Friday, December 6, 2019

A Curry Stew Perfect for the Season

A simple stew can be one of the easier meals to prepare.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't have to boring!  Chef Steve Petesevsky stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about his delicious and healthy version of Curry Stew.  He told Tonia to saute onions and garlic with oil or peanut oil, then ad curry powder.  The oil will bring out the natural flavor in the curry.  Then add soup stock and fresh vegetables, of which Steve recommends calabasas squash.  He also says you can add tomatoes or whatever you want. Finish up with fresh cilantro and lime juice and serve over Israeli-style cous cous.  It may be easy to make, but the curry powder an vegetables combine to create something deliciously complex!

1tablespoon canola or peanut oil
1large red onion, diced
3-- ribs celery, sliced
3-- garlic cloves, minced
1tablespoon minced fresh ginger root or galangal
2tablespoons green curry paste
4cups peeled and cubed (1-inch) calabasa squash
1large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1-- (13.5-ounce) can light cocnut milk
2cups water or vegetable broth
1large tomato, cut into thin wedges
1/2cup shredded fresh basil
1/4cup chopped cilantro
1/4cup fresh mint
-- Juice of 1 lime (2 tablespoons)
1/4cup chopped peanuts or cashews, for garnish

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan with a heavy bottom. Saute onions, celery, garlic, ginger and curry paste 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add squash and sweet potatoes and continue to saute 1 minute.
  2. Add coconut milk and water or broth. Cover and simmer 20 minutes until vegetables are tender. Uncover and add tomatoes, basil, cilantro, mint and lime juice. Garnish with peanuts.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A New England Spin on the Monte Cristo

It's called the VER-MONTE Cristo (see what we did there?)Today we travel north to Vermont, to learn about an artisan cheesemaker take on a breakfast classic, French Toast.  But now we add the element of creamy cheddar cheese.  Margarita Martinez with the Cabot Cheese Creamery of Vermont came by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about their cookbook, appropriately named Cabot Creamery Cookbook and recipe in particular, the Ver-monte Cristo.  Essentially, its French Toast with sharp cheddar cheese, sautéed onions or shallots, brought together in a sandwich, topped with maple syrup and maybe served with sausage or ham.  It's both sweet and deliciously salty, quite the combination!

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 4 slices favorite local bread, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 whole shallot or very small onion, julienned or thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 ounces Cabot Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 2 large cooked sausage patties or thick slices ham


  1. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half and vanilla. Add bread slices, turning to coat with mixture, and set aside to soak.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in small skillet over medium-high heat; add apple slices and shallot or onion and cook until tender. Add vinegar and cook for one minute longer. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Melt remaining butter in large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Remove bread slices from egg mixture (discard remaining egg mixture) and cook in skillet for about two minutes on each side.
  4. Layer cheese, sausage or ham and apple mixture evenly over two of bread slices. Top with remaining two bread slices.
  5. Cook for one minute or until golden on underside. Turn sandwiches over and cook for one minute longer, or until sandwich is golden on second side and cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve warm.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The No-Potato, Breakfast Potato

It's a good time of year for a hearty breakfast...and what tastes better at breakfast than good, old fashioned hash browns.  But this time, we're subbing in butternut squash for potatoes.  Shh!  Don't tell anyone.  Gabriela Gercheson is an editor at Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine.  She stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about their ideas for Hash Squash. Gabriela says to serve the squash with eggs and onions for a sweet and savory breakfast side.  She told Tonia to season the squash with smoked paprika and fresh herbs.

  • 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup blanched raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 pounds cheese tortellini
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the squash, oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.  Spread the squash on the baking sheet and roast until golden brown, about 25 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through the cooking time.  Remove from the oven and set aside. 

Meanwhile, place the hazelnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat.  Shake the pan and stir the nuts so that they do not burn.  Cook until they begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate to cool.  Chop the nuts roughly.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the tortellini.  Cook until al dente, about 1 minute less than the directions on the package.  Drain in a colander.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring now and then, until the butter turns brown and starts to emit a nutty aroma, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until the butter bubbles and the garlic begins to brown.  Turn off the heat and let cool for 1 minute.  Add the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.

Add the tortellini and butternut squash to the butter sauce and toss to coat.  Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese.  Serve hot.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Don't Trash the Leftover Bread from Thanksgiving, Brunch It!

Everyone loves a savory bread pudding that's perfect for a Holiday brunch.  Abbie Dodge, who wrote the new cookbook, The Everyday Baker, told Tonia's Kitchen, that she loves to use leftovers from that big holiday dinner, and create something new!  Abbie told Tonia about her Spicy Asparagus Ham Strada.  She uses several vegetables like mushrooms, asparagus, bell pepper and yellow bell pepper.  She combines that with a "custard" that calls for whole eggs, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. It's a great way to make a delicious brunch treat, and ring in the Holidays!

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more for the pan
  • 1 lb asparagus, ends snapped off, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-1/2 oz. oyster mushrooms (or shiitake or white mushrooms), stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and green parts separated (1/2 cup green, 2 Tbs. white)
  • 9 large eggs, beaten
  • 2-3/4 cups milk (preferably whole)
  • 1 large loaf (about 1 lb.) rustic white bread (like ciabatta), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced deli ham, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 3 cups grated extra sharp Cheddar (about 8 oz.)
Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spears start to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and scallion whites and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms soften and cook through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Whisk the eggs with the milk and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Spread half the bread in a single layer on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half the egg mixture and then cover with half the ham, cheese, and asparagus mixture, and sprinkle with half the scallion greens. Repeat with the remaining bread, custard, ham, cheese, asparagus mixture, and scallions. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down so the bread is completely submerged in the egg mixture, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before baking.
Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Let the strata sit at room temperature while the oven heats. Bake until the custard sets and the top browns, about 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, cut into square pieces, and serve.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Entertaining this Weekend? Here's a Quick, But Delicious Party Appetizer!

We're talking about smoked trout's a delicious entertaining treat that's ready in about 5 minutes.  Author and Syndicated Columnist Pam Anderson told Tonia's Kitchen that it's pretty easy to prepare.  Start with cream cheese, Worcestershire Sauce, bottled horseradish, ground black pepper.  Add this mixture into a food processor with some smoked trout and blend it together. Once it's mixed, pull it out of the processor and mold it.  Add some parsley for garnish,  and you've got a fancy sounding, easy to assemble party appetizer!

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 package (8 ounces) smoked trout, skin removed
1 package (6-8 ounces) flatbread crackers or Melba toasts
Flat leaf parsley as garnish
Whir cream cheese, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Break trout into large chunks into cream cheese mixture and pulse until trout is still chunky but incorporated into cream cheese (about 12 short bursts).
Either line a bowl with plastic wrap and fill with pate or find a suitable jar to serve and store it in and simply fill the container without plastic wrap. If serving outside the can, turn the mold over from the bowl onto a plate, removing the plastic, and serve with flatbread crackers or Melba toasts. Garnish with a sprig of flat leaf parsley.