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Spinach and mushroom salad with warm sherry vinaigrette

1/2 cup sherry wine
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 large clove garlic
1 tablespoon diced shallot
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz Portobello mushrooms stem removed cleaned and sliced
4 oz oyster mushrooms stem removed cleaned and sliced
4 oz shiitake mushrooms stem removed cleaned and caps cut into quarters
1 (4.5-ounce bag ) Baby spinach, rinsed and spun dried

Over medium heat add half of the extra-virgin olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes before adding shallots and garlic, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add sherry wine and reduce by half, add sherry vinegar remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the warm vinaigrette with the spinach, toss and serve.

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Steamed Mussels with Coconut Red Curry

2 pounds fresh mussels
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of minced ginger
1 tablespoon of minced shallot
2 tablespoon of red curry paste
1 can of 14.5 oz unsweetened coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 Roma tomato small diced
½ cup of chopped spinach
¼ cup fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh cilantro whole sprigs

In a hot pan add oil, garlic, ginger, shallots and curry paste cook for 2 to 3 minutes with out browning. Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, spinach, tomato, basil and cilantro. Add mussels cover and bring to a boil until mussels open about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer mussels to a serving bowl and pour the cooking liquid over them.

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Grilled Skirt Steak with Caponata and Warm Potato Salad

Skirt steak:
4- 6 oz pieces of skirt steak

¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Combine all ingredients over skirt steak. This is a quick marinade but can also be marinated overnight.

Grilled Caponata:
2 zucchini split in half lengthwise
1 medium eggplant ½ inch slices lengthwise
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
4 plum tomatoes, halved stem removed
Olive oil, for brushing vegetables, plus 1/2 cup
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup green olives, chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Brush eggplant, onion slices, and tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill the eggplant, zucchini and onions until cooked. Grill the tomatoes until charred and slightly soft. Remove the vegetables from the grill and cut into 1/2-inch dice.
Place the vegetables in a medium bowl and add the olives, capers and pine nuts.
To make the dressing Mix together the garlic, red pepper flakes, vinegar, and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slowly whisk in about 1/2 cup olive oil until dressing is emulsified. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, add the parsley and mix.
Potato salad:
1 pound Yukon potatoes
1/4 pound Applewood smoked bacon
1 medium onion, small diced
2 stalk celery, small diced
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons rough chopped parsley

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until cooked through, drain the potatoes. Cut potatoes into ¼ inch slices while still hot, add the sugar, mustard and vinegar mix with the potatoes being careful not to break up the potato disks

Cook bacon until about ¾ of being crisp, add onion and celery, cook until onion and celery are transparent, add to potatoes and combine add salt and pepper to taste and toss in parsley . Serve warm.

To Serve:
In the center of a 4 large round dinner plate divide the potato salad into the center of each plate.
Cut each portion of skirt steak into ¼ inch strips widthwise and place on top of potato then top the skirt steak with the caponata. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs.

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Mediterranean Lamb Burgers with Feta and Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Recipe serves 4

Mediterranean lamb burgers with feta and cucumber yogurt sauce

Ground lamb meat
1 lb of ground lamb (purchase at specialty butcher shop or substitute beef)
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 tsp. fresh chopped garlic
1 tsp. freshly chopped oregano
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup crumbled feta
Salt and pepper

Combine above ingredients with lamb meat and form into (4) 4 ounce patties.

Cucumber yogurt sauce
1 pint of plain, unsweetened yogurt
1/2 cup of diced cucumber with seeds and skins removed
1 tsp freshly chopped mint
Juice from one lemon
Salt and pepper

Mix above ingredients.

Grill lamb burgers to desired temperate. Place on toasted bun. Add fresh tomatoes and fresh spinach and top with cucumber yogurt sauce.

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Chocolate Marquis

Recipe serves 4

9 oz bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup butter
1/4 cup strong coffee
Melt these ingredients over a double boiler (a small pot placed above a larger pot that contains boiling water).

3/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
4 large eggs
Combine ingredients using a whisk. Add to the melted chocolate mixture.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz crème de cocoa
Stir in the remaining ingredients.
Line 9” round pan with foil or grease.
Bake at 350 degrees in water bath for approximately one hour.
Garnish each plate with your favorite fresh fruit (raspberries compliment this very well)

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2 15-ounce cans drained garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/4 cup tahini (Middle Eastern sesame paste)
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ½ teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Blend garbanzo beans and other ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl.
Stir in cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon in to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

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Panzanella Salad

1/4 cup drained capers
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
12 ounces ciabatta bread
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus ¼ cup for croutons
1 small shaved red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup sliced cucumbers (seeds removed)
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and top with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place bread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350˚ pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until croutons are crisp.
Toss the ingredients—with the exception of the feta-in a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Let stand for 20 minutes. minutes.
Arrange on a serving platter. Crumble the feta over the top and serve.

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Pomegranate Glazed Flank Steak

2 cups bottled pomegranate juice (16 fl oz)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sumac
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds flank steak
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (1 medium shallot)
1/4 cup ruby or tawny port
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Bring pomegranate juice, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 1 ½ – to 2 quart saucepan over moderately high heat.
Boil until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 20 – 30 minutes)
Preheat broiler
Stir together sumac, pepper and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt
Transfer steak to baking pan and sprinkle evenly with sumac mixture then let stand about 10 minutes
Broil steaks 3 – 4 inches from heat, turning over once (2 – 3 minutes total for thinner pieces; 3 – 4 minutes for thicker pieces for medium-rare)
Transfer steaks with any pan juices to a large plate and let stand, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes.
While steak stands heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 10 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until golden, for 3 – 5 minutes.
Add port and simmer until reduced to a glaze, for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add meat juices accumulated on plate and bring to a simmer.
Whisk in pomegranate reduction and lemon juice.
Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons butter until incorporated.
Holding knife at a 45-degree angle, thinly slice steak diagonally against the meats grain and serve with sauce.

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