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Veal Scaloppini with Artichokes and Capers

Veal scaloppini is a thin, boneless slice of veal, taken from the leg, which cooks very quickly. To this dish I have added artichokes and capers. Capers add a salty, olive like flavor to the dish. Lemon juice offers a tangy kick.

Photography by Robert Demetrius




For the veal scaloppini you will need:
1 pound veal scaloppini, 8 pieces
½ cup flour, for dredging
5 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons capers
4 artichokes cut in quarters
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2/3 cup white wine
4 tablespoons butter
¾ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach, you will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

This dish is another quick one, so I like to prepare all my ingredients beforehand.

Place a large skillet and a large pot on the burner. The skillet will be used for the scaloppini and the pot is used for the spinach. When doing spinach, I like to use a large pot because it’s so much easier to toss.

Take the veal out of the fridge about 10 minutes before seasoning, just to take off the chill.

Lemons, Capers and Artichokes
Mince 4 cloves of garlic and juice a lemon so that the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice are readily available. I used canned artichokes that were already quartered. Just make sure that they are properly drained because we don’t need any brine in our dish. If you have whole artichokes, just quarter them. Make sure that the 4 tablespoons of pickled capers are also well drained. Then measure 2/3 cups of white wine. A dry wine would work best with this dish.

Coating Veal Scaloppini with Flour
Start by seasoning the veal with ½ teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. In a shallow bowl or plate, mix ½ cup of flour and ¼ teaspoon of salt to dredge the scaloppinis. 
Shaking off Excess Flour
After coating each scaloppini, shake off the excess flour.

Placing Flour Coated Scaloppini in the Skillet
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once nice and warm, pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet, making sure that it’s nice and hot, before adding the scaloppinis coated in flour. 
Make sure not to put all the pieces in at one time. Depending on the size of the scaloppinis you may have to do it in two batches. You don’t want the meat layering on top of each other because you want the pieces of meat to brown evenly on each side. 
Browning Scaloppinis
Brown each side for about a minute each. Once the first batch is done, remove from the skillet and start on the second batch. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet once you have started the second batch. 
Scaloppini
Once the second batch is done, remove from the skillet.

Garlic, Artichokes, Capers, White Wine and Lemons
Turn the heat down to medium low, adding the minced garlic, lemon juice, capers, artichokes and dry white wine and simmer for about 1½ minutes before returning the meat back into the skillet, making sure that it’s nicely tucked underneath the artichokes, adding 4 tablespoons of butter, so that the sauce can reduce and thicken. 
Veal Scaloppini with Artichokes, Capers, White Wine and Lemon Juice
Adding Butter to the Dish
Wilting Spinach
As the sauce is being reduced, start heating the pot, which is already on the burner with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once heated, toss in 2 bags of spinach or 18 ounces and continue to toss until wilted. Season with salt and ground pepper.
Not a lot of seasoning is needed for the spinach, as the scaloppini is already so flavorful. The meat and sauce should be finished and ready to be plated.
Veal Scaloppini with Artichokes and Capers
Take a ¼ of the spinach and plate, and then place 2 scaloppinis on top of the spinach and dress with 4 artichoke quarters and sauce. Voilà! Here is another easy yet interesting dish. Top it off with a glass of white wine. Serves 4. Enjoy!

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Natascha's Easter Cocktail

I know we need a little something, something to top off the Easter menu. It’s light, fresh, fruity and the Amaretto gives it the added punch.

Photography by Robert Demetrius
You will need:
6 ounces white wine
2 ounces orange juice
1 tablespoon amaretto
1 tablespoon grenadine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
4 ounces ginger ale
2 slices of orange and 1 slice of lemon 

Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 teaspoon lemon juice. In a long glass, put in a few cubes of ice, pour in 6 ounces white wine, 1 tablespoon amaretto, 1 tablespoon grenadine, 2 ounces orange juice and the lemon juice and sugar mixture. Top off with 4 ounces ginger ale and mix. Add 2 orange slices in the cocktail and a slice of lemon on the rim of the glass as decoration.
Serves 1.

Prost! Cheers! Salute! Salud!


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Jamaican Easter Bun

Easter Bun and cheese is a Jamaica tradition. The bun is rich, dense, sweet, aromatic and full of flavor. The dark color comes from the stout and molasses. Stout is a very dark, nearly black beer that is bitter in taste, however, it works beautifully with this recipe.
Mixed Spice is a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and coriander, which gives the bun the spicy fragrance.

Photography by Robert Demetrius



You will need:
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
1 cup stout
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup raisins
¼ cup candied lemon peel
¼ cup candied orange peel
¼ cup candied cherries

For the glaze, you will need:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon honey

Pre-heat your oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
Stout with Spices
Pour 1 cup of stout into a bowl, adding 1½ cups dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon mixed spice, 1 tablespoon molasses and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Make sure the molasses has dissolved before pouring into the dry ingredients. I like mixing the spices with the stout so that they get a chance to get absorbed into the stout. Set aside while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Mix 3 cups of flour, ¼ teaspoon salt and 3 teaspoons of baking powder in a large bowl.
Lightly beat an egg and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. 
Mixture with Dried Fruits and Stout
Pour these two ingredients into the stout and spice mixture. Once the stout mixture has been blended with the egg and butter, pour into the dry mixture, bit by bit and then toss in the raisins, candied lemon peel, orange peel and cherries, before you have poured in all the stout mixture. 
Batter
Mix well so you don’t have clumps in the mixture.

Pouring Batter into Bread Loaf
Spray some Pam in the bread loaf pan. I used a non stick loaf dish. Then pour the mixture into the loaf pan and place in the oven and bake for 1 ½ hours or until done. You will know when it’s done when you test it by sticking the loaf with a long, thin bamboo stick or toothpick. If it comes out dry, then, it’s done. I suggest that you check the bun after 1 hour and 10 minutes. Depending on the amount of dough that is on the stick, you should be able to gauge how much longer it will need.
Freshly Baked Bun
When the bun is done, remove from the oven and place the baking pan on a rack and let it rest and cool down before removing the bun from the pan.  Once the bun has been cooled, but is still warm, remove from the pan.
Glazing the Bun
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and dissolve 1 tablespoon of honey in the butter. Brush on the top of the bun.


Bun Slices
Let the bun rest for 24 hours before cutting. It crumbles if you cut into it too soon. I found the bun was best on day two. Voilà. In Jamaica we love to have bun and cheese for Easter. So get some nice cheddar cheese and enjoy.
Check back tomorrow! I have one more recipe!

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Striezel

Is a braided sweet bread that is eaten year round in Austria but especially popular for Easter. My Omi used to bake one every year and we would enjoy it on Easter Sunday, usually slathered with butter and apricot jam, with a piping cup of coffee. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Photography by Robert Demetrius



You will need:
4½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
¼ cup of warm water
1 cup melted butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup warm milk
½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup raisins
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Start by dissolving 2 tablespoons of dry active yeast with ¼ cup of warm water. To proof the yeast, stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar from the ¾ cup of sugar and let it stand for 10 minutes. You will see it rising and when you do, it’s a sign that the yeast is active, which is exactly what we are looking for.

Proofing Yeast

Soaked Raisins


While waiting for the yeast to rise, soak ½ a cup of raisins in some water for 5 minutes. They won't clump together when adding to the dough later on and they also plump up a bit and get juicy. When they are finished soaking, drain them so that all the excess water is removed. I usually leave them in a sieve, settled over another bowl until I need them. That allows it to drain even further.


In a large mixing bowl, blend 4 cups of flour and ½ teaspoons salt together. Make a well in the flour in the center of the bowl and set-aside until ready.
Melt 8 ounces of butter, which will yield a cup of melted butter and warm ¾ cup warm milk.
Sugar, Eggs and Lemon Zest
In another bowl add the remaining sugar, 1 egg and 1 yolk, along with 1 teaspoon lemon zest. Don’t throw out the remaining egg white, you will need it to brush on the Striezel before baking.
Creamy Mixture
Mix the sugar, eggs and lemon zest until you have a nice creamy mixture. Once this is done, pour in the melted butter, warm milk and blend.
Flour, Creamy Mixture and Yeast
By now, the yeast is ready for use. So pour the sugar, egg, lemon zest, butter and milk mixture into the well and pour the yeast on top of it and start mixing. I know the dough may be a bit sticky, that’s why I have reserved ½ cup of flour.

Kneeding the dough
On a clean surface, sprinkle some flour and put the sticky dough on top of the flour, sprinkling a bit more flour onto the dough and kneed until the dough is no longer sticky, but has an elastic texture, whilst adding the raisins into the dough. Once the raisins have been incorporated, place the dough back into the large mixing bowl and proof for an hour. 
Dough Proofing in the Oven
I put my dough in the oven and covered the bowl with a dishtowel so it could rest.

Dough Ready
An hour later, Take the dough from it’s resting place and should have risen and should be soft to the touch.

Pre-heat your oven to 300° Fahrenheit.

Cutting Into Three Equal Pieces
Once again, sprinkle some flour on a clean surface and place the dough on the flour. Kneed again. Then you will need to separate the dough into 3 equal pieces. 
Three Rolls
Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. Move the 3 long rolls to the baking tray to make the braid. 
Making a Braid
Once the braid is done,whisk the remaining egg white and brush on the braid, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.

Brushing Egg White on Striezel

Sprinkling Sliced Almonds
Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Check to ensure that the Striezel is properly baked, sticking it with a long, thin bamboo stick or toothpick. If it comes out dry, then you know it’s done.

Ready to Enjoy!
If done, remove the Striezel and place on a rack to cool. Voilà! What a lovely way to start your Easter morning. Enjoy.


Look out for another recipe that will be following shortly!

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Roasted Strawberries with Orange Scented Mascarpone Cream

Mascarpone is an Italian triple cream cheese that is buttery, rich, soft and silky. It is so versatile and can be used in sweet and savory dishes.

Photography by Robert Demetrius




To roast the strawberries, you will need:

12 large strawberries
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

For the orange scented mascarpone cream:
4 ounces mascarpone
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup of orange juice from Navel oranges
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh Strawberries


Rinse the strawberries and drain. I used a paper towel to pat them gently to remove some of the excess water. Now, cut off the stems, this will allow you to place the strawberries cut side down on the parchment paper so they stand up when placed in the oven, without rolling around on the side. 
Strawberries Rubbed with Dark Brown Sugar
























I gently rubbed 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar on the strawberries and since they were still a bit of moist, it allowed the dark brown sugar to remain on the strawberries without falling off. It’s just the right amount of added sweetness that the strawberries will need. The dark brown sugar will also give it a deep rich flavor.

Pre-heat the oven to 500° Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the strawberries, rubbed with dark brown sugar on the sheet. Don’t place them too close to each other, as you don’t want them to steam, being so close together.

Roasted Strawberries
Let them roast for 6 ½ minutes. They will still be firm, the dark sugar will be melted and they may have released just a bit of juice. Transfer the strawberries immediately to a plate and let them cool. It’s best to keep them on a plate, as they will release some more juice and that will be beautiful to use in the dessert once plated.

Mascarpone with Orange Zest

























In a small bowl, mix 4 ounces mascarpone, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon 
orange zest, 1/3 cup of orange juice and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, until smooth. Let it rest for a while in the fridge so that the orange zest and juice really infuses into the mascarpone cream. When you take it back out, mix it again so it’s a smooth cream. You will certainly taste the orange. Divine.

To plate, put a dollop of the orange scented mascarpone cream in a bowl, then place 4 strawberries on top of the cream. Then drizzle a bit more of the cream around the strawberries and a bit of the strawberry juice that is on the plate with the strawberries.

Roasted Strawberries with Orange Scented Mascarpone Cream
Voilà! What a beautiful dessert. Serves 4. It’s a delightful finish to my Easter lunch or dinner menu.

Roasted Strawberries with Orange Scented Mascarpone Cream

Look out for two more recipes that will be following shortly!

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Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes


St. Agur blue cheese is a soft double-cream cheese. It has a smooth creamy texture with a mild spicy taste.

Photography by Robert Demetrius
You will need:
2 pounds red potatoes
6 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces St. Agur blue cheese
3 tablespoons heavy cream


St. Agur Blue Cheese




Take the St. Agur cheese out of the fridge so it gets to room temperature. It will be so much easier to work with.







Red Potatoes



Fill a medium sized pot with 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Wash, peel and quarter the potatoes and throw them in the salted water.  Boil for 19 minutes or until tender.






In the meantime, melt 3 tablespoons of butter.
In a small bowl, mash the St. Agur with a fork, adding 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. It will be of soft, smooth and silky consistency.






Once cooked, drain the potatoes in a colander before mashing. 







Pour the creamy cheese mixture into mashed potatoes and combine well.


Adding Blue Cheese Mixture to the Mashed Potatoes
Voilà! There you go. This was another quick and easy side dish.

Herbed Lamb Chops with Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes, Creamy Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms, Oven Roasted Eggplant and Roasted Sweet Pepper drizzled with Simple Balsamic Vinaigrette
I served this as a side dish with my Herbed Lamb Chops. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Look out for three new recipes tomorrow! Just in time for Easter!

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Creamy Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms

Large white mushrooms have a light earthy flavor and are perfect for stuffing because they have a nice cavity for the filling.
Crème fraîche is a thick, slightly sour cream with a tangy taste adding creamy rich texture. It is great in sauces, as it won’t curdle.
The basil chiffonade added a light freshness of spring.

Photography by Robert Demetrius






You will need:
12 large white mushrooms, with stems finely diced
¼ medium onion, finely diced, about 3 ounces
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
8 large basil leaves, chiffonade
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
½ cup chicken broth  

Start by preparing all your ingredients so all you need to do is toss them into the skillet when needed, as it will go very fast.
Finely dice ¼ of a medium onion and 2 ounces pancetta. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and roughly chop spinach so that you yield 4 cups. That should be around ½ bag of spinach.

Diced Onions, Pancetta, Mushroom Stems and Garlic

Clean the large mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth as well as removing the stems from the mushrooms. Don’t discard the stems! We need them for the stuffing. Just cut off the dry ends of the stems and dice each stem finely. 

Mushroom Caps in Baking Dish


Find a deep dish that is large enough to hold the 12 mushroom caps. Grease the bottom of the dish well, making sure it’s all covered with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place the mushrooms with the hollow side facing up. Season with ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and set aside.





Now, start preheating the oven to 500° Fahrenheit. By the time you are finished with the filling the oven should be ready.

Pancetta and Onions



Heat the skillet at medium high heat so it’s nice and toasty before adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the pancetta and sauté for 1 minute, then, toss in the onions for another minute. Add the minced garlic and the diced mushrooms stems for 4 minutes to the pancetta and onion mix.




Mushroom, Pancetta, Onion and Crème Fraîche


Pour another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan before adding the roughly chopped spinach. Sauté the spinach for 1½ minutes, then, add 2 tablespoons of crème Fraîche and 8 leaves of basil chiffonade, allowing for all the flavors to mingle together for a minute whilst blending the crème fraîche into the pan.


Filling Mushroom Caps







Spoon the filling into the individual mushrooms









Filled Mushrooms before Baking


But, before placing the dish with the mushrooms into the oven, pour ½ cup of chicken broth into the dish, for some moisture. Don’t pour any broth on top of the mushrooms because we don’t want a watery filling. Bake for 15 minutes and check on them at the 10 minute mark.  Use some of the mushroom infused broth, gently spooning it over the mushroom caps so that the edges at the top of the mushroom get a bit of moisture. When finished, serve as a side dish, or even an appetizer.

Creamy Spinach and Pancetta Stuffed Mushrooms
I served this as a side dish with my Herbed Lamb Chops. Voilà! Now go forth and enjoy! Serves 4.


I have one more recipe from my Easter Menu coming up tonight! And look out for three new recipes tomorrow! Just in time for Easter!

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