Tuesday, October 30, 2018


There are so many things you can top avocado toast with, such as smoked salmon, and all types of cooked eggs. This is a very filling and healthy breakfast or lunch.

4 slices multigrain or your choice of bread
1 avocado, cut open, scored and scooped into a bowl
3 T finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 T fresh lime juice
4 cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 T unsalted butter
4 large eggs, beaten
Sea salt and fine ground black pepper
2 to 3 chives, snipped

Place your bread slices on a cutting board.
Mash the avocado with a fork and mix in the cilantro, scallions, and lime juice. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Top each with a few slices of tomato.

Meanwhile, in a non-stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the beaten eggs.
Cook while moving eggs around with a rubber spatula.
Season eggs to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon on top of avocado slices and sprinkle with a few snipped chives.

Serves 2 to 4


Since there is just the two of us, this recipe makes a smaller cake but you can double the recipe for a larger bundt cake to feed a crowd.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 T brown sugar
½ cup honey
2 large eggs
Zest and juice of 1 large navel orange
1 ¾ cups pastry or all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
¼ t ground cloves
¼ t ground allspice
¼ t ground ginger
½ t fine sea salt
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup strong hot coffee or espresso
3 T Maker’s Mark Kentucky Bourbon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a pudding mold (do not clip on top) or a loaf pan with butter and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
Add the honey, eggs, zest and orange juice and mix for 1 minute.

In another bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and ginger. Stir in the salt and walnuts.

In a glass measuring cup, add the coffee and bourbon.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, alternating with coffee mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and baking in the center of the oven for 40 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a kitchen knife around the edges of the pan and remove cake to plate and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Monday, October 29, 2018


Beef Stroganoff was created by a French chef in St. Petersburg, Russia in the late 19th century. It is a quick and easy meal to make, even on a weeknight. This recipe serves four but if there is just the two of you, cook half of the noodles and freeze half of the sauce for another night. You can substitute red wine for the Cognac or brandy. 

Lee Kitchen Tips:
Cognac is a type of brandy that is made in an area of France called Cognac. It is a spirit that is distilled from wine and aged in oak barrels for a minimum period of two years...all Cognac is brandy but not all brandy is Cognac.

2 lbs boneless sirloin, strip loin, or tenderloin
2 T avocado oil, divided
8 oz button or cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 shallots, cut in half and thinly sliced
4 T unsalted butter
¼ cup Cognac or brandy
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 T dry English mustard
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sour cream, plus more for serving

16 oz package wide egg noodles
1 T chopped Italian parsley

Place meat in the freezer for one hour to make it easier to thinly slice.
Cut meat into bite-size thin strips.  
Heat oil in a large skillet.
Working in two batches, add meat and brown.
Set meat aside on a plate.
Add mushrooms and cook until lightly golden, about 10 minutes. 
Add butter and sauté shallots for another 5 minutes.
Add Cognac or brandy and then broth.
Simmer until liquid thickens, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in dry mustard, Worcestershire, paprika, and return the meat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Stir in sour cream and heat through, but do not boil.

Serve over hot buttered egg noodles and garnish with parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Fondue is a Swiss, Italian, and French dish of melted cheese in wine. It is made and served in a caquelon or fondue pot. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish in the 1930s.

Lee's Kitchen Tips: 
Gruyère is a hard yellow whole cow's milk cheese named after the French area of Switzerland known as Gruyères. 
Swiss Emmentaler another whole cow's milk cheese and is made in Emmental, Switzerland. 
Appenzeller is the top of the line and is also a whole cow's milk fruity cheese, also made in Switzerland. A good substitute for Appenzeller, if you cannot find it, is Norwegian Jarlsberg cheese.
Gouda is named after the Dutch city of Gouda and is one of the oldest cheeses that is still made today.
Kirsch is a colorless, dry brandy. It is made from the fermented juice of black morello cherries.
Fontina is an Alpine cheese originating in Italy.

P.S. You can make the fondue with one or two of the above cheeses and it will still be delicious.

1 large clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
6 oz  Swiss Gruyère cheese
6 oz Swiss Emmentaler cheese
6 oz Swiss Appenzeller cheese or Jarlsberg cheese
6 oz Dutch Gouda cheese
3 oz Fontina cheese
2  cups dry white wine
2 T cornstarch
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 T kirsch brandy
¼ t nutmeg 
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt
Paprika for garnish, if desired

Rub fondue pot with the garlic clove and discard.
Grate the cheese with a box grater into a large bowl and set aside.
Add the wine to the fondue pot and heat until it starts to bubble.
Add the cornstarch and whisk to smooth out any lumps.
Slowly add the grated cheese, a handful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until all the cheese is melted and the mixture is creamy and smooth.
This will take about 15 minutes.

Add lemon juice, brandy, nutmeg, cayenne, and salt.
Stir for another minute.

Sprinkle with paprika and serve with chunks of crusty bread, carrot sticks, sliced apples, and a green salad.

Serves 4

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


This is one of the easiest and quickest appetizers you can put together. English Stilton cheese goes so well with pears, but you can use blue cheese, Gorgonzola, Cambozola, or even Brie. I bought frozen phyllo tartlet shells in a package of 15.

15 mini phyllo tartlet shells
2 oz English Stilton or blue cheese, cut into small chunks
1 ripe pear, cut into small pieces
2 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange tart shells on prepared pan.
Put a piece of cheese into each shell.
Sprinkle with a few pieces of pear, a few thyme leaves and drizzle with a small amount of honey.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese melts and tartlets are golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


We went to the local fish market on the island and if you buy one-half salmon, you get the second half free. They were just brought off the boat by fishermen. We took them home, cut them into individual sizes, vacuum packed them and froze them. I took out two yesterday and made these delicious salmon cakes. 

1 lb center-cut salmon fillet
Avocado oil, for drizzling
Sea salt and finely ground black pepper

1 T unsalted butter
1 T avocado oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
2 t grated fresh ginger
¼ cup mayonnaise
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
1 cup panko crumbs, divided
1 t Dijon mustard
2 T minced fresh dill
2 T minced Italian parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Avocado oil, for frying

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the salmon on a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet, skin side down.
Drizzle the top with avocado oil and sprinkle with sea salt and finely ground black pepper.
Roast for 15 minutes, until cooked.

Remove from oven and lift off of pan with a spatula, the skin should remain on the pan
Place on a plate and let cool then refrigerate until cold.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet sauté the shallot and red bell pepper in the avocado oil and butter for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
Add to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Add the ginger, mayonnaise, zest, lemon juice, half of the panko, Dijon, dill, parsley, and beaten eggs to the large bowl and stir to combine. 

Flake the chilled salmon into the bowl and gently mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.

With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into 6 patties.
Spread the rest of the panko onto a plate and coat the salmon cakes all over, patting down so the coating sticks to the cakes.

Using the same skillet you cooked the shallot and bell pepper in, fry patties in a small amount of oil for 4 to 5 minutes, on each side.
Serve with a dollop of Lemon Aioli or tartar sauce.

Lemon Aioli
½ cup mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 t Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, pressed
1 t minced parsley
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Make this tasty appetizer for your family or friends. The addition of a thin jalapeño strip add a little kick but you can definitely leave it out. The bacon and the garlic infused melted butter are super delicious.

12 jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, butterflied, and tails left on
jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and cut into 12 thin strips, optional
6 bacon slices, I used applewood bacon
6 T unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce
12 toothpicks, soaked in water for a couple of hours

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the shrimp and jalapeño and set aside.

Place bacon on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and fitted with a rack and bake in the oven for 6 to 7 minutes, just to partially cook, render some of the fat, but not crisp up.
Remove from oven and let cool enough to handle.
When cool, cut bacon in half, crosswise.

Add the butter to a small saucepan and melt on the stove.
Add the pressed garlic and a couple of dashes of hot sauce, if desired.
Season with salt and pepper and very slowly simmer for 30 seconds to infuse the garlic.

Turn oven temperature up to 400 degrees F.

Open shrimp and place a strip of jalapeño inside and then wrap a half bacon strip around shrimp and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the shrimp.

Place on the same baking sheet lined with foil and fitted with a rack and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until bacon is brown and crisp.

Serves 4 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


I have been in a Cuban food mood lately. Here is a delicious Cuban recipe. Start your pork shoulder in the morning and your soup in the late afternoon. You will feel like you're in Miami Beach or Cuba when you have this delicious meal.

Cuban Shredded Pork
3 lb pork shoulder, trimmed of some fat
1 T avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
½ yellow onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Juice of 3 large oranges
Zest and juice of 1 lime

In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle in the cumin and oregano.
Add the onion, garlic, juices, and zest.

Cover with a lid and bake in a 250 degree F oven for 6 hours, turning pork over after 3 hours.
Let cool for 30 minutes before shredding.

Cuban Black Bean Soup
2 T avocado oil, divided
1 link dry-cured chorizo sausage, finely diced
½ yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
½  jalapeño, split, seeded, and minced
4 cups chicken stock
1 bunch of cilantro, long stems cut off, save some for garnish
3 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 t ground cumin
1 t dried oregano
½ t ground coriander
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sour cream
4 scallions, chopped
Lime wedges, for garnish
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

In a soup pot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and jalapeño for 5 minutes.
Spoon ingredients into a blender and add 1 can of the drained black beans and 1 cup of the chicken stock, and most of the cilantro. Puree until smooth.
Meanwhile, in the same soup pot add the other tablespoon of oil and sauté the chorizo for 5 minutes.
Pour the pureed ingredients back into the pot.
Add the rest of the chicken stock, the other two cans of black beans, cumin, coriander, oregano, and bay leaves.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bring soup to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and simmer 30 minutes.

To serve, remove the bay leaves.
Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls.

Place a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl of soup. 
Garnish with some scallions, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge on the side.

Cuban Sandwiches
1 loaf of Cuban or Italian bread
Yellow mustard
Deli ham slices
Swiss cheese slices
Dill pickle slices
Cuban Shredded Pork

Cut bread in half and spread Dijon mustard on both sides.
Add a slice of cheese, 2 slices ham, some dill slices, shredded pork, and another slice of Swiss cheese.

Grill in a panini grill or on a griddle with a cast iron skillet weighing it down.