Baked Shrimp and Feta

Picked up some beautiful Carolina spring shrimp at Saltwater Markets on Friday. Starting to be quite nice here, and I wanted something light for dinner. Had most of these ingredients on hand and the dish came together quickly.

1-1/2 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 tbsp. olive oil, I used OMed’s Picual – it smells just like a fresh tomato leaf!
2 tsp oregano
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Italian parsley, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of Rao’s arrabbiata sauce
Crushed red pepper to taste
5-6 oz crumbled feta cheese

Heat oven to 400 deg. F.

Add the shrimp, 3 tbsp. olive oil, and 1 tsp oregano to a Ziploc bag and combine. Marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the rest of the dish.

Heat a skillet on medium, sauté the onion in 2 tbsp. olive oil for 6-7 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper, stir until combined. Mix in the arrabbiata sauce and 1 tsp oregano, simmer for a few minutes until heated through.

Butter a 9″ baking dish. Add the shrimp and Italian parsley to the sauce mixture and stir until blended. Pour into the buttered baking dish and top with the crumbled feta. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until feta is browned and starting to slightly melt. Serve over rice, and hit it with a squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!

Tomato Pie

Summer is all about fresh tomatoes! When we were in lockdown earlier in the year, I joined this wonderful group of professional and home chefs on Facebook – ‘Quarantine Cuisine’. A couple of weeks ago Richard Tang did a live cooking class with a tomato pie that looked delicious.

Tested it out tonight, with a couple of tweaks for my personal taste. To peel the tomatoes, slice an x into the bottom of each one and drop them into boiling water for 30-45 seconds. When the skins start to come off at the x, take them out and put them directly into an ice water bath. The skins then very easily slide off.

Tomato Pie

4 large tomatoes, peeled
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese
1 9-inch deep dish piecrust
Salt and pepper
Maldon’s smoked sea salt flakes, for finishing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the tomatoes and place them in a colander over a large bowl. Sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for 15 minutes to draw moisture out.

Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon zest, and garlic; salt and pepper to taste. Add the mozzarella, cheddar, and pecorino and fold until well mixed. Set aside.

Line the pie plate with the piecrust and use a fork to poke holes on the bottom of the crust. Layer the tomatoes and then top with the onions and chopped basil.

Spread the cheese mixture on top. Garnish with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Bake in the oven until lightly browned, about 35-40 minutes. Check the bottom crust and if it needs a few more minutes, put it back in on the lower rack. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve slices warm, finished with a sprinkle of smoked sea salt flakes.

Mussels with White Wine and Tomatoes

Last night I was shopping at my favorite grocery in Cornwall. Over by the seafood counter a standalone display caught my eye. There were a handful of 2 lb nets of jet-black mussels with ice packed around them. I love mussels, so naturally I grabbed a bag for Saturday night dinner.

Mussels are pretty easy to prepare. This time I decided to do mine with white wine and tomatoes. They are usually available scrubbed and debearded; you can also ask your fishmonger to do this. When ready to use them, rinse well in a colander. Discard any with broken shells or open mussels that do not close when you tap lightly on them.

Let’s cook! 🙂

3 Tbsp. Kerrygold butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes (my favorite are Mutti Finely Chopped Tomatoes)
1/2 cup of dry white wine
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Warm, grilled slices of baguette

Melt the butter in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until fragrant and soft, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, until that wonderful garlic aroma is drawn out.

Add the tomatoes, white wine, and parsley. Stir until combined and then season with salt and pepper. Bring to just a simmer, not a rolling boil.

Add the mussels, cover, and simmer until all the shells are open; about 4-6 minutes. Discard any shells that are not open.


Spoon mussels into a bowl and ladle sauce over them; garnish with more parsley. Serve with grilled baguette slices to mop up that wonderful sauce.

Enjoy!! 🙂



Spicy Weeknight Chili

Now that comfort food season has kicked in and the temperatures are down in the 30s, I decided to whip up some quick weeknight chili. I’m also trying to clean out my freezer before I head South for a few months.

In this recipe, I used ground turkey, but you can use beef or pork as well. Most of the ingredients are in the typical household pantry. In most recipes where I would normally use red-wine vinegar, lately I’ve switched it out for Ume Plum Vinegar. Tangy and salty, it is made from Japanese ume plums. It is also great as a condiment and in salad dressings; a rich, tart sweetness paired with salt.


Let’s get cooking!! 🙂

2-3 Tbsp olive oil  (I used cilantro and roasted onion infused olive oil)
1 large red onion, chopped
1 red or orange bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbsp chili powder
3 Tbsp Ume Plum Vinegar (you can substitute red-wine vinegar)
One 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
Two 16 oz cans of dark red kidney beans
1/2 cup of good red wine
Ground pepper and salt, to taste

Heat a large saute pan on medium and add the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic; saute until they start to get soft, around five minutes.

Add the turkey (or beef) to the pan. Brown the meat and then add the cumin, oregano, basil, and chili powder. Stir well to distribute the spices.

Stir in the Ume Plum vinegar and crushed tomatoes, and simmer on lower heat for 15 minutes. Add the red wine and kidney beans; simmer for 15 more minutes on just enough heat to hold a simmer. If the chili appears to be a bit too thick, add 1/2 cup of water.

Take the chili off heat and let stand for at least five minutes. Scoop into bowls and add your favorite chili toppings. I added shredded cheese, sour cream, and my most favorite herb – fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

Suggested chili toppings: Sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips, corn bread crumbles, and avocado.



Stuffed Cabbage Soup

With the cold weather we’re having, I thought that soup would be a great idea for the weekend, with leftovers for the week. Poked around on the web and found a couple of recipes for stuffed cabbage soup. I had pretty much everything already in the house, so this one was fairly easy to whip up.

Since it’s a Sunday, I decided to spend some time cooking instead of throwing everything in the Instant Pot. I’m also on a sugar detox, so adapted this recipe from The Recipe Critic to be a bit healthier and detox friendly.

Stuffed Cabbage Soup

Let’s talk ingredients! As I move to a more whole food, healthier lifestyle, I learn more everyday about the quality of food in our markets and what to avoid. Believe me, there is A LOT that should be avoided. Here are my tips:

  • Use organic, grass-fed ground beef from a trusted local source. I’m not going to get into a discussion on factory farming. 😊
  • All salt is not the same. Typical table salt is highly processed and ends up being around 99% sodium chloride, which makes it very easy to exceed a recommended daily intake. My standard choice now is Himalayan Pink Salt (HPS). HPS contains about 85% sodium chloride, and the remainder contains over 80 minerals have many health benefits. Organics has a great article describing the differences.
  • San Marzano tomatoes – I LOVE them. You may have wondered how a small town near Naples, Italy, produces enough of these wonderful gems to supply supermarkets year-round. It doesn’t. In fact, only about 5% of the San Marzano tomato products are authentic (ref. Food & Wine article). Read the label before spending your money. Here are the things to look for to make sure you’re getting the real deal:
    • San Marzano tomatoes are only sold in cans, either whole or in fillets. Tomatoes that are jarred or those that are labeled ‘puree,’ ‘chopped,’ ‘diced,’ ‘sauce,’ or ‘organic’ are not San Marzanos.
    • Look for the words ‘Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese Nocerino D.O.P.’ on the can; and the symbols of the Consorzio and the D.O.P., the latter of which identifies European regional food products protected by law. The Consorzio assigns a number to each can, labeled as ‘N° XXXXXXX.’ If you do not see these things, don’t pay the premium price.
  • White rice, bad – highly processed and stripped of nutrients. In this recipe, I used Lundberg’s Wild Blend, which turned out to be an excellent, hearty addition.



1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons Kerrygold butter, divided
1 medium head cabbage, cut into 8 wedges and sliced thickly
1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted chopped tomatoes, not drained
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (or 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes)
3 cups Swanson organic beef stock
3 cups cooked Lundberg Wild Blend rice


If you’re using a rice cooker, start your rice now. Mine took about 50 minutes to cook. Follow directions on your rice to prepare 3 cups of cooked rice.

Heat a dutch oven over high heat and add the ground beef; season well with the Himalayan pink salt and coarse black pepper. Crumble the ground beef into large crumbles, and make sure to get a good brown on it. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high, and add half of the butter to the pan followed by the chopped onions. Saute the onions for 4-5 minutes until softened and starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until it becomes fragrant. Do not brown the garlic. Remove the onion and garlic mixture from the pan and set aside.

Keep the pan over medium-high heat, add the remaining butter and cabbage. Cook until cabbage is wilted and browned.

Pulse the can of San Marzanos in a blender until like crushed tomatoes. Do not process until pureed. Of course, skip this step if you’re using crushed tomatoes.

Add the beef and onion/garlic mixture into the pan, along with the diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and beef stock. Let simmer for 30 minutes over low heat.

If you are cooking rice on the stove or in an Instant Pot, start it now. Follow the directions on the rice to make 3 cups of cooked rice.

After 30 minutes of simmering (and when the rice is done) add the rice just before serving, and stir gently. Enjoy! 😊