Saturday, February 27, 2021


I like a bone-in leg of lamb as cooking on the bone always gives you more flavor and juiciness. With the addition of mustard, rosemary--a perfect pairing for lamb--and the pistachio and bread crumb crust, you will have a very tender and tasty lamb. By starting the lamb roasting before the vegetables you are ensured medium rare lamb and vegetables that are not overdone. My husband did most of the work preparing this meal as it was Valentine's Day and that was his gift to me!


One 4-5 lb. bone-in leg of lamb

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups roasted and salted pistachios, roughly chopped*

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped, plus a couple sprigs for top of lamb

1 Tsp. grated lemon zest

1 tsp. coarse salt for the crust; more for salting the lamb

1/2 tsp. pepper, freshly ground for the crust; more for the lamb

About 8 small new potatoes, unpeeled and left whole

5 carrots, peeled and left whole

2 yellow onions, peeled and quartered

*This will make more crust than needed for the lamb, but it's excellent to use with other meats so very handy to have all made waiting in the fridge.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove any silver-skin from the lamb by inserting a very sharp knife just under the skin and both cutting and pulling to remove the skin in pieces. The silver-skin is tough so removing it ensures a more tender roast. Do not remove the fat. As you can see my lamb did not have much extra fat. 

In a medium bowl, combine the pistachios, panko, 3 Tbsp. olive oil, and the mustard. Mix well. If it seems too dry add a bit more olive oil. Stir in the chopped rosemary, lemon zest, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper until thoroughly blended.
Liberally salt all sides of the lamb. Also top with some freshly ground black pepper.
Place lamb in roasting pan fat side up. Sprinkle the minced garlic over the lamb. Firmly pat the nut mixture (about 1/4 inch thickness) over the top and sides of the meat pressing to hold in place. Place a couple rosemary sprigs over the lamb. Loosely tent with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Immediately reduce oven temp to 325 degrees and roast for 45 minutes. 

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots and onion quarters with the remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the foil tent and scatter the vegetables around the roast. 
As the lamb is roasting if the crust seems to get too dark replace the loose foil over the roast. Continue roasting for 1 hour longer. Every 15-20 minutes baste the lamb. Check veg doneness and if they are getting close, remove them and tent with foil to keep warm. Roast the lamb for 1 more hour or until an instant read thermometer reads 140 for medium rare meat. The lamb will continue cooking after removing from the oven so if you like more rare cook only to 135 degrees. Transfer the roast to a platter and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving. My friend Dorita Pina gave me the inspiration to use pistachios with the lamb. So smart and so delicious! Thanks Dorita--another good friend, fellow foodie and tremendous cook!

Our neighbor, Brian Itule, who is also an excellent cook and baker, has perfected the art of making Sourdough Bread. His wife Lori brought us a loaf fresh from the oven, still warm, that Brian made on Valentine's morning. It was the best Sourdough I have ever had. Perfect texture and delicate flavor, not at all too sour. 
I won't tell you how many slices Jerry had that morning, but suffice it to say that neither one of us stuck to our Weight Watchers program on Valentine's! It was truly a day of feasting. And next day, that bread made the best lamb sandwiches I have ever had. Thank you Brian!  We are so fortunate to have such thoughtful and wonderful neighbors!

Later in the week I used the pistachio on extra-thick cut, bone-in pork chops. 

It's also great on chicken!

I cannot believe we are moving into March!
And spring is just around the corner!

Time has taken on a new meaning during COVID---It either feels like it is standing still or racing by!

I have so many more recipes to share with you, so until next time...

Keep loving, cooking, and living life to its fullest!
Me and Jer on Valentine's morning!

JoJo is a lover-boy, too!


Wednesday, February 17, 2021


Since discovering Lesley Sykes new company, Primary Beans (, I have definitely been on a bean kick! After cooking the first pound of Michelet beans I had lots of left-overs to play with. That's one of the many beautiful things about cooking a big batch of beans. I love left-overs! 

First, I made a bean dip, which I served on a lightly toasted crostini with shrimp.



2 cups Michelet beans (cooked)

2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 1/2 lemon

2 Tbsp. shallots, diced

Large garlic clove, minced

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (I used Wright's Liquid Smoke-Hickory.)

1/2 tsp. dried sage

Dash smoked paprika. More for topping after bean dip is spread.

Dash cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

8 thin slices baguette

4 shrimp, shelled and cleaned, sliced in half

Saute the garlic and shallot in pan over medium high heat so they get a little crispy. Add all ingredients to a blender or mini food processor and blend until very smooth. 
Crostini is generally made with white bread, such as a simple Italian loaf or a baguette, sliced evenly, and lightly toasted. In Italian, crostina means crusty and crostini means toast.
Spray the sliced bread with olive oil and toast lightly. Cool.
Saute shrimp in the same pan you used to saute the garlic and shallots. Because you have cut them in half they will curl as they cook. Cook until just pink. Cool.
I only made 8 crostini's so had lots of nice left-over bean dip that is great spread on celery or cucumbers. To serve as another appetizer, arrange a platter with various raw veg--red pepper, celery, zucchini, cucumber, etc.--and serve the bean dip in the center of the platter. Nutritious, low-fat, lots of protein, and just plain good!

Another idea with this dip is to serve on the crostini with caviar.

I received this caviar as a gift from my good friend Dorita Joffroy Pina. It is the best caviar I have ever tasted. Regiis Ova (which means Royal Egg in Latin) is a new company founded by Chef Thomas Keller and caviar expert Shaoching Bishop, former CEO of Sterling Caviar and Tsar Nicoulai Caviar. Read about them here:

If you are a caviar aficionada, you will love this caviar. Mild flavor; not at all fishy. Sturgeon eggs are small and delicate. I have been putting this caviar on EVERYTHING! 

I'm going to close today with one more way I turned that original pot of Michelet beans into something different.

These cakes are similar to a potato pancake or latke, but have that wonderful bean flavor. Next time, I would add 1 Tbsp. of Greek style yogurt to the mix to lighten them up a bit, and then serve with more yogurt and some of that fabulous caviar (which I had not received when I made these!).

3/4 cup Michelet Beans (cooked)
1 Egg
3 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. olive oil to saute

Slightly beat the egg. With a fork, gently crush the beans leaving them somewhat intact. Add all ingredients together and stir to mix well. To cook the pancakes, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. I cooked simultaneous with the chicken cordon bleu we had for dinner.

Cook to golden brown, about 5-7 minutes per side. Flip the cakes and finish the cooking. 

I am a believer in eating from all the food groups. And there are good things about both beans and meat. Beans have more potassium and less sodium than meat. They also are much higher in antioxidants. Meat and bean iron content is identical. Steak has more protein, but also significantly more fat and calories. Beans have tons of fiber. Meat has none. Why not both--eat a small portion of meat with your beans! 

More beans to come, but next time I want to share a recipe for slow-roasted lamb with a pistachio crust that I made for Valentine's Day that was out of this world!
Blustery Valentine's morning constitutional.



Monday, February 1, 2021


My good friend, Karen Syke's daughter, Lesley Sykes started a business last year. PRIMARY BEANS sells beans exclusively; lots of varieties, many of which are organic.  Starting a new business at any time can be challenging, but starting during a pandemic is daunting. Lesley has done it and has done it very well. Take a look at her website:

Lesley is passionate about beans and set out to provide a high quality product. Each package of beans are labeled with the location where they are grown and also dated so you know that the beans you are buying are fresh. This does make a difference, both in terms of flavor and texture. Old beans are hard. Sometimes they never completely cook.

I decided to try the Michelet bean first as I was not familiar with that variety. Lesley describes these beans as "mild, creamy, delicate". They were all of that and delicious, too! First, I will share how I cooked the beans and, next I will share the recipe I made with the beans. 

1 lb. Michelet beans
1 small shallot, diced; about 1/2 cup
2 cloves garlic, diced; about 2 fat Tbsp.
Big sprig of fresh rosemary
1 Qt. Chicken stock (more or less, as needed); preferably rich and home-made
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Always rinse beans before cooking and check for any little stones.

I did not pre-soak these beans and they cooked perfectly in about 1 1/2 hours. I am guessing because the beans are fresh they cooked faster. 

Put all ingredients in a saucepan. The stock should cover the beans by about 2 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low simmer and cook until beans are tender, but not mushy. Check beans as they cook to make sure the chicken stock has not reduced. Add more stock to keep beans submerged during the cooking if it has. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. As they cooked, these Michelet's developed a rich, thick and luscious sauce. I like to cook the whole pound of beans at one time as there are so many different ways to use them. I cooked the beans the day before making this meal.


This dressing is great on salads and chicken, too! 

1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. salt. 
Place all ingredients in a microwavable container and zap for about 30 seconds. This helps incorporate the honey with the other ingredients. Shake well. This dressing does separate so you will need to shake each time before using. It's light, refreshing and was the perfect complement to the salmon. You can make this the day before, as well, which means the dinner comes together very easily. I also seeded the pomegranate the day before and peeled, chopped and sliced the Mango. 

I like to make crispy skin salmon. Dry the salmon thoroughly with paper towels and salt both sides. Add 2 tsp. olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet and heat to high, nearly smoking. 
Cook on skin side only keeping heat high, until salmon cooks through and skin becomes very crispy. These filets are quite thin so it doesn't take long. You can tell it's done when the salmon becomes opaque and a little firm to the touch. Do not overcook! Once the salmon is done remove from the pan and cover loosely with foil to keep warm, skin side up. This keeps the skin crispy.

1 cup cooked Michelet beans (for 2 servings)
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 cup Mango, diced
2 large handfuls of spinach
Sliced Mango for garnish

In the same skillet gently add 1 clove of chopped garlic and brown mango slices to use as garnish. Remove from skillet and keep warm. 

In the same skillet, heat 1 heaping cup of the previously cooked Michelet beans. Add 2 large handfuls of spinach, and about 1/2 cup of diced Mango. Stir over medium high heat until the spinach wilts. 

First, place about one cup of the bean,
spinach and mango mixture on a plate.

Top with salmon, skin side up, and mango garnish.

Next, add the pomegranate seeds and
pour about 2 Tbsp. of Pomegranate dressing over
the dish being careful to avoid the crispy skin. 

Lastly, serve and enjoy!

This sounds like many steps, but if you make the various pieces and parts ahead it really is easy to put together.