Oil and Garlic Spaghetti With Mushrooms And Asparagus

Last night we were trying to think of something for dinner and decided on pasta. Don, in his culinary wisdom, decided to put this together. Trust me, you will want it more than once. If there had been any leftovers, I would have had it for breakfast this morning.

  • generous pinches of salt for the pot of water
  • 1 lb. spaghetti
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. Flat leaf parsley
  • Freshly grated Asiago cheese
  • 5-6 white mushrooms, brushed and sliced thin
  • 8 stalks of asparagus, cleaned, end removed and cut in 3 inch pieces

Boil the pasta according to package directions only to al dente.

While that is cooking, combine the garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil in a large skillet and cook until the garlic softens and turns a golden colour (about 7-8 minutes).  Now place the mushrooms in the skillet and cook until starting to turn golden brown. Remove from skillet and place in a bowl. In the same skillet, add a touch of oil and cook the asparagus until turning a golden brown but not over cooked.

Drain the pasta and into the skillet, mix the spaghetti, mushrooms and asparagus together. Divide equally into bowls and sprinkle grated Asiago cheese over.

You will roll your eyes and exclaim ‘damn we did this’. It is sooooooo delicious. Drat it… we forgot to take pictures. Next time. Sorry, but it smelled so good and I was hungary.

Chili Con Carne – Don’s way

We have had a competition for years over who makes the best chili. I wouldn’t listen until yesterday. I take a bow to Don as this is darn yummy.

  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 19 oz. can undrained dark red kidney beans
  • 1 284 ml can of condensed tomato soup
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. worchestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 packet beef boullion, dissolved in 1 cup water
  • Optional:
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, chopped in half
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • sour cream

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon wil just about crisp. Add the ground beef and cook until nicely browned.

Add the onion and (if using) green pepper and cook until the onion is transparent. Now the tomatoes, beans, soup, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and stir in.

Add the worchestershire sauce, red pepper and beef boullion mixture and stir in.  Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and cover, simmering for 1 hour or  until thick and bubbly. Add the mushrooms and simmer an additional 15 minutes.

Serve over rice with grated cheese on the top. Add a dollop of sour cream.

Shrimp Croquettes

If you are like me, you are always trying to find something a little different to impress company or even your family. This might do the trick. It is not expensive to make and I think you will be glad you tried this.

  • 2 -3 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 8 large mushrooms, cleaned and minced
  • sea salt
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 lightly beaten eggs
  • 2 cups panko crumbs

In a saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the flour gradually, whisking for 7-8 minutes until it turn a light golden colour. Whisk in the milk and cream gradually to ensure no lumps remain. Turn up to a high heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat immediately and let it cool.

Put enough oil in the frying pan to coat the bottom and set the heat to medium. Add the onion, and stir until it becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minute more until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let this cool for about 12-15 minutes.

Put about 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan and add about 2-2 1/2 lbs. of cleaned and deveined shrimp (large). Cook and stir until they turn pink. Remove from the heat immediately and let cool enough to handle. Chop into small pieces. Add the shrimp meat to the mushroom bowl Add the sauce and mix gently to incorporate. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture out in an even layer and freeze for 25 minutes. It should be solid but still workable. Remove from the freezer, and with 2 spoons, make balls about the size of melon balls. Repeat until all the shrimp mixture is used.

In a medium saucepan, add enough oil to cover a candy thermometer and heat until it reaches 375 degrees.

While heating up, in separate bowls, add the flour, the eggs and panko crumbs in shallow dishes. Roll the balls in the flour, dipping into the beaten eggs and then rolling in the panko crumbs. Fry them (a few at a time) for about 3 minutes. When cooked, remove and place on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Arrange on a platter and serve warm. Take your bow as they are so yummy and ‘damn you did this’. These could be served with a bowl of lime wedges on the table.

Yummy Risotto With Spring Asparagus and Mushrooms

Anyone who has followed this site will know that I LOVE risotto. I have several recipes on site and this is, yet,  another one.


  • 1/2 lb. mushroom mix (crimini, white button, shitake)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 3 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry, white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 lb. thin stalk asparagus, trimmed and cut in I inch pieces. Blanch until tender
  • 1/2 cup Asiago cheese
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and remove the stems. Heat a fry pan on medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp. each of olive oil and butter. When hot, add the mushrooms and saute until soft. Set aside including with any liquid that has accumulated.

In a saucepan add stock and wine and heat to a simmer. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and butter. Add the shallots, onion and red pepper and gently saute until the onion has become translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice and stir fry for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add enough hot stock to just cover the top of the rice. Stir constantly until the liquid is almost completely absorbed and add about 1/2 cup more liquid, again stirring constantly. Repeat these steps until all the liquid has been absorbed. This will take EXACTLY 22 minutes.

Add the asparagus and mushrooms including any of the juices.  and heat through. Remove from the heat and add the Asiago cheese. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately in warm serving dishes.

This pairs beautifully with either red or white wine. I guess it just depends on your taste or what you are serving with it.













Halibut With Mushrooms and Pickled Jalapenos

I’m good until the jalapenos…my lips would swell too much if I ate them but, please, go for it.


  • 5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 jalapenos (recipe follows)
  • 6 x 4 oz. halibut fillets

Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are done but not brown (5 minutes). Stir in the mushrooms, stock, salt, vinegar, thyme, pepper and bay leaves. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and be sure to remove the thyme and bay leaves. Add the pickled jalapenos and season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Heave a heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat. Add the remaining oil and as soon as it begins to sizzle, add the fillets, being careful not to crowd the pan. Cook, turning only once, until browned (2 minutes each side). Carefully remove the halibut to individual deep set plates or bowls. Divide the broth and vegetables among the bowls and serve immediately.

Pickled Jalapenos

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp. whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 tbsp. honey
  • 1/2 lb. jalapeno peppers

Add all the ingredients, except the peppers, to a medium sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Now….wearing gloves, slice the jalapenos into 1/4 inch rings. Add to the brine and bring back to the boil. Turn off the heat and let these cool down to room temperature. Pour into a glass container with a tight lid and refrigerate until ready to use. These will keep for a month if refrigerated.

This can be paired with a Sauvignon Blanc or a fire extinguisher. Just kidding!

Breakfast Hash, American Style

This seems to be popular for breakfast. Give it a go and you will make it again….and again!

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 – 3/4  cup half and half
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, cut in 1/4 inch coins.
  • 1 large red pepper, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded (optional) and chopped
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup wine vinegar
  • 3 large russet potatoes, grated on large holes of box grater
  • 1 1/4 cups aged cheddar, shredded
  • 2 shallots, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with the rack in the upper third of the oven.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the flour, whisking to make a roux for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and half and half. Bring to a boil. Make sure there are no lumps so whisk constantly. Remove from the heat, and season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the sausage coins until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish (sprayed first with non-stick Pam), Spread out evenly.

Reduce heat to a minimum and add the peppers and mushrooms, cook until lightly browned and softened (6 minutes). Add the vinegar and cook another 35 seconds to scrape up any brown bits. Spoon these evenly over the sausages.

Now for the good stuff. Combine the potatoes, cheese, shallots and sauce. Spoon over the top evenly and cover with tin foil (parchment paper first) and bake for 35-40 minutes. Uncover and broil until the top is well browned. (7-8 minutes). Serve warm with scrambled eggs and muffins….and don’t forget the juice and coffee. Whew!

BBQ Trout With Asparagus And Mushrooms

We just picked up some beautiful trout and thought this was perfect with the temperature being so nice and warm, deck set up, salad chilling in the fridge….here we go…..oh yeah! wine in the glass.


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
  • 3/4 lb. mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed
  • 3 tbsp. oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 trout fillets, 5 oz. each and about 3/4 inch thick

Preheat barbecue to a medium high temperature. Stir together the soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and ginger in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves.

In a high sided skillet, toss the asparagus and mushrooms in the oil, and season lightly with salt and lemon pepper. Cook in the barbecue for about 5 minutes, until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Add the soy sauce, (keeping some for the trout), stir all to coat and cook a further 3 minutes.

Sprinkle the fillets with a touch of salt, rub with oil and dip into the soy sauce (if any remaining) and set on the barbecue. Cook only to a medium doneness.

Hint: do not try to move the fillets before they have released on their own, and when you can move them. Otherwise, you could lose them (break up).


Leek And Mushroom Soup With Crisp Cheese Croutons

You really have to try this…caramelizing the leeks and making your own croutons will tantalize everyone’s taste buds.


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed and finely diced
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar, packed
  • 4 cups button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped thyme
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. sherry
  • 6 cups vegetable low-sodium stock

Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and sugar, stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce to low and cook, stirring often for about 30 minutes, and starting to caramelize.

Increase the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, thyme and a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook a further 10 minutes, stirring to avoid burning and ensuring all the liquid from the mushrooms has been absorbed.

Add the sherry and cook until absorbed. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring up all the brown bits. Simmer for 20 minutes and allow the flavours to blend.



  • 1/2 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (2 cups)
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup Asiago or 5 year old aged Gouda cheese, finely grated
Heat the oven to 450 degrees, In a bowl, drizzle the butter over the bread cubes and toss to mix and coat. Sprinkle in the finely grated cheese and toss to coat. Spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes. Really watch so they don’t burn. Remove immediately and put into a bowl.

To serve the soup, ladle into warmed soup bowls and sprinkle the top with the croutons while they are still hot.

OMG, is this tasty and heart-warming.


Shitake And Spinach Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Wow! I love pork tenderloin and this one is stuffed and served with an incredible yet elegant gravy. Read on!


  • 2 tbsp. butter, divided
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 cups shitake or white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry, divided
  • 2 cups chopped, fresh spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 pork tenderloins, trimmed and butterflied

In a large skillet, , melt half the butter on a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and thyme; cook, stirring for about 3 minutes until softened. Transfer half  to a bowl and set aside.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are browned. Add 2 tbsp. sherry (or you can use 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar) and boil, scraping the pan. Stir in the spinach until just wilted and transfer to a bowl, stir in 1/4 cup of the cream and bread crumbs. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with one tenderloin at a time, press flat and pound until all is of equal thickness. Spread evenly with one half of the dressing. and using one long side, roll up (like a jelly roll)  and tie up with twine to secure. Repeat with the second tenderloin. Season with salt and pepper.

In a clean skillet, brown the tenderloins on all sides. Place in a shallow baking dish, seam side down, and bake for about 25 minutes until there is only a hint of pink remains in the pork. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, tented with tin foil.

Add the reserved onion mixture to the skillet to cook for about 3 minutes or until browned. Add the remaining cream and sherry. Boil gently for about 5 minutes until reduced and thickened. Keep warm. Using a serrated knife, cut into thick slices on the diagonal and serve with sauce over.



Summer Party Mini Verrines

Unless you have a seafood allergy, I have never known anyone who did not like (make that – love) scallops. What  great way to bring your “A” game to the patio/deck for one and all.


  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 small piece of lime peel
  • pinch of pepper
  • 6 tbsp. of the heaviest whipping cream you can buy
  • 3 oz. Asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 24 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 48 small scallops
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. panko crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. grated Asiago cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

In a small pan, cook the butter and flour over medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the milk,  thyme and pepper, combining well. Cook now for 3 minutes until thickened.

Remove from heat, add the cream and cheese and return the sauce to the stove, reducing the temperature to low. Stir now until the cheese has melted. Season to taste and keep warm.

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the mushrooms until the liquid has gone and they are starting to brown (6-8 minutes). Remove from pan and keep warm as well.

Season the scallops, place a saute pan over the heat, add the butter and when sizzling, sear the scallops in two batches for 30 seconds on each side.

Combine the panko crumbs, cheese and parsley.

Set out 24 shot glasses. In each glass, place a heaping tbsp. of warm bechamel on the bottom, top with 4 pieces of mushrooms, add two scallops and finish with the breadcrumb mixture.

Serve immediately.

Steak and Mushrooms With Red Pepper Mayonnaise Panini

Wow, this is a sandwich any man (or woman) would love to sink their teeth into, especially since we are using Filet Mignon. Oh, my goodness! This is to die for. Get ready to make it again and again.


  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups of white mushrooms, finely chopped
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 lb. filet mignon, cut in 1/3 inch thick slices
  • 2 Ciabatta rolls
  • 3 tbsp. red pepper mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach, washed, dried and stems removed


Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and stir occasionally until they become soft (6-7 minutes). Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool down a little.

Heat the panini pan and now brush the filet pieces with the remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the meat on the panini press, lower the lid and grill until seared on the outside but rare on the inside (3-4 minutes). Let rest for a few minutes.


Red Pepper Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine the peppers, garlic, lime juice and cayenne in a blender until smooth. Stir in the mayonnaise until well combined.

Continuing on….

Split the rolls in half and spread 1-2 tbsp. of the mayonnaise on each bottom half. Arrange the mushrooms on top and then a layer of the spinach. Lay the steak slices on top and replace the bun top.

Place the sandwich in the press, lower the lid and cook until they are browned and crisp 3-6 minutes. YUMMY!

Seared Steak And Mushrooms With Greens And Ginger

This is a great light, tasty meal with an Asian flair using different spices. Nothing needs to be added except, perhaps, a glass of wine.

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 4  1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tbsp. minced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 2 1/8  tsp. sesame oil, divided (yes I did say 1/8)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 2 x 12 oz. rib-eye steaks
  • 2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
  • 8 cups mixed greens

Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil and 1/8 tsp. sesame oil in a small bowl. Add the cilantro and stir to blend. Set aside.

Rub 1/4 tsp. sesame oil over each steak. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Press the steaks into the toasted sesame seeds.

Heat 2 tsp. vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet, add the mushrooms and saute until browned, and transfer to a plate. Add 1 tsp. vegetable oil and 1 tsp. sesame oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and cook about 8 minutes. Remove to a small bowl.   Add the steaks, cooking to the way you like to eat them (3 -4 minutes each side for medium rare). Transfer to a cutting board. Let rest for a couple of minutes.  Slice steaks.

Toss the salad greens with the dressing in a small bowl, divide equally on 4 plates, top with the steak slices and mushrooms.

Pour 4 glasses of wine and enjoy the evening.