Category Archives: Seafood

Borscht with Beef (Борщ с мясом)

Blogging traditional Russian recipes can be controversial. Three of my most popular recipe blogs are Russian dishes: Lamb Plov, Lemon Ricotta Syrniki and Pelmeni. About once a week I get emails from readers who tell me that although my recipe was delicious, this is *not* how their mother/grandmother/aunt made the dish. I have a feeling that I’m going to receive similar reaction to this recipe.

Borscht

Borscht

When I was growing up, borscht was a staple in our Russian Jewish household. Mama made borscht once every two months or so. When we were really lucky, grandma would make it! Somehow, even though grandma used the same recipe, hers was always better (shhhhh…. don’t tell mama!)  Now I get to share my version of my family recipe with you!

Enjoy!

Stew meat and beef bones ready to braise

Stew meat and beef bones ready to braise

Sauteed Vegetables

Sauteed Vegetables

Peeled Beets

Peeled Beets

Cubed Beets

Cubed Beets

Borscht with Beef

Borscht with Beef

Beef Borscht

Beef Borscht

Borscht with Beef (Борщ с мясом)

Makes 12-16 bowls of soup

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large red, orange or yellow peppers, diced
3 large carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 pounds stew meat, diced
2-3 pounds beef bones
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small can of tomato paste
4 medium size raw beets, peeled and diced
4 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups shredded cabbage
24 cups water (approximately), divided
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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For serving:
Dill Sprigs
Sour Cream

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot (7.25 quart), on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onion, peppers, carrots and celery. Saute for 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent and peppers have softened. Remove from pot, set aside.
2. Season stew meat liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add stew meat to the pot and brown on all sides.
3. Season beef bones liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Add beef bones to the pot and brown on all sides.
4. Add enough water to cover beef bones. Approximately 8 cups. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to a medium/low simmer.
5. Let simmer until water has reduced by half, stirring occasionally. This will take about 1 hour.
6. Add garlic, tomato paste, raw beets and potatoes. Return sauteed vegetables to the pot. Add 16 cups of water (the pot should almost be full).
7. Bring heat up to a medium/high and let the soup come to a boil.  Turn down to a low simmer and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, until beets and potatoes are cooked through.
8. Add cabbage. Simmer another 5 minutes.
9. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper as needed.
10. Enjoy!!
Cooks note: The soup tastes best after it’s been cooled and reheated… so go ahead and enjoy it tomorrow for dinner!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

Here’s a great salad that uses a bit of mayo to make an otherwise boring salad, extraordinary! I usually don’t use a mayonnaise-based salad dressing because I find them too heavy and bulky. A mayo-based dressing works so well in this salad because the flavors and texture of the broccoli and cauliflower are so strong on their own that a slightly creamier dressing helps to them mellow out.

The salad is crunchy and refreshing and will travel well; just pack the dressing separately, in a refrigerated case and add it to the salad when you get to your destination! The kids love it and it will be a big hit at potluck dinners. Enjoy and let me know what you think in comments!

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad with Turkey Bacon

 Serves 10-12 as a side Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian

Ingredients

Salad
1 8oz package Trader Joe’s uncured turkey bacon (or soy bacon)
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1/2 red onion, diced
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Dressing
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or another mild flavored oil)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
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Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Directions

1. On a large baking sheet, broil turkey bacon (or soy bacon) until crispy. Approximately 8 minutes on one side and then 5 minutes on the other side. Let bacon cool and cut into 1/2 inch strips. Reserve.
2. In a large bowl combine broccoli florets, cauliflower florets and diced red onion.
3. Combine dressing ingredients. Whisk to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add dressing to large bowl with broccoli, cauliflower and red onion. Toss to combine.
5. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for 1-2 days. Tastes best at room temperature.
6. Top with turkey bacon pieces prior to serving.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Orzo with Olives, Tomatoes & Chickpeas

I’m obsessed with using orzo for pasta salads. Maybe I’m just obsessed with orzo. When I was a kid my mom would cook a box and then store the cooked pasta in the fridge. She’d add it to soup (because we ate soup every day) for my sister and I to make the soup more interesting. Sometimes, we’d convince her to let us eat plain orzo. What a treat!!

Orzo with Olives, Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Orzo with Olives, Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Fast forward to adulthood and I still love orzo. I now give it to my own kids as the “noodle” in their chicken soup. I also love it in pasta salad. It’s daintier than rotini, easier to pick up than fusilli, more mature than childish elbows, etc. You name a pasta shape and I’ll find a reason that orzo always wins. I also love it because it’s easier to have a good pasta to “other stuff” ratio with orzo. It doesn’t feel like you’re eating a pasta salad, but a salad with pasta. That makes sense, right?

Great for potlucks, picnics, vegan dinner options… it’s a well rounded hit!

Enjoy!

Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas

Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas
Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas

Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas

Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas

Orzo with Olives Tomatoes Chickpeas

Optional: Add grilled or broiled shrimp. Or swap out the chickpeas for the shrimp

Optional: Add grilled or broiled shrimp. Or swap out the chickpeas for the shrimp

Orzo with Olives, Tomatoes & Chickpeas

Serves 12-15 as a side

Ingredients

1 pound orzo (or GF pasta) cooked per package instructions until al dente
3 cups (1 1/2 pints) grape tomatoes, halved
2 3.8 ounce cans sliced black olives, drained
2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed*
2 shallots, finely diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
*Optional: Replace chickpeas with 1 pound of grilled or broiled shrimp

Directions

1. In a large bowl, combine cooked and cooled pasta with remaining ingredients.
2. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for 1-2 days. Tastes best at room temperature.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Sometimes the quest to use up leftovers turns into an entirely new meal. I set out to use up leftover grilled chicken breast. I love using ground meats for chili, but this chili-inspired soup can be flexible enough to take on full pieces of protein. This soup can be modified based on whatever leftover proteins you have available. Steak, chicken, tofu, turkey, pork loin, etc… even meatballs would work well here.

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

A lighter version of basic chili, this soup is a fantastic cold weather comfort food. The kids love the crunch of the tortilla chips and only add a few crushed chips every few minutes, for fear that they will get too soggy. I love that they have eating strategies! If you have any eating strategies, go ahead and share them in the comments.

Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Tortilla Soup with Shrimp & Chicken

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Makes 8-12 bowls of soup

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large red peppers, diced
2 teaspoons TJ’s taco mix (or whatever chili seasoning you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, minced (more if you love garlic)
1 14 ounce can of TJ’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 quart TJ’s chicken broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups hot water
1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
About 2 cups Leftover chicken breast, diced (or leftover steak or pork chops, etc.)
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
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For serving:
Crushed tortilla chips
Cilantro
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

1. In a large heavy bottomed pot, on medium-high heat, add olive oil. Add onions and red pepper and saute for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent and peppers have softened.
2. Add garlic and seasoning. Saute to combine.
3. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, water, beans and diced chicken. Bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, uncovered.
4. Turn off heat and add the shrimp. The residual heat will cook the shrimp.
5. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper, remembering that you’re going to add salted tortilla chips to the final product.
6. Enjoy with crushed tortilla chips, a few pieces of cilantro and a squeeze of lime… after all, it’s Tortilla Soup!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Broiled Honey & Soy Glazed Salmon

Fresh fish rarely needs fancy sauces or elaborate preparation to taste good. The same goes for most fresh animal-based proteins. Broiling salmon is a quick and easy way to ensure that you don’t overcook the delicate meat.

This recipe is easy enough that it can be a staple in your weeknight menu planning.

Broiled Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

Broiled Honey Soy Glazed Salmon

Delicious food doesn’t have to be fussy!  Here’s a recipe that combines some salty and sweet elements to enhance an already-gorgeous piece of salmon.

Broiled Salmon on sheet pan

Broiled Salmon on sheet pan

So pretty.... broiled honey soy glazed salmon

So pretty…. broiled honey soy glazed salmon

Broiled Honey & Soy Glazed Salmon

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 6

Ingredients

6 salmon fillets, 6-8 ounces each
1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canola oil (or other mild oil that can withstand high heat)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper 

Directions

Turn on broiler, place rack in middle of the oven (if you have a bottom broiler and have a Hi/Lo option, turn on Lo)
1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce and honey.
2. On a foil-lined baking sheet, smear thin layer of canola oil. Place salmon, skin side down, on baking sheet. Sprinkle salmon with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
3. Placing baking sheet in the middle of the oven and broil for 5-6 minutes.
4. Remove baking sheet. Pour a teaspoon or two of honey soy mixture on each fillet.
5. Place baking sheet into the oven and broil for another 5-6 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and top with remaining honey soy mixture.
Enjoy!
Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!

Shrimp, Spinach & Artichokes Over TriColor Penne

Spring in New York is a wonderful thing. Not only because the weather is glorious and everyone sheds their winter coats, but because the bounty at the farmers market is plentiful. Colors abound, choices are plenty… it feels like your menu possibilities are endless.

Shrimp, Spinach & Artichokes

Shrimp, Spinach & Artichokes

Until the one day that it rains. And you don’t have a plan for dinner. And it’s the day after Memorial Day. And because you had the pleasure of being a guest all weekend and didn’t host any parties, you have no leftovers. Time for Plan B: refrigerator, pantry and freezer items. From the pantry: pasta and canned artichoke hearts. From the freezer: shrimp and spinach.

Even if you’re not in a pinch, this is a great recipe to fall back on. It’s a fantastic one-pot-wonder that will be as flexible as you want it to be. Using a full bag of frozen spinach? Great! Don’t like artichokes? No problem! Whatever modifications you make to it, it will still hold up. The kids loved it. The husband loved it. And I even had enough for friends who came over to look through hand-me-downs.

Enjoy!  

Freezer: Shrimp & Spinach Pantry: Pasta & Artichokes

Freezer: Shrimp & Spinach         Pantry: Pasta & Artichokes

Saute artichokes in butter and olive oil

Saute artichokes in butter and olive oil

Golden brown artichokes

Golden brown artichokes

Remove artichokes from the pot and reserve

Remove artichokes from the pot and reserve

Saute spinach until warmed through

Saute spinach until warmed through. When warmed through, add to reserved artichokes.

Add white wine and butter. Deglaze the pot and reduce for a few minutes

Add white wine and butter. Deglaze the pot and reduce for a few minutes (don’t worry if there’s some residual spinach bits)

Add shrimp to the wine

Add shrimp to the wine

Cook shrimp until opaque, 3-5 minutes.

Cook shrimp until opaque, 3-5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot. Warm through.

Add remaining ingredients to the pot. Warm through.

Shrimp, Spinach, Artichokes & Tri Color Penne

Shrimp, Spinach, Artichokes & Tri Color Penne

Shrimp, Spinach, Artichokes & Tri Color Penne

Shrimp, Spinach, Artichokes & Tri Color Penne

Shrimp, Spinach & Artichokes with Tricolor Penne

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 pound pasta (or GF pasta), cooked per package instructions (I used tricolor penne)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 bag frozen chopped spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup white wine
2 pounds shrimp, deveined and peeled
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

Directions

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot.
2. Add drained artichoke hearts and saute until browned. Remove from pot and reserve.
3. Add spinach to the pot. Warm through and add garlic. Remove from pot and reserve.
4. Add white wine to the pot. Deglaze the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes.
5. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and let melt.
6. Add shrimp. Cook for 3-4 minutes until opaque.
7. If there isn’t much remaining liquid in the pot, add 1/2 cup chicken, seafood or vegetable stock or water. 
8. Return artichokes and spinach to the pot. Add cooked spinach to the pot. Stir to combine.
9. Taste and season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

One thing that we never have leftovers of is lobster. They’re usually a treat on a summer holiday weekend when Stew Leonard’s, Fairway or Whole Foods is having a sale so steep that it feels like they’re giving them away. We buy just enough because reheating lobster makes it rubbery and no one likes rubbery lobster. Our usual way to prepare lobster is a quick boil, but sometimes you have to feed a crowd. To stretch your lobster dollar even further, you can use all the lobster body parts to make this luxuriously  creamy Truffled Mac & Cheese. This dish is a guaranteed hit for both adults and kids!

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

The dish is more time consuming than I’d like it to be, but the results are so spectacular that I’m willing to put in the effort. I also try to do it when I know we’re going to have company over, which stretches the lobster treat a loooooong way. It makes this dish an affordable crowd pleaser. Plus, if guests are hanging out in the kitchen with me while the dish is cooking, it makes the time go much faster.

This recipe works well immediately served from the stove, or baked. Depends on how you like your macaroni & cheese. Our preference is to eat it as soon as the cheese sauce is ready. Once the smell of lobster and truffles are in the air, it’s difficult to force yourself to wait another 20-30 minutes for the mac & cheese to bake.

Enjoy!

Creamy pre-baked Lobster Mac & Cheese

Creamy pre-baked Lobster Mac & Cheese

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese

Makes 8 large entrees

Ingredients

1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 lemon, halved
Large pot of water
2 (or more) lobster bodies/shells
1 pound regular or GF pasta (I love small shells in this dish!)
1 quart heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup AP flour (or GF AP flour)
1/2 cup grated TJ’s truffle cheese (or 1 cup and omit the cheddar)
1/2 cup grated white cheddar cheese (or 1 cup and omit the truffle cheese)
1 tablespoon truffle salt (or kosher salt)
Optional: 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or panko

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack positioned in the middle of the oven.
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil with the old bay and lemon halves.
2. Submerge the lobsters into the boiling water and remove them after 5 minutes. You only want to par-boil them.
3. Remove meat from claws and tails. Roughly chop and set meat aside.
4. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, combine the heavy cream, milk and lobster shells. On medium/high heat bring to a boil, then let simmer on low for 40 minutes. This allows the lobster flavor to infuse into the cream mixture.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta as per box instructions, but 1-2 minutes less. It should have some bite, al dente. Drain well, but don’t rinse. Pour into a 9×13″ baking pan.
6. Remove the lobster shells and pour the cream mixture through a strainer to make sure that small shell pieces don’t remain.
7. Return the strained cream mixture to the pot and simmer on low for another 20 minutes. The mixture will reduce by about 1/3 from it’s original size.
8. With the pot still on low, remove 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into a small bowl. Whisk the flour into the cream to make a paste (roux). Whisk the roux back into the cream mixture to thicken the whole pot.
9. Add the grated cheeses and truffle salt (or kosher salt) to the creamy roux. Stir until incorporated.
10. Once the cheese is melted and thickened the cream, add the reserved lobster pieces. Cook for another 1-2 minutes (don’t overcook the lobster, it will become rubbery).
11. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
12. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir to combine. It’s ready to eat!
13. Or… you can bake it: Sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta.
14. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy!
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Eat, Drink & Be Yummy!
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