Friday, July 3, 2020

This Burger is All Greek to Me!

Among the many tales of Ancient Greece, here's one you might not have heard...the tale of a burger and how it fell into favor with the many mythical gods of the day!  Chef Steve Petusevsky came by Tonia's Kitchen to tell his tale of the Athenian Burger.  He starts with ground beef or lamb, and the key ingredient which made Neptune give up seafood...greek yogurt!  Steve, who wrote the new cookbook Sizzle & Spice, told Tonia he adds the yogurt before cooking.  Not only does it, along with traditional greek spices, make the burger truly also holds in the moisture of the meat. Zeus would surely be pleased! Find out more with Chef Steve here

Happy 4th of July From All of Us at Tonia's Kitchen

Thursday, July 2, 2020

A Healthy Alternative to the Potato Chip

I love them, you love them. Potato chips are extremely tasty, they're also lacking when it comes to nutrition. But there's a way to simulate the chips, and get mega-nutrition while you're snacking thanks to kale. Suzanne Landry, who wrote the cookbook, The Passionate Vegetable came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her "Cheesy" Kale Chips.  They're loaded with nutrition and taste, and despite the name, they don't actually have cheese. Suzanne told Tonia she uses curly leaf kale for this recipe because it takes the sauce better.  As for the sauce (which is the boss!), Suzanne starts with a whole chopped red pepper, the juice of a whole lemon, and a half teaspoon of teaspoon of sea salt.  Place everything in a blender and mix together.  Then add a 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and raw cashews.  When the sauce is blended, it looks like Velveeta cheese!  Pour the sauce into a pan and toss the stemmed kale leaves in the mix, and bake the leaves until crispy.  Then you enjoy the kale krunch!

1 head curly leaf kale
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 1 hour), drained
1 whole red pepper, seeded and diced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ tsp. sea salt
1 clove garlic minced
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Optional: extra virgin olive oil.
1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Strip kale leaves off of stem. Whatever stem remains on top is tender enough to eat. Reserve stems for juicing or soup stock. Wash, drain and spin dry kale. Place in large bowl.
2.  In a blender, add red pepper, salt and lemon juice. Blend until liquid. Add cashews and remaining ingredients.  Blend on high until you get a very smooth consistency. There should be no lumps of nuts in this sauce.
3.  Gently, massage the kale with both hands to soften the leaves. Now add the cream and massage the kale with the sauce until all kale is coated.
4.  Place on cookie sheet on single layer. Use 2-3 cookie sheets if necessary.  Place in oven and bake for 2 hours.  If you have a dehydrator then place on racks and dehydrate for 12 hours.
Note: It is nutritionally better to soak the nuts but not absolutely necessary for this recipe.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemon Mousse

This one's a light, creamy dessert that doesn't require an oven. Abbie Dodge, who wrote the cookbook The Everyday Baker, came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her no-bake Lemon-Ginger Mousse Souffle. It uses a gelatin base, and ricotta cheese, both of which help keep it deliciously light! Try it out, and have fun.

For the mousse:

  • 3⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 1⁄4 cups ricotta (part skim is fine)
  • 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • Pinch of table salt 4 whites from large eggs at room temperature
  • 1⁄2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1⁄2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • 12 gingersnap cookies + more for the crushed cookie topping (I use Nabisco or homemade molasses cookies)
The souffl├ęs can be prepared, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days before serving. Have ready six 6-oz. ramekins arranged on a flat plate or quarter sheet pan. Cut parchment into six strips 2.5 inches wide and 12 inches long. Wrap one strip around each ramekin so that the paper covers the ramekin and stands 1 inch above the rim; secure with tape. Lightly grease the inside of the paper rim (I use a paper towel dipped in a bit of neutral oil).


Make the mousse

  1. Pour the lemon juice into a small heatproof ramekin (or keep it in the measuring cup) and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Set aside to soften. Once the gelatin has absorbed the liquid and is plump (about 3 minutes), microwave briefly until it is completely melted and crystal clear, 1 to 2 minutes. This can also be done in a small saucepan (instead of the ramekin) over low heat.
  2. Put the ricotta, granulated sugar, lemon zest, ginger, and salt in a blender. Scrape the lemon gelatin mixture into the blender, cover, and process until the ricotta is smooth and the mixture is well blended, about 1.5 minutes, scraping down the sides once or twice. Pour into a medium bowl and refrigerate, stirring frequently, until the mixture is cooled and thickened, 20 to 30 minutes. It should be as thick as unbeaten egg whites. For faster cooling, set the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice, stirring and scraping the sides frequently until cooled.
  3. Put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a medium bowl and using an electric handheld mixer fitted with wire beaters) and beat on medium speed until the whites are frothy, 30 to 45 seconds. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites form soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue beating while gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the whites form firm and glossy peaks when the beater is lifted.
  4. Scoop about one-quarter of the whites into the thickened lemon mixture and, using a silicone spatula, gently stir until blended. Add the remaining whites and gently fold in until just blended.

Assemble the mousses

  1. Arrange one cookie in the bottom of each ramekin.
  2. Using a large spoon, fill the ramekins halfway with the mousse.
  3. Arrange a cookie on top of the mousse and evenly portion the remaining mousse on top of the cookies. Using a small offset spatula, smooth the tops.
  4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 6 hours or up to 1 day.

To serve

Using a sharp paring knife, carefully peel away the parchment from the ramekins (up to 3 hours ahead). Just before serving, place each ramekin on a small plate and top with some of the crushed ginger cookie or a little of the blackberry compote, passing the remainder at the table.

Blackberry Compote


  • 2 cups blackberries, rinsed and well dried
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. limoncello liqueur
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest


  1. Put the blackberries, limoncello, sugar, and lemon zest in a medium bowl.
  2. Toss with a silicone spatula, lightly crushing the berries to release some of their juices.
  3. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use or for up to 6 hours.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

When Grilling Tomatoes...

With the heat of summer on high, it's definitely time to grill. And while there's always the classics (steak, hamburgers, hot dogs) Tonia's Kitchen wants you to think about something different, different as in a grilled bruschetta. Chef Billy from Restaurant Associates stopped by to talk about this seasonal take on that classic and told Tonia he starts with grilled tomatoes and onions, cutting the tomatoes in slices and marinating them in olive oil. You can use any size tomato, although beefsteaks are probably best. Billy says when grilling them, make sure you know where the hotpoint on the grill is. The grilling leaves the tomatoes with a smokey, caramelized flavor that really stands out. Pro-tip from Billy, don't over marinade what you're grilling with too much oil!

  • 1loaf crusty bread, sliced into 10 slices
  • 2garlic cloves, minced
  • 13cup olive oil
  • 3plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1teaspoon finely diced onion
  • 2teaspoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • 12teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Mix oil and garlic let sit 10 minutes.
  • Lightly brush oil mixture on both side of bread. Grill over high heat to mark and toast both sides of the bread.
  • Meanwhile mix tomatoes, onion, herbs into the remaining oil and garlic adding the balsamic, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Top each slice with some mixture and serve.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Kabobs...With Watermelon probably not the word you'd use to describe a kabob...that is unless of course the main ingredient is Watermelon!  Today, Amy Riolo, who wrote The Ultimate Mediterranean Diet, came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about her Cyprian-inspired Watermelon kabobs, that are a wonderful treat for outdoor picnics or barbeques.  Amy told Tonia she takes a traditional Cypriot cheese called Halloumi and places it on a kabob with basil leaves and watermelon.  Then she drizzles it with olive oil.  It's a fresh, healthy snack that's colorful and fun to eat!  Amy told Tonia the kids love it, and so will you!   A word about Halloumi cheese, it is available in most gourmet supermarkets, but if you can't find it, Amy tells Tonia Feta Cheese will do.