Friday, November 30, 2012


  Scampi is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh shrimp.  A bit of olive oil, garlic, lemon, herbs, a splash of white wine and a good sizzle and it's done.  But this weekend I decided to empty out my refrigerator drawers and make a nice alternative to my traditional scampi as well as clean out the frig.  You know how those many zip lock bags can pile up with half a zucchini or just a few tomatoes in them?  Use any vegetables you have on's all good.

 Scampi with Vegetables

  • 2 TBLS unsalted butter 
  • 3 TBLS olive oil  
  • 6  garlic cloves , smashed & minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tsps fresh oregano, basil, savory & parsley
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2  cup of mixed vegetables - I used zucchini, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives and  3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 pound of large shrimp
  • 1# linguine

Cook and drain linguine as directed on package, reserving a half cup of pasta water.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil and butter in large skillet, and saute garlic and lemon zest about 30 seconds. Add vegetables, herbs and wine; cook and stir over medium heat until just tender.
Add the shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add two ladles of pasta water and cook just a few minutes longer. Squeeze the juice of your lemon over the entire dish and season generously with ground pepper. I omit any sea salt, as I find shrimp salty enough on it's own. Spoon over pasta and toss well. Pass the wine and  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Glazed Carrots

 Every year, as Thanksgiving approaches and the holiday season picks up speed, it seems as if there's even less time to get things done.  Menu's and shopping lists.  Right about now you're probably deep into holiday planning and just beginning to wonder how you'll get it all done.  You want to make sure everything's just right, right? The perfect dinner, desserts and even the perfect playlist on your iPod.  Some things on your list you could probably skip, while others you wish you could fast forward through so you could have more time for the good stuff.

Unfortunately, there's no personal shopper, no executive chef.  No set designer to trim the house.  The truth is, none of us is Martha (not even Martha, I imagine) and in the real world we could all use a little help.  So stick with the things that really matter... family, friends and thankfulness and instead make the most of your time this season, and  slow down for the holidays. KISS you know what I mean? 
I just love all the traditional dishes on Thanksgiving and so along with the star of our table -- Tom, he'll be accompanied by breadcrumb and winter vegetable stuffing, Italian mashed potatoes, creamed onions, acorn squash, glazed carrots,  cranberry orange relish, giblet gravy, a pasta dish, and then there's pumpkin pie for dessert!  And this year, I am also thankful that much of what will go onto our table we grew in our own garden.  As much as I do enjoy a turkey dinner, what I really love even more is when the fella's around the house get to do clean-up detail and wash all those dishes afterwards...and then around 8 o'clock the leftover turkey sandwiches get served! :) 
          Wishing  you all safe travel, and a very fruitful and special Thanksgiving Day.

Glazed Carrots with Cranberries
 adapted from Cook's Illustrated
1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced
½ tsp sea salt
3 TBLS brown sugar
½ cup vegetable broth
2 TBLS butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
ground black pepper
 Bring carrots, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar and  broth to boil, covered, in 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until carrots are almost tender when poked with tip of paring knife, about 5-8 minutes. 

Uncover, increase heat to high, and simmer rapidly, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 1 to 2 minutes. 
 Add butter and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar to skillet; toss carrots to coat. Add dried cranberries and cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are completely tender and glaze is light gold.

Remove from heat and  add lemon juice; toss to coat. Transfer carrots to serving dish, scraping glaze from pan. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper - serve warm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thyme for winter

With the herbs nearly all  harvested now its time to make sure our winter medicine cabinet has all it needs. Thyme honey is one of the important parts of our medicine cabinet. It is used for colds, influenza and sore throats. Thyme has strong antiseptic properties including activity against viruses, insects, bacteria and fungus. Traditionally, thyme was used to treat bronchitis but I find it to be useful in our house for treating winter illnesses such as colds such as the one I am fighting  now.

One nice way to use thyme is as honey and its very easy to make. You can still pick thyme now, it should withstand a mild frost just fine. Cut stems short and put them in a glass mason jar. Cover the thyme with wildflower honey. Put the jar in a pan of water to slightly heat the honey while pushing the thyme down and adding more thyme. Once the honey is fluid, put the lid on the jar and store the honey with the thyme still in it until needed. You can use this honey to add to tea or use it straight for a sore throat.