Tag Archives: Pete’s Picks

Porcini Mushroom Cous Cous

Porcini Mushroom Cous Cous
Serves 4
Highly prized, Porcini mushrooms (or Cepes in France) are commercially sold fresh in autumn in central and southern Europe but are also dried and distributed worldwide. First described and classified in 1782 by the French botanist Pierre Bulliard, the Porcini (meaning ‘piglets’ in Italian as the young fruiting bodies resemble little piglets) are eaten and enjoyed raw, sauteed with butter, ground into pasta, in risotto, in soups, and in many other dishes. They are also featured in many cuisines, including Provencal, and Viennese & Thai. Porcini mushrooms have a chewy texture and a strong nutty-woodsy, sweet, and meaty taste. The sliced mushrooms are a rich brown color with hints of yellow. The dried Porcini mushroom’s flavors are actually enhanced when the mushrooms are dried in much the same way as sun dried tomato’s flavors are.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Tbsp. Butter
  2. 1/3 cup Sweet Onion, minced
  3. 2 tsp. Garlic, fresh, minced
  4. 1 stalk Green Onion, chopped
  5. 1/2 pkg. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
  6. 2 cups Chicken Broth
  7. 1 pkg. Near East Brand Cous Cous (Original)
  8. To Taste Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Soak Dried Porcini Mushrooms in warmed chicken stock for 1 hour. Drain and reserve stock and chop the resulting Porcini mushrooms.
  2. In a saucepan with a tight fitting lid, sauté both onions and garlic until softened but not browned.
  3. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté one minute longer.
  4. Add reserved chicken/mushroom broth and bring to a simmer.
  5. Add cous cous, immediately cover and remove from the heat. Allow to stand (covered) for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove cover, lightly fluff with a fork, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Sauteed Fresh Pumpkin with Bacon & Onions

Sauteed Fresh Pumpkin with Bacon & Onions
Preparing fresh pumpkin as a vegetable side dish is a familiar but unique and welcome choice. With the added ingredients of maple bacon & green onions it's a sure bet they'll want seconds.
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Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Pumpkin, Raw, Cut Julienne
  2. ¼ lb. Maple Bacon, Raw, Cut in ¼ inch pieces
  3. ½ Red Onion, Medium Size, Cut in Thin Slivers
  4. ¼ cup Green Onion, Cut in ¼ inch bias cuts
  5. ¼ tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
  6. to taste Kosher or Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. In a sauté or fry pan, sauté bacon pieces until nearly crisp.
  2. Add red and green onion and sauté one minute.
  3. Add pumpkin and sauté 2 to 3 minutes longer or until pumpkin is tender.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Notes
  1. Yield: approximately 4 cups
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Twice Baked Yukon Gold Mashed with Crispy Onions

Twice Baked Yukon Gold Mashed with Crispy Onions
Serves 8
If you love the taste of twice baked potatoes in their skins but don't want to go through all the trouble of baking the potatoes, then scooping them out, this casserole version is just the recipe for you!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes, Peeled, Large Dice
  2. As Needed Water
  3. 1/4 cup Egg Yolks (approximately 5)
  4. 8 Strips Bacon, Cut ¼” Pieces Across Width
  5. ½ cup Green Onions, Chopped
  6. 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  7. ½ cup Sour Cream
  8. To Taste Salt & Pepper
  9. 2 cups French’s® Crispy Onions
Instructions
  1. Sauté bacon until crisp and reserve with its resulting grease.
  2. Cook potatoes in gently simmering water until softened. Drain and keep warm.
  3. Beat together potatoes, bacon (and grease), egg yolks, green onions, cheese and sour cream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spray a 9” x 13” casserole dish with vegetable spray and fill with potato mixture.
  6. Bake at 400 F until top is lightly browned and mixture is heated through.
  7. Sprinkle crispy onions over top and return to the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Maple Roasted Baby Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon, Green Onions & Fresh Thyme

Maple Roasted Baby Fingerling Potatoes with Bacon, Green Onions & Fresh Thyme
Serves 4
One of my go-to potato side dishes, I love the taste of maple, bacon & potatoes. Feel free to substitute red skin potatoes if you wish.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Lb. Fingerling Potatoes
  2. 6 Strips Bacon, cut in ¼” pieces across the width
  3. ¼ Cup Green Onions, Cut ¼” on the Bias
  4. 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves, Chopped
  5. 2 Tbsp. Pure Maple Syrup
  6. To Taste Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Roast fingerling potatoes in a 400 F approximately 20 minutes or until softened to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan, cook bacon until crisp then remove all but 2 TBSP of bacon grease leaving the bacon pieces in the pan.
  3. Add potatoes and maple syrup and sauté 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and sauté 3 minutes to cook green onions and thyme.
  5. Season to taste and serve.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Tempura Batter

Tempura Batter
Serves 2
Tempura originated in Japan, but it’s said that Europeans actually introduced the idea to the Japanese, who adopted it and refined it into a style of cooking. Typically, a tempura meal is one of fish, shrimp, and vegetables served with a dipping sauce.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Flour / Flour Mixture (see Notes below)
  2. 1 Extra-Large Egg White
  3. ¾ cup Soda / Seltzer Water
  4. ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  5. 2-3 cups Oil for frying (of your choice), see notes below
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oil to 350 F. Be sure your pot has sufficient room to accept your batter-dipped foods and cook them without the boiling oil spilling over the edge. That would NOT be good.
  2. Have a second bowl with another cup of your flour mixture to pre-flour your products before dipping in your tempura batter.
  3. Pre-cut fish into 1” x 2” pieces and not too thick (about ½” to ¾” at best). Vegetables (all raw) such as green beans should be whole; broccoli and cauliflower should be 1” florets; and sweet potato and eggplant should be cut in small wedges or sticks. Shrimp should be peeled and deveined, with the tail on.
  4. Now, in a small bowl, beat the cold egg white until frothy and add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Mix with a fork or chopsticks until generally mixed with small lumps. DO NOT OVERMIX. Depending on your preference, a thicker batter (like the consistency of a pancake batter) will coat easier but be chewier when fried. A thinner batter (almost like heavy cream or egg nog) will give you a lighter, crispier final product.
  6. Flour each product and then place it in the tempura batter. Briefly shake off excess and place them (carefully) in the hot oil. Avoid crowding the products or placing them one on top of another.
  7. Fry about (3 to 5 minutes) or until crispy and light golden in color. Then remove with a skimmer and drain excess oil off of the products by placing them on absorbent paper towels.
  8. Serve immediately with a dipping sauce of choice.
To make the BEST tempura, you want to do this
  1. 1. Use ICE cold water (or soda/seltzer water) and keep the batter cold.
  2. 2. Don’t mix it too much. Leave small lumps. The purists use chopsticks to mix.
  3. 3. Make your tempura batter JUST before you use it.
  4. 4. Fry in 350 F oil.
  5. 5. Serve immediately.
As for the ingredients, to make the BEST tempura, use these
  1. 1. Cake flour or all-purpose flour (low-gluten flour) — I also like rice flour, and sometimes I mix it in ½ and ½ with either of the above flours. You can also use a tablespoon of cornstarch per cup of flour to lighten the batter and add crispness.
  2. 2. Soda or seltzer water instead of tap water — The carbonation will make the batter lighter and lacy-like (which is good).
  3. 3. Sea salt (avoid using iodized salt) — It tastes better.
  4. Use neutral oil. Either canola or vegetable is fine. If you’re looking for something even MORE authentic, my recommendation would be peanut oil with a splash of sesame oil (about 1 TBSP sesame oil per cup of peanut oil).
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Sparty Chicken Dog

Sparty Chicken Dog
A healthy version of a "Hot Dog", my Sparty Dogs can use either ground chicken or turkey. Choose a spinach lavosh or any Flatbread "wrap" for a sandwich you're sure to enjoy.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ lbs. Ground Chicken
  2. To Taste Salt & Pepper
  3. 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  4. 1 – 10 oz. Bag Baby Spinach Leaves
  5. ½ cup Sweet Onion, Chopped
  6. 1 Medium Poblano Pepper, Chopped Fine
  7. 1 Tbsp. Fresh Garlic, Minced
  8. 6 oz. Queso Cheese, Shredded
  9. 4 – 8” Spinach Lavosh
  10. 4 cups Baby Forest Greens (Spring Mix)
  11. As Desired Mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Saute onion, poblano pepper and garlic on medium heat until softened. Cool.
  2. Lay out a sheet of plastic film about the size of a piece of paper.
  3. Divide ground chicken in 4 equal amounts.
  4. Place one portion of the ground chicken in the middle of the plastic film and flatten into a rectangle shape of uniform thickness, approximately 5” x 5”.
  5. Season surface with salt and pepper.
  6. Press all excess juices out of the chilled spinach mixture and divide into 4 equal portions.
  7. Sprinkle / spread 1 portion's worth of the spinach mixture on the chicken leaving a ½” border of NO filling all the way around the perimeter.
  8. Sprinkle approximately ¼ to 1/3 cup of the shredded queso cheese on top of the spinach mixture.
  9. Roll the chicken into a pinwheel roll shape by using the plastic film as a tool to lift the leading edge over the filling and then pulling back the plastic film away from the log as you continue to roll forward (or towards you if you find it more convenient).
  10. Finally, after the entire panel as been rolled into a log, roll the plastic film around it and twist the ends to make a firm, sausage shaped roll.
  11. Chill until ready to cook.
  12. To cook the “Sparty Dogs”, heat a grill or flat, non-stick skillet to medium high, spray with a non-stick vegetable spray and cook approximately 5 minutes on each side or until firm, opaque and cooked through.
  13. To serve, cut spinach lavosh to the size of the length of each dog. Spread surface with mayonnaise then top with a small handful of Forest Greens. Place the cooked Sparty Dog at one end of the lavosh and roll up to create a sandwich-like wrap.
  14. Guacamole or avocado slices may be added if desired.
Notes
  1. Makes 4 Dogs
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Go Blue Potato Salad

Go Blue Potato Salad
Serves 4
Purple (blue fleshed) potatoes, partnered with the maize color of Yukon Gold Potatoes and prepared mustard makes this colorful potato salad a MUST for University of Michigan tailgaters!
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Ingredients
  1. ½ lb. Blue Potatoes
  2. ½ lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes
  3. ¼ cup Celery, Chopped
  4. ½ cup Sweet Onion, Chopped
  5. ½ cup Mayonnaise
  6. 3 Tbsp. Prepared Mustard
  7. To Taste Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook potatoes whole until done, chill, then cut in halves or quarters depending on size. (Pieces should be approximately ½” to ¾” in size.
  2. Combine all ingredients and season to taste.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Chocolate Ice Cubes

Chocolate Ice Cubes
These cubes are GREAT with Kahlua or Irish Crème. Another variation is to let the mixture cool a bit then add a teaspoon of crushed candy cane to each ice cube cavity before pouring the chocolate mixture into them.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup Milk
  2. 1 Tbsp. Dark Cocoa
  3. 1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  4. ¾ cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Mix together the milk, cocoa and sugar and bring to a scald in a microwave oven.
  2. Remove the hot milk mixture from the oven and add chocolate chips, stirring until they are completely dissolved.
  3. Pour into ice cube trays.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Pete’s Chocolate S’More Brulee

Pete's Chocolate S'More Brulee
Serves 4
The recipe I’ll share with you is a pretty elegant one and not too complicated.
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Chocolate Crème Brulee Mixture
  1. 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. ½ cup Milk
  3. 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  4. 3 Extra-Large Egg Yolks
  5. ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  6. 1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Graham Cracker Bottom Crust
  1. ¾ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  2. 3 Tbsp. Melted Butter
Topping
  1. 2 cups Mini Marshmallows
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, bring cream, milk, sugar and vanilla to a scald, and then remove from the heat.
  2. Add chocolate chips and melt in while stirring.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat egg yolks until smooth.
  4. Drizzle hot chocolate mixture into egg yolks while whisking. Set aside this mixture.
  5. You’ll need four (4 to 6 ounce) brulee dishes or similar ramekins to bake your brulees in.
  6. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to combine. Then divide evenly between each of the four brulee ramekins and tamp down to create a bottom crust for each dish.
  7. Place each of the ramekins in a baking dish and place a small amount of water in the pan to create a shallow water bath around the ramekins.
  8. Carefully fill each ramekin with the chocolate brulee filling and bake in a 275 F oven approximately 45 minutes or until just firm. The batter should appear to set like Jello®.
  9. When fully cooked, remove the baking pan from the oven, carefully remove the ramekins to a sheet pan and place in the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours to fully chill and set.
To Finish
  1. Remove chilled ramekins from the refrigerator and pat the surface of each to remove any water condensate that may have occurred.
  2. Coat the surface of each ramekin with a layer of mini marshmallows one marshmallow deep, with areas here and there of two deep to give the surface some uneven texture.
  3. Set your oven rack at the highest shelf and turn on your broiler. When hot, place the ramekins under the broiler until the marshmallows are medium- to golden-brown, being careful not to burn them.
  4. Place ramekins on a separate service plate and enjoy!
Optional Additions
  1. Float Bailey’s Irish Crème, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur or Meyer’s Rum over surface of the brulees before adding and browning the marshmallows.
  2. Sprinkle the finished brulees with toasted almonds or toasted coconut.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/

Pineapple & Cilantro Salad

Pineapple & Cilantro Salad
Serves 4
This member of the carrot family is also referred to as Chinese Parsley, Coriander and Dhania (in the Indian subcontinent, and increasingly in Britain) and is actually the leaves (and stems) of the Coriander plant. Cilantro (from the Spanish name for the plant) has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking. The Cilantro leaves look a bit like flat Italian parsley and in fact are related. The leaves, and especially the stems, have a very different taste from the seeds, similar to parsley but “juicier” and with citrus-like overtones. Some people instead perceive a spicy or “soapy” taste. This taste is believed to be a result of an enzyme that changes the way some people’s taste buds perceive the flavor of coriander leaves. Cilantro leaves and stems are best if chopped and added to a dish just before finishing to take full advantage of their unique flavor.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Fresh Pineapple, peeled, cored
  2. 1 Red Bell Pepper, julienned
  3. 1/2 Red Onion, sliced 1/4"
  4. 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  6. 1 Tbsp. Jalapeno, with seeds, minced
  7. 1 Lime, juiced
  8. 2 Tbsp. Honey
  9. 2 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
  10. 1 tsp. Black Sesame Seeds
  11. To Taste - Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Chop pineapple into small bite size pieces and place in a non-reactive bowl.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and chill.
Nino Salvaggio https://www.ninosalvaggio.com/