz with cooking spray, place on a cookie sheet. Place in a 425 degree pre-heated oven and bake for 5 minutes. Take your cookie sheet out, flip the slices over, spritzing the other side. Bake for 3-5 minutes, until as brown as you like. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Wash your bones well and place them in a heavy bottomed pan or glass pie dish and place in the oven for 35 minutes, roasting them uncovered. While your bones roast, make your olive and arugula tapanade. Remove the pits from the olives. Roughly chop the oil cured olives and finely mince the Cerignola olives. If you can’t find the Cerignola olives, use any mild flavored black olive. In a bowl, combine half of the minced Cerignola olives with the oil cured and blend with a hand immersion blender or regular blender to make a paste. Combine that with the remaining Cerignola olives. Finely mince the arugula and add to the olives along with the lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Season with sea salt, if needed. Once your bone marrow is done, (they should be brown and bubbly) make your platter. Arrange the marrow bones, olive tapanade, toast, cream, blue cheese and arugula leaves so everyone can help themselves. Serve nice and hot. Serves 4.

Cedar Planked Salmon with Artichokes, Olives, Sun Dried Tomatoes & Roasted Red Peppers

Time is flying by and it’s hard to believe that Labor Day is this Monday, it’s the last unofficial weekend of summer. I know there will still be hot days (I hope) left and I have yet to go down the shore! I love it after the season, when the boardwalk is almost empty and the feeling of fall is in the air. Labor Day is always a little bittersweet but this meal will help the transition. ;) Enjoy this meal by candlelight, while relaxing outdoors as a late summer breeze passes by, as you savor the last bits of summertime. This is enough for 2 to 3 people to share. Have a great weekend and Labor Day! :)

  • 1 pound salmon, skin left on, in one piece
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup marinated artichoke halves, *rinsed if needed
  • about 6 sun dried tomato halves, ripped into pieces
  • 1 heaping tablespoon pitted oil cured olives
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed and roughly minced
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fire roasted red pepper plus about about 1 pepper, cut into halves, about 3-4 pieces
  • a few leaves rosemary leaves, minced
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sea salt
  • (1) 11×7 cedar plank, (one that will fit the salmon, usually they have them by the seafood dept)

To start, soak your cedar plank for over an hour. In the meantime, melt the butter and olive oil on low heat and add the garlic. Saute until the garlic is soft, add in the artichokes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the red pepper and a few rosemary leaves minced, season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes until heated through and set aside, keeping them warm.  Heat up your grill to about 550 degrees, place your plank on the grill for about 3 minutes, pull it off and flip the plank. Drizzle a little olive oil on the grilled side and place your red pepper halves on it. On top of the red pepper place your salmon, skin side down and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place on the grill and grill for about 8 minutes. Keep an eye on it, as mine began to burn, so definitely keep a spray bottle nearby!    Please wear gloves to protect your hands and handle with a sturdy pair of tongs. The cooking time really depends on the thickness of the fish, so test with a fork to check for doneness. After the 8 minutes, top with half of the veggies and grill for another 7 minutes or so, keeping an eye on it. Once it’s done, add the rest of the veggies on top.

I served the salmon with corn grits but buttered garlicky orzo or polenta would be great with this also. To make the corn grits you need:

  • 1/2 cup stone ground white corn grits
  • 1 cup chicken stock, *water works fine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter  
  • sea salt 
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • minced fresh rosemary leaves

Bring the chicken stock, water, butter and sea salt to a boil on high heat. Slowly add in the grits and lower the heat stirring often, for about 8 minutes. The recommended cooking time is 15-20 minutes but found they cooked quickly, so test them. Once they are to your liking, add in the heavy cream, ground pepper and a few minced leaves of rosemary. Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves. Enjoy!


Pantry Potato Salad

I usually have some goodies stocked in the cupboard like olives, anchovies, marinated artichoke hearts, lots of beans, pasta, salty capers and olive oil. It’s great to have it on hand because in a pinch you can throw together a quick bean salad or a nice, salty anchovy pasta dish. This rustic potato salad is nice to serve with buttery grilled fish and crusty bread to soak up all of the olive oil dressing and any juices from the fish.

  • 2 cups of cooked fingerling potatoes, about 10, assorted sizes.
  • 1 6 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup halved black olives
  • 1 2 oz. can anchovies rolled with capers, roughly chopped, feel for any bones and remove
  • 2 tablespoons Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • fresh ground pepper

Cut your potatoes at a diagonal, about an inch wide and add them to a bowl. Feel free to use any kind of potatoes you have on hand. Add your drained artichoke hearts, a little of the liquid, olives, anchovies, onion and parsley. Mix your olive oil, apple cider vinegar and ground black pepper. Mix your salad with the dressing and let it sit at room temperature for a while so the flavors intermingle together. Enjoy!