Lamb Meatballs

Meatballs are easy for a lot of different applications from appetizers to a great potluck dish — and they make for a super quick weeknight meal. I use lamb meat because I tend to choose more sustainable options than beef. From time to time I really crave “red meat!” Lamb is almost always pasture raised since lamb/sheep are a great way for farmers to fertilize and mow their grass. This recipe all calls for 1 pan, and a cast iron will yield a super nice crust!

Lamb Meatballs

Serves 3-4

1 LB ground lamb

1 egg

2 anchovies

1 TSP nutmeg

2 slices of day old sourdough

1/2 C cottage cheese, full fat

1 1/2 C tomatoes, crushed or pureed

1 TB olive oil

kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

Turn your oven to 350F. Using a 12” sauté pan or cast iron, brush 1 tablespoon or so of olive oil until the heat is almost smoking.

In a foot processor, put the slices of bread and let run until coarse breadcrumbs are formed. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg, nutmeg, cottage cheese and anchovies together. Turn your oven to 350F. Combined with the bread crumbs and mix by hand. Season well with salt and pepper. Using two spoons or a 2” cookie dough scooper, form 2” balls right unto the greased hot pan. See photo for how close the meatballs should be to one another. Sear on both sides, and add the tomato puree to the pan. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through but still moist.

Serve hot over creamy polenta, braised fennel, a green salad or on their own in a small bowl with a bit of grated parmesan.

Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

I am not one to go through the multiple steps of making a pasta and then baking it but once in a while it’s really worth it to get that crusty top and make sure all the flavors combine in the oven. I’ve been thinking of more ways to incorporate dark, leafy greens into dishes. They are so nutritious and delicious! Most of us get in the same rut of using them as a side dish sautéed with garlic or in a stir-fry but there are countless ways to use these vegetables. If you’re a vegetarian, omit the sausage from this recipe. So let’s do it!


Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

1 LB medium shells, rigatoni, farfalle, or any similar size pasta

1 LB hot Italian sausage, pork or chicken

4oz grated smoked mozzarella

2 TB chili oil, or red chili flakes

1 large bunch broccoli rabe, washed and chopped into 2” pieces

1 15oz can of tomatoes

1 small yellow onion, diced

Kosher salt

Olive oil

Take out two medium sized mixing bowls, a large stockpot, and a 12” saute pan or cast iron. Fill the stockpot with salty water and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, dice your onions and grate the smoked mozzarella. Once boiling, add the broccoli rabe for 5 minutes or so. Remove with a strainer and add to one of the mixing bowls.

In your cast iron, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat your onions for 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Then add the sausage. If the sausage are in links, cut through them lengthwise and discard the casing. Brown the sausage and onions but do not overcook. They can be slightly pink in the middle before adding in the can of tomatoes. Bring the pot of water back up to a boil for the pasta. Cook for another 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes have softened and it’s looking like a typical meat sauce. At that point add the broccoli rabe and taste the sauce for salt. Add enough until it’s just right! Cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the package directions. Once the pasta is done, using the same strainer add the pasta to the tomato sausage broccoli rabe sauce.

Carefully mix the ingredients together in the cast iron, adding in half the mozzarella cheese while mixing. Once it’s well mixed, top the dish with the remainder of the cheese and sprinkle with the chili oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 380F for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook another 5-10 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve with a simple green salad and bold red wine.


Lentils in Curry Sauce

Holy smokes this recipe was 10 times better than I thought it would turn out. I love lentils and have forever been fond of them since my grandmother would make a french lentil soup often when I was a kid.

I usually keep a jar of lentils in the pantry for weeks when I am trying to curb our spending a bit. They are protein packed, inexpensive, and vegetarian / vegan friendly. I originally intended to make a Southeast Asian curry, with lots of ginger and coconut milk and lime juice. But at the last minute, I was inspired to veer toward warm spices and Indian flavors. My husband and I love the spicy and rich flavors of Indian cuisine. I am constantly looking for more vegetarian recipes to make at home that are satisfying and make for great leftovers. The result of this Indian curry was stellar and I plan to incorporate this dish into our regular weeknight meal rotation! I hope you do as well.


Curried Lentils

  • 3 TB coconut oil

  • 3 TB curry powder, or 1 tsp each cumin, coriander, and turmeric

  • 1 head of garlic, chopped finely (10-12 cloves)

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped finely

  • 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes

  • 3 TB ginger, chopped finely

  • 1 C dried brown lentils

  • 1 15oz can coconut milk

  • 1 C chopped cilantro

Heat a large saute pan or dutch oven with coconut oil. Add the curry powder and toast for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add your ginger and continue to stir until the oil is mostly absorbed. This recipe calls for a lot of ginger so feel free to cut down on it if you are not a huge fan. I can’t get enough of this root! At this point, your ingredients will look like a thick brown mess. Add the can of tomatoes as well as 3 cups of water or vegetable stock and the cup of lentils. Turn the heat on high. Once the liquid reaches a boil, turn the heat to low and cover for 30-40 minutes until the lentils are soft and cooked through. Taste the dish at this point and adjust as needed. For example, add chili powder.

Add coconut milk, and season with salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh cilantro. Stir until entirely combined. Serve over basmati rice and top with a spoon of good quality organic yogurt. Voila, Indian made at home!

** Turn your rice cooker on once you add your lentils. Rinse the rice 2-3 times to remove the starch. I do this right in the rice cooker pot. Then I throw in 2 cloves and 6 cardamom pods. I have a steamer basket in my rice cooker and add in one cup of frozen peas. By the time your curry is complete you can be up and running with an Indian rice pilaf.


Chicken Satay with Quick Peanut Sauce

In the last few years I have been so fortunate to have visited Indonesia twice. The country is filled with incredible spices (ie:nutmeg, cinnamon, cacao) and other agriculture such as coffee and rice. While on my honeymoon, my husband Ben and I did a farm trek in the central mountains. We learned so much about how generations of farmers use grafting to yield easier harvesting practices and how they carve out families' plots on shared farmland. It is truly inspiring! 


The food there is fantastic. I will never forget the coconut chocolate ice cream made from from the nut and bean on the eco-farm we stayed at. Many fresh spices and herbs are used to provide each vegetable, dessert, and protein with layers of flavor. Think heat from chilies and garlic, color from turmeric and chocolate, and sweetness from fruit like starfish and coconut. So much grows there it is truly awesome!


I was inspired by Indonesian flavors to come up with a simple marinade and dipping sauce to turn chicken into a Southeast Asian experience. Try out a new adventure with this recipe!



Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Serves 2


2 Organic chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1 inch piece ginger or galangal

4 cloves garlic

1 inch piece turmeric (or 1 TSP dried)

1 jalapeno

1 lemongrass stalk

Vermicelli noodles

3 persian or japanese cucumbers or 1 English cucumber

Fresh cilantro and/or fresh mint

2 TB vegetable oil, plus extra for the vermincelli noodles

1 TB soy sauce

1 TB fish sauce

4 Cup water

½ Cup Unsalted peanuts

Kosher salt


Rough chop the garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and jalapeno. For the lemongrass, remove the tough outer layer and use only the bottom ⅓ of the stalk. If you have a mortar and pestle, put half those ingredients inside and pound into a smooth paste. If not, you can chop by hand or add the ingredients to a blender or food processor. Add to a pyrex or ziplock bag. Cube the chicken if you plan to layer onto skewers or slice the chicken breast lengthwise in half and add to the marinade. Refrigerate 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Toast the peanuts in a saute pan or in a 400F until fragrant and they release their oils. You can also buy already roasted peanuts to alleviate this step! Place the peanuts, water, soy sauce, fish sauce, and remaining fresh spices into the same blender or food processor if you used one. Blend for several minutes until creamy and smooth. Taste at this point and check to salt, add pinch by pinch until it suits your taste. At this point, increase the heat level by adding more chopped chili or chili oil. Set the peanut sauce aside in a dish with saran wrap until ready to serve.

Light a charcoal or wood burning grill, once scorching hot, grill the chicken on each side 5 minutes until it’s a bit charred. It should smell very fragrant. Heat a kettle and follow the instructions for the noodles exactly. Toss in a tablespoon or two of canola or sesame oil. On the same platter, add your peanut sauce.

Slice or cut your cucumbers into large bite-sized chunks and add to the platter. Top with freshly picked cilantro and mint. For the last piece, add your skewers or slices of chicken breasts on top of the noodles. Serve hot. This dish is killer with some ice cold beers!

Ben's Famous Eggplant Parmigiana

Full disclosure, my husband is a chef. While he's now on the business side of the food world, he cooked professionally for many years in restaurants and has a few homestyle classics I am lucky enough to enjoy at home. One of them is eggplant parm. The first rule of eggplant parm in our home is Ben only makes it when we can't remember when the last time he made it! This way the meal remains a special treat. This recipe is not what I would call a weeknight staple as it is a bit complicated to make. Ben tries to make this recipe in the summertime since eggplants, tomatoes, and basil are flooding all the farmers markets. However, he also makes it with canned tomatoes in the winter and it is the perfect comfort food on a cold rainy night for a dinner party. While he's making the eggplant parm, I am on  salad duty. I always made a real "ceasar salad" alongside. This Italian American classic meal is a favorite we hope you'll share with your family and friends for years to come. Check out Ben's recipe below! 

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Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 4 hours


2 large cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (if you can, spend a little more for the good kind, it’s worth it)

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 big cloves of garlic, sliced thin

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

½ bunch of basil

3 lbs eggplant (any variety will do, but I prefer smaller ones if possible. More flavor and easier to work with)

3 large eggs

1 qt breadcrumbs (any brand works, but homemade breadcrumbs are amazing - recipe on the way)

2 cups canola oil

1 lb fresh mozzarella

6 oz parmigiano reggiano



Open the cans of whole peeled tomatoes into a large bowl, and squish the tomatoes between your fingers with clean hands until a chunky sauce is formed. Pour the crushed tomatoes into a large sauce pot, along with the olive oil, sliced garlic, a big pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and the basil (stem and all). Bring the sauce up to a simmer, put a lid on it, and let it do its thing for the next two to three hours, stirring and tasting occasionally as you go. After a couple of hours of low simmering, the sauce will be a rich red and smell amazing.



I know that home frying can be a little daunting, but shallow-frying is a good first step in that direction. While the sauce is cooking, slice the eggplant into 1/2" thick discs and transfer them to a large colander (strainer). Salt them liberally with kosher salt and let the bowl sit in the sink for 15 minutes. The salt will draw a good deal of moisture out of the eggplant, removing much of its natural bitterness and making them easier to fry. After 15 minutes, use a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to dry off the eggplant slices.

Pour the canola oil into a wide, heavy bottomed pan and heat over medium-high heat. The should be about ½” deep, depending on how wide the pan is. While the oil is heating, get your frying setup ready. Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk them until no strands remain. Place the breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Working piece by piece, dip the eggplant in egg wash, dredge in breadcrumbs, and carefully place in the oil. Fry for about 1 minute on each side, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Once the pieces are done, carefully remove them from the pan and place them on a cooling rack, being mindful not to stack them so they don’t get soggy. You may have to replenish the oil and skim excess breadcrumbs throughout the frying process so the oil doesn’t taste burnt.


Assembly and Cooking

Heat your oven to 375F. Slice or tear the mozzarella into silver-dollar-sized pieces, and get a hand grater ready for the parmesan. Remove the basil stems from the tomato sauce (you can chop them up and put them back in or discard them at this point), and bring your fried eggplant, sauce, and cheeses to your prep area. In a large casserole dish, layer the ingredients as follows: tomato sauce on the bottom, eggplant, sauce, sliced mozzerella, shredded parmesan, eggplant, sauce, cheese... Keep this eggplant/sauce/cheese pattern going until you get to the top of the casserole dish. Finish with a generous helping of cheese on top. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and finish baking uncovered for another 15 minutes to get the top cheese nice and bubbly.

Make sure you let the eggplant parm rest for at least 10 minutes before serving! I know it will be tempting to cut right into it, but fresh out of the oven it will still be a bubbling cauldron of tomato sauce and melty cheese. Resting the parm will let it firm up and cool down just a little bit so that it’s easier to cut, serve, and eat. Bon appetito!


Lettuces with Vinaigrette

You may now know I serve a green salad year round with almost every dinner meal. There is just no better way to add a pop of freshness and color than a big wooden bowl of soft lettuces and my riff on a ceasar dressing. Feel free to have fun with additions if you like. Peek in the fridge or pantry. Have a few chives? A bunch of radishes? The recipe is perfect as is but you can totally add crisp thinly sliced vegetables, fresh ripe tomatoes, or toasted hazelnuts to the bowl. This is a lovely compliment to almost any foods from roasted chicken and potatoes to pasta or fajitas. 



Lettuces with Vinaigrette

Serves 3-4


1 head lettuce, washed and dried

1-2 oil or salt packed anchovies

1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced

1 Tb sherry vinegar

Pinch of sea salt or maldon salt

½ Tsp dijon mustard

1 shallot, optional

3 Tb olive Oil


 For the lettuce, choose 1 head of red leaf, green leaf, butterhead, or a mix of greens such as little gems, endive, treviso, radicchio, escarole.

If you have a mortar and pestle, add the garlic and sprinkle a little salt over it then pound it well. Then add the anchovy, dijon, and sherry. Pound well and drizzle the olive oil while mixing with the pestle. Add the chopped shallot and spoon over and around the washed and dried lettuces.

Taste the lettuce and adjust as needed. Do not be afraid to sprinkle a bit more sherry vinegar or add a pinch of salt. Add cracked pepper on the dressed lettuces to your taste. You can also increase the quantities of the vinaigrette and store it in the refrigerator in a jar. If you add chopped shallots to the vinaigrette it will only last 1-2 days.

Growing your own lettuce or buying from a farmer’s market will greatly increase the outcome of this salad. At the grocery store, I usually stick to radicchio and red leaf lettuces as they lack other varieties.