Archives for February 2016

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli
Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. 2 T. EVOO
  2. 1/8 lb. pancetta, chopped 2
  3. 4 (6") sprigs rosemary, left intact
  4. 2 (4-6") sprigs thyme, left intact
  5. 1 large fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
  6. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  7. 3 carrots, finely chopped
  8. 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  9. 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  10. salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  11. 2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans
  12. 1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
  13. 2 cups water
  14. 1 quart chicken stock
  15. 1 ¼ cups ditalini
  16. freshly grated Parmigiano cheese
  17. crusty bread, warmed
  1. Heat olive oil in dutch oven over medium high heat and add pancetta. Brown pancetta lightly and add herb stems, bay leaf, onions, carrots and celery. Cook until soft and then add garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook another few minutes.
  2. Add beans with liquid, tomato sauce, water and stock to pot and raise the heat to high. Bring soup to a rapid boil and add pasta. Reduce heat to medium and cook soup, stirring frequently to prevent pasta from sticking to bottom of pan. Cook for 6-8 minutes until pasta is al dente. Rosemary and thyme leaves will separate from stems as soup cooks. Remove herb stems and bay leaves from soup.
  3. Allow soup to rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with lots of freshly grated cheese.
  4. Pass crusty bread for bowl mopping.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Sautéed Scallops with Chermoula

Sautéed Scallops with Chermoula
Serves 4
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Chermoula Sauce
  1. 3/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  3. 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  4. 4 cloves garlic
  5. 1 t. ground cumin
  6. 1 t. sweet or smoked paprika
  7. 3/4 t. salt
  8. 1/4 t. ground red pepper
  1. 1 1/4 pounds large sea scallops
  2. 1/4 t. salt
  3. freshly ground pepper
  4. 2 T. olive oil
  5. preserved lemons (optional)
  6. parsley sprigs
Chermoula Sauce
  1. Process oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and ground red pepper in a blender until garlic and herbs are finely chopped. Taste; adjust seasonings.
  1. Pat scallops dry. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet until hot. Add the scallops in a single, uncrowded layer. Sear over medium-high heat until golden, about 3 minutes. Turn; sear the other side, about 1 1/2 minutes.
To serve
  1. Transfer scallops and pan juices to 4 heated serving plates. Pour about 2 tablespoons chermoula over and around each serving. If using, sprinkle preserved lemon over all. Garnish with parsley sprigs.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Winter Grilling by Amy Patterson

For ten years my husband relished the ease of our Weber gas grill.  Hooked up to the natural gas line, there were no propane tanks for Gage to switch out.  Desired temperature was achieved by tinkering with the knob.  Location? Tucked just outside the kitchen on our deck.  Easy, no-fuss, convenient.   
I’d been nagging him about the Kamado Joe ever since I’d watched the chefs fire it up for classes out on Marcel’s back “patio.”  I forwarded him the June Cook Create Celebrate outlining what makes KJ not only a great grill, but also a value.  
Alas, we moved to a new home this fall and our reliable friend remained neatly hooked up to its umbilical cord on the deck.  No grill greeted us on our new patio.  I had my chance!  I kept gently nudging him but he was married to the simplicity and predictability of a gas grill.  In late October, our friend Brock came to visit from Alabama and could not stop talking about flavorful feats on his new “Egg.”  I had done the research and knew the KJ could easily compete.
KJ3The next week, Jill and Bob hefted the 250 pound grill out from the pick-up onto our driveway, maneuvered it on the narrow path along the side of my house and carefully guided it around the uneven stones on the back patio.  It was a precarious procedure to witness but at last, it was in place.  
I thought we might be a little cuckoo since winter was lurking but to my surprise, we have never grilled more. Gage wakes up well before the sunlight filters through our bedroom window and is installed at his desk downtown by 6 am.  Sadly, the sun has usually disappeared over the horizon in the winter when he arrives home.  After fumbling around in the dark with a flashlight a few evenings, he placed an order for a headlamp.  Now equipped, the blasts of cold air as he heads out to the patio invigorate him; coaxing the coals into position and fidgeting with the air vents to achieve the perfect combination of heat and smoke are his challenges.  There is an elemental satisfaction to tending a flame and making a meal in the fresh brisk air after being cooped up in an office all day.  
KJ2CroppedWe have experimented with whole chickens, flank steak, pork shoulders and chops, vegetables and Romaine and even successfully tried our hand at a loaf of bread.  So far, our favorite concoction has been a dish we’ve been playing with for years: Chicken Tikka Masala.  The smokiness achieved by placing the thighs on the charcoal grill gives the dish an authentic Tandoori-like dimension that I had not achieved under the broiler or on the gas grill.  We hope that you enjoy our version of this Anglo/Indian favorite!
A note from Jill: Kamado Joe grills will be available in store by early May but we can always place a special order for you at any time of year.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 4
Chicken + Marinade
  1. 1 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  2. 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  3. olive oil
  4. 1 T. minced ginger
  5. 1 t. ground coriander
  6. 2 t. Kosher salt
  7. 1 t. Tandoori seasoning*
  8. 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  1. 6 tomatoes (on the vine), quartered
  2. 1-2 serrano peppers (depending on the heat) Remove seeds if desired (again depending on how hot they are)
  3. kosher salt
  4. oil or clarified butter
  5. 1 t. whole cumin seeds
  6. pinch of asafetida (hing)
  7. 3 bay leaves
  8. 1 t. ground coriander
  9. 1 t. smoked paprika (hot or mild)
  10. 1 t. sugar
  11. 1/2 t. ground turmeric
  12. 1/2 t. ground cumin
  13. swirl of heavy cream
  14. 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  15. 1/2 t. Garam Masala
  16. red onion, sliced into very thin rings, soaked in ice cold water and drained
Chicken + Marinade
  1. Combine Greek yogurt, ginger, coriander, salt, Tandoori seasoning and red pepper flakes. Add oil to desired consistency (I typically use a few Tablespoons). Add chicken thighs, toss to coat and marinate for at least 1 hour.
  2. Heat grill to 450. Remove chicken from marinade and grill until cooked through. (A charcoal grill gives a nice smokey flavor) Cut into 1” pieces. Cover and set aside.
  1. Blend tomatoes, serranos and big pinch of salt in a blender until puréed. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil or clarified butter in a large sauté pan. Add the whole cumin seeds and asafetida and cook until fragrant. Add bay leaves, tomato purée, coriander, smoked paprika, sugar, turmeric and cumin. Let simmer over moderate heat until water from tomatoes cooks down. Swirl in heavy cream to taste. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add chicken pieces and any accumulated juices. If needed, thin sauce with a touch of chicken broth. Add cilantro and garam masala. Stir, gently heat through. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Serve over Jasmine or Basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro and red onion.
  1. *I use Penzey's Tandoori Seasoning
Marcel's Culinary Experience


  1. Pizza dough (see recipe below)
  2. Italian sausage, hot or mild, browned and drained of fat
  3. pizza sauce or marinara
  4. diced/sliced onions, peppers, olives and mushrooms, browned, if desired
  5. ricotta
  6. mozzarella, shredded
  7. 1 slightly beaten egg, mixed with 1 tsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Divide dough into 6-8 pieces.
  3. On a floured surface, roll each into an 8” circle. Spoon some sausage, some pizza sauce and vegetables onto half of each circle. Top with some ricotta and a sprinkling of mozzarella. Moisten edge of dough with egg wash. Fold in half; seal edge by pressing with a fork. Slash top and brush with egg wash.
  4. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30-35 minutes.
  1. Pizza Dough - Makes 2 ten inch pizzas or 6-8 calzones
  2. Stir together: 2 t. dry yeast ½ cup warm water
  3. Add and mix well: ¼ cup flour ¼ cup rye flour
  4. Allow this mixture to sit until quite bubbly, about 30 min.
  5. Mix together in another bowl: 3¼ cup flour 1 t. salt Stir this into the yeast and flour mixture along with: ¾ cup cold water ¼ cup olive oil
  6. Mix thoroughly by hand or electric mixer. Knead until dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes. If dough is sticky, add more flour, but only enough to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. You want a very soft, slightly moist dough.
  7. Place dough in large oiled bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. (or place in oiled Ziploc bag overnight in refrigerator). Bring to room temperature before forming into pizzas or calzones.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Molten Cupcakes

Raspberry-Filled Chocolate Molten Cupcakes
  1. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  2. 6 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
  3. 4 large eggs
  4. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 11 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted (2 ½ cups chopped)
  7. 18 raspberries (36 if they are small)
  8. confectioners' sugar, for serving
  9. vanilla ice cream (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line 12 standard muffin tin cups with paper liners.
  3. In large bowl with a mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low, beat in flour and salt. Beat in chocolate until just combined.
  4. Divide half the batter among cups, add two raspberries to each, and top with remaining batter. Bake until tops are just set and no longer shiny, 10 to 11 minutes, let cool in pan on a wire rack, 10 minutes. Remove from pans, dust with confectioners' sugar, and top with ice cream, if desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Jalapeño & Portobello Braised Beef Over Creamy Polenta

Jalapeño & Portobello Braised Beef Over Creamy Polenta
Serves 6
  1. 1 1/2 pounds boneless short ribs or stew meat
  2. 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  4. 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and sliced thin
  5. 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 T. red wine vinegar
  7. 1 T. quick-cooking tapioca
  8. 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  9. 2 large portobello mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  10. 1 medium onion, sliced
  11. 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. Trim fat from meat. Place beef pieces in a slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, Worcestershire, jalapeños, vinegar, tapioca and garlic. Pour mixture over meat in slow cooker. Top with mushrooms and onion.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve over cooked polenta and garnish with cilantro.
  1. For serving: 1 cup quick-cooking polenta, prepared as directed with 3 cups water and 1/2 cup shredded manchego cheese added when done.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Bahn Mi Sandwiches

Bahn Mi Sandwiches
Pickled Vegetables
  1. 4 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  2. 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
  3. 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 t. salt
Sriracha Mayo
  1. 1 cup mayonnaise
  2. 2 scallions, finely minced
  3. 1 T. Sriracha
  4. 1/4 t. salt
  1. 2 lb. ground pork
  2. 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  3. 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  4. 6 scallions, finely chopped
  5. 2 T. fish sauce
  6. 2 T. Sriracha
  7. 2 T. sugar
  8. 4 t. cornstarch
  9. 1 1/2 t. salt
  10. 1 t. black pepper
  11. 1 T. sesame oil
  12. 1 T. canola oil
  1. 2 baguettes
  2. jalapeño
  3. cilantro sprigs
  4. mint
Pickled Vegetables
  1. Place all ingredients into a bowl and let sit for 1/2 hour. Stir occasionally.
Sriracha Mayo
  1. Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, gently mix pork, basil, garlic, scallions, fish sauce, Sriracha, sugar, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Using a small scoop, scoop meat mixture into 1 1/2" meatballs. Place on baking sheet and gently flatten a bit.
  2. Heat oils in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add meatballs in batches. Sear until brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a sheet pan. Repeat until all meatballs are browned. Place in oven to finish cooking for 7-8 minutes, or until cooked through.
  1. Cut baguette into personal portions. Cut 2/3 of the way through, leaving one side attached. Spread Sriracha Mayo on bread, top with meatballs and pickled vegetables, then the basil, mint and jalapeño, if desired.
Marcel's Culinary Experience

Rainbow Roasted Carrots

Rainbow Roasted Carrots
Serves 4
  1. 8 large rainbow carrots
  2. 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  3. sea salt
  4. freshly cracked pepper
  5. 1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
  6. 1/4 cup almonds, raw or toasted
  7. 1 T. chopped parsley, or fresh dill
  8. 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  9. 3 T. Balsamic Glaze (Cucina Viva, my favorite)
  1. Peel each carrot.
  2. In a large bowl, coat the carrots with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Place the carrots on a sheet pan. Roast at 400 degrees until well-charred and cooked through. The carrots will be al dente. (About 30 minutes)
  3. Place the charred carrots in a serving dish. Add lemon juice and parsley/dill. Garnish with the goat cheese and almonds. Drizzle with Balsamic glaze. Enjoy!
Marcel's Culinary Experience

What YOU Need to Know about the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans by Lynn Dugan

DietaryGuidelinesJust recently, the Obama administration released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are revised every 5 years with the purpose to help us make healthy food and beverage choices and to serve as the foundation for vital nutrition policies and programs throughout the US. If you are interested in learning more, here is the Executive Summary.

After sifting through the report, I have prepared some noteworthy points to highlight. Let’s start with how healthy eating is defined by the Guidelines:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the color groups–dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and others.
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese and or fortified soy beverages), fat free or low fat
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds and soy products
  • Oils

This healthy eating plan is nothing new but keep in mind, many people with a goal of ‘healthy eating’ may have cut dairy foods from their diets. But dairy foods are recommended to help meet the calcium, vitamin D and potassium needs for everyone— these are the nutrients we are not getting enough of. The Guidelines recommend 3 servings of dairy daily for everyone 9 years and older. One serving equals 1 cup milk or yogurt and 1-1/2 ounce of cheese.

Next, let’s look at what to limit in our eating. You may have already heard the big news: cut down on sugar and sodium and keep saturated fat intake ‘in check.’  Saturated fat is found mostly in animal protein foods. By purchasing and preparing lean cuts of meat and varying your protein choices to include legumes and fish, this recommendation is manageable.

The sugar recommendation includes any sugar added to foods but does not include the natural sugar found in foods like fruit and dairy. The recommendation is to cap added sugar to about 12-1/2 teaspoons (50 grams) daily (that is, 10% of calories for a 2,000 calorie diet). This can add up quickly if you enjoy sweet desserts and sugared beverages. But know that hidden sugar counts, too.  Common sources include jarred pasta sauces, energy drinks, canned fruit, and breakfast cereals. Food labels are a valuable resource to determine the sugar content of packaged foods.

For sodium, the cap is 2,400 mg daily. This amount of sodium is found in a teaspoon of salt. To meet these guidelines, it does help to avoid the salt shaker at the table, but unfortunately a major part of the sodium in American diets (80%) comes from processed and packaged foods. These foods include: frozen meals, canned or pickled foods, snack foods, condiments, and soda. Cutting sodium from your diet may make foods suddenly taste bland. But over time, your taste for sodium will adapt and you will be able to use less for the same flavor. It will also be important to rely on herbs and other seasonings to bring more flavor to your palette. Your Marcel’s chefs can help you with that!

bananaReading labels for both sodium and sugar content is the only way to know what you’re eating. However, eating foods without labels is the best kind of eating!  The less processed, the better. Making small changes that stick over time is the best strategy for tackling these latest recommendations. As stated in the Guidelines, “A lifetime of healthy eating helps to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes… it is one of the most powerful tools we have.” In the spirit of healthy eating, I am sharing a simple fruit dessert recipe, Banana “Ice Cream.” Enjoy!

Banana "Ice Cream"
Serves 2
  1. 2 small (or one large) ripe banana, peeled and sliced
  2. chopped nuts, if desired
  1. Freeze sliced bananas for at least 2 hours in an airtight container.
  2. Blend frozen bananas in a small food processor. Scrape down food processor as banana goes from crumbled to gooey and again to smooth consistency.
  3. Transfer to airtight container and freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Or eat immediately if a soft consistency is desired. When serving, garnish with chopped nuts.
Marcel's Culinary Experience