Tag Archives: sauce

Black Rice and White Beans with Mushrooms

DSC_00081 cup black rice; soaked for at least 1 hour
1 1/2 cups water

1 cup dry navy beans; soaked for at least 8 hours (or drain 2 cups of canned white beans)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or canola)
1/2 onion; chopped
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic; crushed
8 oz package white mushrooms; rinsed and chopped to 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup white wine
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup sour cream

Drain and rinse soaked dry beans, place in medium sized pot, add  4 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and slow simmer till tender; about 1 hour. Drain beans and rinse with fresh water.

Drain and rinse rice, place in small pot, add 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook with lid on till all water is absorbed; about 20 minutes. Set aside with lid on.

Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil with salt till the onions are translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms, stir, and bring to a simmer with lid on for 5 minutes. Remove lid, add the wine and black pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till the liquid reduces by at least 1/2. This can take 20-30 minutes but check so no scorching happens. Add the cooked, drained and rinsed beans and sour cream. Stir, bring to a simmer and serve over the black rice with a side of salad greens (pictured here arugula).



Canning “Just Tomatoes” Sauce

DSC_0040When I first started canning I followed a marinara recipe but soon decided that canning “just tomatoes” would broaden the uses so now I can still make a marinara sauce but also use the tomato sauce for soups, stews, chili, sauces, rice dishes, etc.

8 quarts fresh tomatoes
3 quart canning jars and lids (or 6 pints)
1 pint canning jar and lid
7 Tablespoons lemon juice

Fill an 8 quart stock pot an inch from the rim with roughly chopped tomatoes (rinsed and stems removed). Over medium heat with the lid on, stirring occasionally, allow the tomatoes to cook until they break up and are “swimming” in their own juices (about 30 minutes). Turn off the heat. With a stainless steel emersion blender puree the tomatoes. *If you do not have a stainless steel emersion blender allow the tomatoes to cool and process in batches in a counter top blender and return to the stock pot.* Turn the heat to medium high, bring to a boil, reduce heat so the tomato sauce cooks at a slow boil. Continue cooking without lid until the tomato sauce has reduced by a third or to the desired consistency (this will depend on the tomato variety and desired consistency). This took about 3 hours. There isn’t a lot of work involved, just the patience to check in on the process and stir occasionally.

After 2 hours prepare the jars and lids (I normally put an extra jar in just in case it can always be used another time)- place jars in canning pot, cover with water, (add 1 Tablespoon of white vinegar if you have hard water to prevent build up on the glass), bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes to sterilize. Leave jars in the hot water until ready to fill. Bring water in a small pot to a simmer, remove from heat, place lids in the hot water, cover and let sit till ready to seal the jars.

When the tomato sauce has reached the desired consistency it is ready to can. If using quart jars add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar; pints- 1 Tablespoon. THE LEMON JUICE IS CRITICAL IN PRESERVING IN A WATER BATH METHOD BECAUSE IT ADJUSTS THE ACIDITY LEVEL SO DO NOT OMIT Fill each jar to 1/2 inch below the rim with tomato sauce, wipe the rims clean with a clean damp paper towel, put lids in place and finger tighten with the rings. Place filled jars back in the hot water canning pot, cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 35 minutes. Allow to cool in the hot water bath for 12-24 hours, remove and check that the lids have sealed (there should be no play when the center of the lid is pushed). Label and store.

No Cook Marinara Sauce (A.K.A. Lazy Marinara)

This is a tasty, quick and efficient recipe I have been making for years. It is a great shortcut when  wanting a homemade meal but not having time to make sauce from scratch. By the time the dough for pizza has risen, the pasta boiled or the first round of zucchini/eggplant fried the sauce is ready. Another tip, while waiting for pasta to boil, pizza to bake or zucchini/eggplant parmesan to cook- make a fresh salad to round off a healthy meal.
DSC_00061 box (26.46 oz/750g) Pomi brand tomato sauce *if using another brand of canned tomato check the salt content; Pomi has none
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1-4 cloves garlic; crushed (modify to your family’s taste- we go heavy as we love garlic)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (if you are making zucchini or eggplant parmesan omit the oil as the vegetables soaks up so much when frying)

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Mix all ingredients together and continue preparing the rest of your meal. I usually mix right in the box; just peal the side tabs up and cut straight across.

Roasted Potatoes with Leeks, Barbecue Broiled Salmon Fillets and Microwaved Corn on the Cob

DSC_00091 lb salmon fillet
extra virgin olive oil for broiling pan
2 Tablespoons fresh pressed lime juice (or lemon)
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon prepared mustard (I used dijon)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon thyme
pinch fresh ground black pepper

DSC_0006Lightly oil a broiling pan. Place salmon fillets in one layer on the prepared pan. Mix remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour half of the sauce over the salmon fillets and place in refrigerator for a half to one hour. Reserve the remaining sauce. **do not place any utensil that has touched raw fish back into the sauce as it is contaminated with the raw fish**

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 for the potatoes.

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8 small potatoes; scrubbed and cut into bite sized pieces
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces, in a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Pour the potatoes into a single layer onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in middle of preheated oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check that the potatoes are soft with some edges beginning to get golden (bake and check 5 minutes at a time till done after 20 minutes).

While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the leeks.



1 leek
2 Tablespoons butter (replace with extra virgin olive oil for dairy free option)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
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Rinse leek, cut off root end and slice leek in half lengthwise. This makes it easier to open the overlapping greens to rinse out the dirt that seems to always be stuck in there. Slice leek halves into 1/4 inch slices.

Preheat a medium sized heavy bottomed pot to medium with butter and olive oil. Add the leeks, salt and pepper and cover for a few minutes. Stir, cover and cook for a few more minutes. Reduce heat to low and with lid on continue to saute for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Serve the leeks spooned over the roasted potatoes.

4 heads of corn

Shuck corn. Place corn on a microwave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Check for doneness and microwave 2 minutes at a time till done to desired tenderness. (We like ours barely cooked.

DSC_0007When the potatoes come out of the oven turn on the broiler, place the salmon fillets under the broiler and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness and proximity to the heat source. You can tell that the fish is done when the texture is flakey and falls apart. Serve the remaining sauce on the side for those who like a little extra.

Puerto Rican Inspired Flounder, “Aranitas”, Sweet Potato Fries and Fresh Baby Greens


Puerto Rican Inspired Flounder
1 small onion; halved and sliced thin
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb flounder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
dash paprika (I used Trader Joe’s smoked)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Sweet Potato Fries
4 medium sized sweet potatoes; peeled and sliced to 1/4 inch thick strips
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400.

Saute onion in olive oil over medium low heat until soft and translucent. Meanwhile- toss sweet potatoes with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Back to the fish dish- stack flounder in a glass baking dish 3 or 4 high. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Pour onions with olive oil over the fish and top with lemon juice. Cover the fish with aluminum foil. Place the sweet potato pan and fish dish in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the fries are soft inside and crisping on the outside. Remove from oven and sprinkle fries with salt.

Mojo Sauce; lemon garlic dipping sauce for the Aranitas
4 cloves garlic; crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (I use California Olive Ranch)

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and set aside.

DSC_0002Aranitas; shredded green plantain fritters
2 green plantain
canola oil for frying
sea salt to taste

Preheat a small pot with 1 1/2 inches of canola oil over high heat. Peel green plantain (slice through the skin on the “seams” and with fingers separate and pull to remove. Some will peel easily but others come off in small tedious chunks). Shred plantain using the small section of a grater into a bowl.  To test the readiness of the oil place a single strand of the plantain in the pot. If it sizzles and rises to the top immediately it is hot enough. Using two tablespoons grab and squeeze together the shredded plantain and place into the hot oil. Fry just a few at a time, don’t crowd them, so that they fry hot and fast. Remove with a slotted spoon or two forks and place on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Repeat until done and sprinkle with salt.

Enjoy with a fresh salad on the side. We also enjoyed one of my father’s avocados that he so generously ships to the northeast. The amanitas can be dipped in the mojo sauce or simply drizzle the mojo sauce on top. (They are also good with ketchup.)


DSC_0039I basically followed the recipe for applesauce from the Ball website substituting pears for the apples, cutting the recipe in half and omitting the sugar. I also decided to go with half pint jars.

6 lb pears (I used anjou and a handful of bosc pears); quartered, cored and damaged spots removed (see ** in directions below)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands

Sterilize jars by placing them in the canning pot with water, bringing to a boil and simmering for 10 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water until ready to use. Place lids and rings in a bowl, pour hot water over them and let them sit until ready to seal the jars- Do Not Boil Lids

Pour enough water to cover the bottom of a large stainless steal stock pot, add the pears and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pears are tender (5-20 minutes) depending on the type and ripeness. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Put the cooked pears through a vegetable strainer. The peal will be extracted from the end and the lovely pear puree will glide effortlessly into a bowl.
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**if you do not own a vegetable strainer you can still make pear sauce as long as you peel the pears and remove all stems and hard spots. The cooked pears can be pureed in batches in a food processor or blender.


Return the pear purée to the stock pot and add lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking or burning. Fill the hot jars immediately with the hot pearsauce.


Ladle the hot pearsauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. If your sauce is very thick remove air bubbles (tap jars on a thick towel so the sauce goes down and the air up or use a spatula and run it up and down along the interior edges of the jar). If your sauce is thin enough to pour in and settle without air into the jars like mine was skip that step. Wipe rims with a clean damp paper towel, center lids on jars and secure the bands.

Process the jars by placing the filled jars back into the canning pot and bring to a boil with water (I usually leave the hot water from the sterilizing step in the pot so it is still hot and heats up to a boil quicker). Boil for 20 minutes, remove jars and cool. The “popping” sound of the lids sealing is so exciting! Check lids for a proper seal after 24 hours- the lid should not flex up and down when the center is pressed.

Margarita Mahi Mahi, Potatoes with Garlic Chive Sauce and Salad Greens


We are still waiting for our own tomatoes to really start producing. We enjoyed a handful of our own sweet little tomatoes on our greens.

DSC_0010Roasted Potatoes
10 medium potatoes; scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Toss potatoes and olive oil together in a medium sized bowl, spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 30 minutes till potatoes are tender.

DSC_0009Garlic Chive Sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons fresh chives; minced
1 garlic clove; crushed
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
dash ground white pepper

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Margarita Mahi Mahi
2 lb mahi mahi fillets
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion; halved and sliced
juice of 1 lime
1 oz tequila
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

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Place mahi mahi fillets in a glass baking dish. Preheat a small skillet to medium low. Saute onion in olive oil under a lid till tender. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients, stir and pour over fish. Cover with tin foil and bake for 15-20 minutes (till fish is cooked through and is tender).