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Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

These tiny, sweet bay scallops are perfect as a quick bite to start a special meal. I paired them with a small glass of my shrimp bisque in this duo of seafood appetizers, and they were both among my favorites. The scallops have a tangerine juice reduction drizzled over the top, along with some wonderful extra virgin olive oil and some flakes of sea salt to create a rich, sweet and citrusy bite that still tastes of the sea (in a good way).

When you eat raw shellfish, I recommend only getting it from the most reputable source and checking to make sure they don’t smell overly fishy. They should have a firm texture to the touch, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine

1/2 pound bay scallops, rinsed (this is roughly enough for 4 people, depending on how many you will serve)

1 cup tangerine juice

3 tablespoons high quality extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon flaked sea salt

pinch of chili flakes (optional)

Reduce the tangerine juice to about half by simmering in a saucepan. It should become slightly thick and viscous. Once it has cooled, pour over the scallops along with the olive oil. Toss gently to coat and serve with a sprinkle of the flaked sea salt (and chili flakes, if using) over the top. I recommend tasting one to make sure you like the balance, as well.

Bay Scallop Crudo with Tangerine - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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Caramel Apple Cider - Meatballs&MilkshakesNothing says fall like apple cider. I love curling up with a book in my favorite chair with a hot, steamy mug apple cider spiked with homemade caramel and cinnamon. It also makes a great warm drink for holiday parties.

Caramel Apple Cider

1 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon caramel sauce

1 cinnamon stick

Warm the cider with the cinnamon stick to steep. Add the caramel sauce and stir.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 cup cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the sugar in a saucepan with the water until it starts to turn light brown. Carefully pour in the cream, it will bubble a lot. Add the vanilla and carefully stir. Allow to cool a little before pouring off into a container. It will last for a couple weeks in the fridge.

Caramel Apple Cider - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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The great thing about turkey pot pie is that it uses up so many Thanksgiving leftovers in one dish. But it’s also great if you’re not going to be making a big Thanksgiving meal and you want all the flavors without all the fuss. Serve this with some mashed sweet potatoes and a side of cranberry sauce and you’ll be in a good place.

Turkey Pot Pie

2 cups diced or shredded leftover turkey (or one turkey breast roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper)

2 celery stalks, diced

1 cup carrots, diced (could be leftover, pre-roasted)

1 onion, minced

1 1/2 cups leftover gravy, loosened up with a 1/4 cup water (or use chicken stock thickened with a roux of 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour)

1/2 cup white wine

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon rosemary or thyme, minced

Pie dough for 1 9-inch pie or cut into individual ramekin/soup bowl-sized discs

Saute the onion and celery in a couple tablespoons of olive oil until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and herbs and cook for a few minutes if raw, or if leftover, go ahead and add the turkey, gravy, wine, and lemon. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary (however, everything has generally been pre-seasoned, so you need to check).

Divide into ramekins, filling 3/4 of the way up. Cover the ramekins with the pie dough pieces and make sure to seal well along the edges. Cut a couple slits in the dough to let steam escape. They will most likely bubble through, but it’s not a problem. To make the dough brown nicely, you can brush the tops with a beaten egg or some olive oil and sprinkle a little sea salt on top.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown if already warm, or 45 minutes from the freezer. Make sure to place a pan beneath in case they bubble over.

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We survived the hurricane without any damage beyond getting a little stir-crazy, so I have to feel pretty grateful. We didn’t lose power or have any terrible flooding, but all we could do for days was watch the damage on TV. Of course, one of my first plans of action was to get to work on hurricane food.

Naturally, my first inclination was for mac & cheese, which was so delicious that it was gone before I could take pictures. For those curious, my mac & cheese is basically my tuna noodle casserole without the tuna. Next up, tomato soup and grilled cheese. I had some cherry tomatoes that were ready to be roasted, and combined them with some canned tomatoes to round out the soup. Perfect cold, rainy weather food. And it’s always a good time for a grilled cheese.

Roasted Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

1 pint cherry tomatoes

4 tablespoons olive oil

12 sprigs thyme

1/2 can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed or pureed

1 cup red wine

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 slices whole grain bread

3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese

thin slices apple, a tablespoon apricot or fig jam, etc (optional)

Roast the cherry tomatoes with half the olive oil and half the thyme at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, saute the onion and garlic in the remaining olive oil for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the tomato paste and allow to rust for another minute or two. Add the roasted tomatoes, canned tomatoes, sugar, and wine. Allow to cook together for 10-15 minutes while you prepare the grilled cheese. You may choose to puree the soup with a stick blender, but we wanted it chunky this time.

Toast the bread in a pan with olive oil or in a toaster until light brown. Add the cheese and any toppings you may like. Cook in a saute pan with a little olive oil or butter until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Make sure to flip halfway through and a lid can sometimes help the cheese to melt. Use medium heat so that the bread does not burn before the cheese has finish melting. Allow to cool a few minutes before cutting, so that the cheese does not run out.

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The big tip with boozy milkshakes is to chill the alcohol if you are using something you don’t already keep cold. In this one, I use bourbon and a hint of Kahlua along with good vanilla ice cream. Always a good end to a meal.

Boozy Bourbon Milkshake

2 cups vanilla ice cream

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce Kahlua

1/4 cup milk

chocolate covered coffee beans to garnish

Combine the vanilla, bourbon, Kahlua, and milk in a big glass and stir to combine. You can also use a blender, but I prefer making these by hand. Garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans.

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I love a good bolognese, but sometimes I just don’t have time on a weeknight to invest in making it. That’s where this kind of pasta sauce comes in. It cooks in the time it takes to boil a big pot of water, and it uses enough veal to flavor the sauce but not enough to make it really heavy. The cherry tomatoes have a natural sweetness and don’t need to cook down too much. It’s the perfect indulgence for a weeknight treat.

Weeknight Veal Ragu

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons oregano, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can San Marzano cherry tomatoes (or other San Marzanos if you can’t find the cherry tomatoes)

1/2 cup white wine

1/4  cup grated parmesan

1/2 box or pound of long pasta (spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, etc)

Cook your pasta in salted boiling water a minute less than the package instructions. Meanwhile, brown the veal in a wide saute pan. (Using a wide pan will help the sauce cook quickly because it maximizes the amount of sauce in contact with the pan).

Add the onion once it has developed a nice browned color. Let the onion sweat down with a little salt to season. Add the oregano and garlic and stir through. Add the tomato paste and allow it to rust for a few minutes. Add the wine and tomatoes and cook down for 5 minutes. Once the sauce has reduced a little and thickened, add the cooked pasta with a splash of the pasta cooking water. Stir to cook together for the last minute and add the cheese.

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I found a recipe for avocado toast in a Bon Appetit cleanse a while ago, and it quickly became my favorite snack, breakfast, or lunch. I adjusted the recipe a little to balance the tartness of the lemon with some honey. Make sure to allow your avocados to ripen, they should be just a little pliable when you give them a squeeze.

Avocado Toast

1/2 avocado, mashed

1/2 lemon juiced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tasblespoon honey

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 slice of bread, toasted

Combine the avocado, lemon, olive oil, honey and red pepper flakes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon on the toast and enjoy!

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