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Photos, Recipes & CookTales For Those Who Enjoy Cooking

Red Snapper with Asian Sauce

Serves 2

A CookTale
Another easy Summer dinner that satisfied our appetite as well as our diet. The Asian inspired sauce contrasted with the sweet simple taste of the Red Snapper. Once again the accompanying side dish was a well roasted, Extra Virgin Olive Oil doused Yellow Zucchini which seems to have become our seasonal favorite. And with good reason!
2 (6 oz) Fillets of Red Snapper
1 Lemon, juiced
3 TB Rice Wine Vinegar
1 TB Dijon Mustard
11/2 TB Honey
1/2 C chopped Green Onions
2 tsp ground Ginger
METHOD1. Rinse Snapper under cold water, and pat dry. In a shallow bowl, mix together EVOO, Lemon Juice, Rice Vinegar, Mustard, Honey, Green Onions, and Ginger.

2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Dip Snapper Fillets in marinade to coat both sides, and place in skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Pour remaining marinade into skillet. Reduce heat, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

3. As simple as that, plate and serve.

RECIPE Grilled Radicchio and Italian SausageServes 2

A CookTale

In the New York Times, Food Editor Melissa Clark published this easy three ingredient recipe. It immediately captured my interest. Since we abandoned our gas grill this year, we find that a quality stovetop non-stick grill pan does a relatively good job, with much more control. (One man’s opinion.) The published recipe calls for a garnish of Basil Leaves in this version they’re optional.


1 large head of Radicchio
1 lb sweet Italian Sausages
2 to 3 TB EVOO, more to taste
Basil Leaves or Basil Pesto (optional)


1. On the stovetop or gas grill, halve Radicchio lengthwise through stem end, and toss with 1 TB EVOO and 1/4 tsp Salt.

2. Put Radicchio, cut side down, and Sausages in the pan or grill and cover. Let cook for 2 to 3 minutes until outer Radicchio Leaves are dark brown. Transfer to a cutting board and let cook while Sausages finish cooking, about 5 minutes.

3. Thinly slice the Radicchio. Outsides should be charred, and the insides should still be crisp and raw. Combine in a bowl with another TB of EVOO. Taste and correct seasonings, adding more Salt and EVOO to taste.


RECIPE Oven Roasted Krispy Kale

A CookTale

Our dear friend Ira Levy called from Blue Hill, Maine. In the course of the conversation he told us about this terrific side dish. Kale, roasted as crispy as potato chips, and like chips, impossible to stop eating after just one bite. With Farmers Markets cropping up everywhere and farm fresh Kale easily available, here is Ira’s recipe for finger food for all to enjoy.


1 big bunch of Kale
2 TB of EVOO (or more if necessary)
Kosher Salt & Pepper


1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Remove the leaves from the center stem, discard the stem, & tear the leaves into bite size pieces.

3. Add EVOO, Salt & Pepper & toss to combine.

4. Place in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the Kale is crispy & evenly roasted. That’s it!


RECIPE Chicken Grilled Under Brick

A CookTale

For me to rave about a Chicken means that it had to be extra special. What made it so was the quality of the farm fresh bird and the great marinade that spent six hours in the fridge working its wonders. The recipe came from the June/July 2013 issue of Saveur, one of my most favorite food magazines. The Chicken was attributable to our always dependable Smokehouse of the Catskills. A winning combination.


1 Lemon thinly sliced, plus juice
The zest of 2 Lemons
1/2 cup of EVOO
2 TBs of dried Oregano
2 TB of Spanish Smoked Paprika
2 tsp of Ground Cumin
2 tsp of Allspice
10 Garlic cloves or to taste
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper to taste
A 3 to 4 LB Chicken


1 Remove the Chicken’s backbone & flatten the Chicken.
Loosen the breast skin & slide the sliced Lemons under the skin.

2. Transfer to a 9″ X 13″ baking dish. Puree the first 8 ingredients in a food processor or blender to form a paste. Rub the paste over the Chicken. Cover & refridge for at least six hours or overnight.

3. Heat a stove top non stick grill pan or an outdoor gas or charcoaL grill until very hot. Place the Chicken skin side down & cover with two bricks wrapped in foil or a commercial grill press. Grill for ten minutes. If using an indoor grill pan, turn the Chicken over & place in an oven heated to 350 degrees, for about 15 minutes.

4. If outdoor grilling be sure to keep an eye on the bird, it can quickly overcook and be dried out. An instant thermometer reading should be around 135 degrees F.
Remember it will continue to cook while resting.

5. For indoor grilling, an instant thermometer into the breast meat should also read about 135 degree F, for a juicy bird. Remember it will continue to cook while resting.

Salmon With Braised Fennel.


RECIPE Salmon with Braised Fennel and Artichokes (adapted from a recipe by David Pasternack)

Serves 2

A CookTale

There’s Salmon…and then there’s Salmon! Fortunately we have found perfection. It’s wild organic New Zealand Salmon at Woodstock Meat & Fish Market in our town. It’s so special, my words wouldn’t properly describe it. Only to say it literally melts in your mouth with every bite. Of course a very light cooking time contributes to the creamy taste. Simply four minutes on one side, one minute on the other. Almost Sashimi, but not quite. The bed of braised vegetables in wine completed the delicious experience. Wow!

INGREDIENTS for Braised Fennel and Artichokes

2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1 dried red Chile
1 large Fennel Bulb cored & thinly sliced
1 package of Bird’s Eye Artichoke Hearts, defrosted
4 strips Lemon Peel
2 Thyme sprigs or 1 tsp of dried Thyme
4 TB White Wine or Vermouth
Sea Salt & freshly ground Pepper

1. Heat the EVOO in large sauté pan until hot but not smoking. Add the Garlic and Chile and cook until the Garlic gives off its aroma, 2-3 minutes.

2. Add the Fennel, Lemon Peel, Thyme and Wine to the pan. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and cover pan. After 15 minutes, add the Artichoke Hearts. Cook, stirring occasionally, in total for about 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are meltingly tender.

3. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Raise the flame high under the liquid and reduce by half. Pour the liquid over the fennel, season with Salt and Pepper, and reserve until the Salmon is cooked.


2 7-8 oz wild Salmon Fillets, Skin on
Sea Salt and freshly ground Pepper
2 TB Butter

1. Season the Salmon Fillets with Salt & Pepper. Heat the EVOO and Butter in a large non-stick pan, until hot but not smoking.

2. Place Fillets, skin side down, in the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes on the first side. Turn and continue to cook for about 1 minute.

3. Place a bed of the Fennel and Artichokes on a plate and place the Salmon on top. Spoon extra liquid over the Salmon. Serve immediately.

Loin Veal ChopsRECIPE Loin Veal Chops

Serves 2

A CookTale

A well seasoned lightly grilled Veal Chop is a taste treat. And I find that finely chopped fresh Rosemary leaves combined with a really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus Salt and Pepper makes for a simple, excellent marinade.


2 Veal Chops (about 3/4-inch thick)
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1 TB of fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
2 TB of EVOO
Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Chicken Stock
2 Oz of Demi Glace Gold (available through Amazon online from More Than Gourmet
Parsley for garnish


1. Rub the chops with 1 TB of the
EVOO, Garlic, Rosemary & Salt & Pepper & let it marinate for at least 15 minutes, or more if possible.

2. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat & add the remaining TB of EVOO. Add the Chops & cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes on one side, & flip.

3. Move the Chops, in the skillet, to the oven, brown side down & roast at 375ºF, for 5 to 6 minutes for med-rare.

4. Carefully move the cast iron skillet back to the stovetop, remove the Chops to a plate & keep warm.

5. Add the Wine, Stock, & Demi Glace Gold, stir up brown bits from the bottom & whip the sauce together.

5. Return the Chops to the skillet to quickly reheat, & serve with the Wine Sauce.

Chicken Thigh on a bed of Fennel, Artichokes  & Onions

Serves 2


1/3 C EVOO, or as needed

1 Fennel Bulb, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

1 package of frozen Artichoke Hearts (optional)

1 Large Onion sliced

Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper

2 large Chicken Thighs

Chopped fresh Parsley Leaves for garnish


1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Drizzle bottom of shallow roasting pan or baking sheet with about half the EVOO and cover it with a layer of the Fennel, Onion & Artichokes. Overlap pieces if necessary but use whole pan. Drizzle on remaining EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle Chicken pieces with Salt & Pepper.

2. Top Fennel mixture with the Chicken Thighs, skin side up. Ideally, you’ll have a layer of Fennel pretty much covered by a layer of Chicken, but it’s fine if some of the vegetables roasts uncovered. Spoon some of the EVOO from bottom of pan over Chicken. Roast about 15 minutes, then baste Chicken with pan drippings and rotate the pan. If necessary, adjust oven temperature so chicken browns but does not burn.

3. The Chicken will be done in about 30 minutes. Serve each piece with some Fennel mixture and a little of the pan juices spooned over, garnished with Parsley.

Swordfish On A Bed Of Balsamic Butter Sauce


Serves 2

A CookTale

This is a variation of a previous Swordfish recipe of a month ago. I added the Paprika Sauce as a savory topping to the Fillets. It made for a highly attractive plating for a very tasty dish. The accompaniment was Creamed Cucumbers, baked enough that each bite melted in your mouth.

INGREDIENTS For the Swordfish

2 Swordfish Fillets (6 oz each)2 TB of Butter softened (more if needed)
Balsamic Glaze for topping the Fish (available online from Roland


INGREDIENTS For the Paprika Sauce topping

1 TB of sweet Paprika + a sprinkle of hot Paprika
1/4 C EVOO
2 oz of Butter (softened)Sea or Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

INGREDIENTS For the Balsamic Butter Reduction Sauce

2 TB of Butter
1/3 C of Vermouth or White WINE
2 TB of Balsamic Vinegar
Lemon Juice


1. In a small bowl add the EVOO, Paprikas & Salt & Black Pepper.

Whisk to emulsify. Set aside until plating.

2. Heat the saute pan to high, add the 2 TB Butter & when the sizzling stops, add the Fillets. Saute weighed down with a grill press, about 1 minute per side. The internal temperature should register about
120 degrees F. Remember that we like our Fish on the rare to medium rare side. Cook yours according to your taste, but do not overcook.

4. Remove the Fish & drain on paper towels. Transfer to a holding plate & cover with tin foil to keep warm.

5.To make the Balsamic Butter Reduction Sauce, melt the remaining 2 TB of Butter over low heat, add the Balsamic Vinegar & Vermouth & simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

6. To plate, spoon a bed of the Balsamic Butter Reduction Sauce onto each plate & top with the Fillets. Add a tsp of the Paprika sauce & the Balsamic Glaze, & serve

Serves 4-5A CookTale

Cassoulet and a wintry weekend evening go together. The main ingredients blend well in this kind of provincial dish. Duck Confit, Slab Bacon, Kielbasa, Pork Butt, White Beans and Vegetables. The Demi Glace rounds out the Cassoulet and imparts a necessary depth of flavor. It is not indispensable, but if you can, add it.


1/2 lb Great Northern White Beans
4 oz slab Bacon, cut into Lardons & boiled gently for 10 minutes
8 oz Polish sausages (Kielbasa will work)
2 Duck Confit Legs & Thighs
8 oz of Pork Butt
3 Carrots, sliced
2 Onions, chunked
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled
28 oz can of San Marzano whole Tomatoes
2 Ounces of Demi Glace Gold (online from More than Gourmet)
1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth
Herb Bouquet of Bay Leaf


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Cover the Beans with cold water, bring to the boil and cook 5 minutes, then drain. Put the Beans into a large casserole and cover with fresh hot water.

3. Add the Bacon, all the rest of the Meat, Vegetables, Garlic, Tomatoes and Herbs. Adjust seasonings. Heat to the simmer on the top of the stove. Then set in the preheated oven to simmer slowly for 2 hours. (After 1 hour, stir.).

4. Dissolve the Demi Glace Gold in the heated Chicken Broth & add to the Cassoulet while it’s still hot. Mix together & serve.

Rolletini of Chicken Thighs layered with  Prosciutto Plated
RECIPEServes 2

A CookTale

It was the evening for a Chicken dinner. Instead of our usual method of pan sauteing, these were deboned, pounded thin, well seasoned, layered with slices of Prosciutto and wrapped as small bundles. Served with roasted-to-a-char slices of Cauliflower. A first time but certainly not the last time.


2 8 oz Chicken Thighs (skin on & bone in)
4 Thin slices of Prosciutto
Kosher Salt & Pepper
1 C of Marinara Sauce (homemade or Rao’s)
1 TB of EVOO


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Debone the Thighs. Pound them, skin side up, as thinly as possible without tearing them.

3. Season with Salt & Pepper. Layer each with 2 slices of Prosciutto. Roll them into bundles & secure with toothpicks. Place in a small casserole dish & coat with the TB of EVOO.

4. Roast for 20 about minutes. Then turn on the broiler for a few minutes more to achieve an appealing color Remove, keep warm & set aside.

5. Heat the Marinara sauce in a saucepan.

6. To each plate, spoon a bed of Marinara sauce & top with a Rollatini bundle.