Chicken Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking dish with olive oil and set aside.

In a bowl, combine crostini, oregano, paprika and season with pepper and transfer to a shallow plate or pie pan. Set aside.

Cut each breast horizontally into 2 even pieces. Place split breast halves between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound lightly with a mallet until they are a uniform ½” thickness. Remove chicken from plastic wrap and place on a sheet pan or platter; repeat with remaining breasts.

In a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Place flour in another shallow pie plate and liberally season with salt and pepper.

In another shallow plate, combine eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and beat until frothy.

Place coating mixture in a line with flour and eggs. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, dredge both sides of chicken in seasoned flour, and then dip them in egg wash to coat completely, letting excess drip off, then dredge in coating mixture.

Place cutlet directly into heated pan and continue coating remaining cutlets, being sure not to crowd pan (typically no more than 4 cutlets at one time). Fry cutlets until golden brown and crusty, about 3 minutes per side, adjusting heat as necessary. Once browned, remove cutlets from pan and place, slightly shingled, into prepared casserole dish. Repeat above steps with second round of cutlets adding remaining oil and butter to pan as needed.

Once all cutlets have been browned, place a slice of fresh mozzarella atop each cutlet and sprinkle with grated parmesan. Ladle 1 cup of tomato sauce over chicken and bake cutlets in the oven until cheese is bubbly, 8-10 minutes. Garnish with basil prior to serving.

Cherry Basil Clafouti

Preheat oven to 350°. Put butter in an 8”x8” baking pan and place in oven until butter has just melted. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt to blend. Add milk and stir just until flour disappears. Using a rubber spatula, cut through batter a couple of times to incorporate butter and push batter into corners of pan.

Arrange cherries neatly over batter. Sprinkle with basil.

Bake until top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Adapted from Casa Orinda restaurant, San Francisco

Chilled Spicy Noodles and Sesame Cilantro Shrimp

To make the marinade, in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment, add all marinade ingredients. Pulse until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, add shrimp, toss to combine, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

To make the noodles, in a large pot over high heat, add water and bring to a boil. Add soba noodles and cook, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a colander to drain and rinse with cold water. Refrigerate.

In a bowl, combine garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, chile paste, mirin, and salt. Set aside.

In a wok or frying pan over high heat, add shrimp in batches, discarding marinade. Cook until no longer pink on first side, 2-3 minutes. Turn over and cook on second side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Cover and refrigerate.

In same pan over medium-high heat, add garlic-sesame oil mixture and bring sauce to a boil. Let sauce thicken slightly, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate.

Once all ingredients are chilled, toss shrimp and noodles with sauce and add lime juice. Divide among 4 dishes and top with green onions, serrano, sesame seeds, and almonds.

Seared Salmon With Pesto and Veggie Spirals

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and spread evenly to be in contact with bottom of pan. Let cook 3 minutes without touching. Toss and spread evenly again to let brown, another 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest.

In same pan over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil and salmon, skin side down. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano, if using, and cook, 2-3 minutes. Turn over and cook for about 1 minute. Add lemon juice, cover, and cook until no longer translucent, and internal temperature reaches 140°. Transfer fish to a plate to rest, about 5 minutes.

In same pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and season with salt and pepper and cook, 3-5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spiralized vegetables, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add pesto and toss to combine. Divide into four shallow bowls, top with mushrooms and salmon.

Skillet Pizza

Preheat oven to 450°.

In a 12” cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally to break into pieces, until no longer pink, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Wipe skillet clean with paper towels and return to medium-high heat. Form 1 piece of dough into a round. Sprinkle skillet lightly with cornmeal, and carefully place dough round in skillet, ½” up sides. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cook dough until it just begins to bubble, about 2 minutes. Spread pizza sauce over crust and top with mozzarella, ground meat, pepperoni, onion, and oregano.

Place skillet in preheated oven and bake until golden brown and starting to char, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a cutting board and garnish with basil.

French Fries

Cut the potatoes into sticks and place in a large bowl. Cover with cold water and let soak, about 1 hour. Strain the potatoes in a colander and place potatoes on paper towel-lined baking sheets to dry.

Add 4 inches of oil to a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and heat oil to 325 degrees. In batches, fry the potatoes until lightly golden, 4-5 minutes.

Transfer the fried potatoes to dry paper towel-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Turn heat up to high until oil reaches 375 degrees. In batches, fry the potatoes until desired doneness. Transfer the fried potatoes to dry paper towel-lined baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with salt.

Strawberry Pretzel Tart

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, in a large bowl, add pretzels, butter, and sugar and stir to combine. Transfer to a 10” tart pan and press firmly into pan using bottom of a measuring cup. Bake 8 minutes and let cool completely.

Meanwhile make the filling. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth. Add lemon juice and zest, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Fold in whipped cream, then spoon into cooled crust and, using an offset spatula, smooth top.

Starting on outside of tart, arrange strawberry slices on top of tart in a circle until entire tart is covered.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat together preserves and 2 teaspoons water until warmed, 30 seconds. Brush over tart and refrigerate until well chilled, 2 hours.

Cooking Dried Beans

Remove and discard any debris from beans and rinse under cold running water. Cover beans with 2 cups water and let soak for 2 hours to overnight. Drain water and rinse beans. Place beans in insert of a pressure cooker with remaining 4 cups water, making sure water covers beans. Add bay leaf and close lid. Set pressure cooker on low pressure and set for 8-15 minutes, depending on age of beans.

Carefully quick release pressure, open lid, and check to see if beans are cooked to desired doneness.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add bacon and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate or sheet pan and dispose of most of fat.

Add oil, onions, and peppers to pan over medium-high heat and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bacon back to pan. Add beans with all of cooking liquid and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until liquid has thickened, 5-8 minutes. Season with salt, spices, if using, and garnish with cilantro.

  • Use beans in salads, tacos or in any recipe that requires canned beans.
  • Cook beans longer to make refried beans.
  • Add broth or stock to make soup.
  • Discarding soaking liquid helps lessen gases and reduce bloating.

Ham, Spinach, and Artichoke Empanadas

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly flour two baking sheets.

Unfold puff pastry sheets onto a clean work surface. Using a rolling pin, stretch slightly. Cut each sheet of pastry into desired size (16 pieces, 8, or 4 pieces). Stretch each piece a bit more.

Place 1 piece of dough in your hand and brush 1 corner lightly with egg white. Place 1 piece of folded ham and a dollop of spinach dip on one half of dough square. Fold pastry over filling to form a triangle, pressing out excess air. Use fingers or a fork to press and seal pastry together. Repeat with remaining squares.

Combine yolk and 1 tablespoon water. Brush each empanada with egg-yolk wash. Freeze for 5 minutes. Bake empanadas until golden, about 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes.

Grilled Pizza

In a small bowl, add water and sprinkle yeast over water. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt and mix to combine. Add water, 3 tablespoons oil, and yeast mixture and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

About 30 minutes before baking pizza, place a pizza stone on the lowest rack in oven, and preheat oven to 500-degrees.

When dough is ready, use a large knife or a bench scraper to divide it into 4 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, press out any bubbles that might have formed in dough, and form each piece into a small smooth ball. Place about 4″ apart on a lightly floured surface.

Learn to make Pizza Sauce.