Pan seared Swordfish, with a delicious sweet summer salad

Ahhh Summer. Summer reminds me of new beginnings. Because, it seems like when the warm weather sets in, people want to renew themselves (at least I do). I begin to care now about what I want to put in my body, and what t do with my body. I want to walk a little more, and eat fresh!

Well, I was walking by the farmers market (honestly, can’t get any fresher than that). So, I was eyeballing the fresh fish. Unfortunately, it was almost the end of the day, and the guy was like: “we only have cod fish and swordfish”. I giggled, and told him “I Never made any of those.” However, I’m willing to give the swordfish a try.

After I asked his advice on how to make the swordfish fish because, I’m thinking 17th century England where, am I gonna have to challenge this swordfish to a duel 🤺 to cook it! But, he said swordfish is one of the easiest fish to cook. He advise sautéing it with butter, olive oil, and garlic. So, I’m like “I can do that!” And, his advice to took, glad I did, because it was easy and flavorful. The swordfish fish just absorbed the flavors I seasoned it with.

Ingredients for Swordfish

Swordfish 16 ounce

Lemon

Red pepper flakes

Sazon compete seasoning

Fresh Garlic or garlic powder

2 ounces of Butter

2 ounces of olive oil

Salt and pepper as desired

How to make

Season fish with lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

Pour olive oil and butter in pan, and let pan get hot. (Not crazy smoking). Cook fish about 4 minutes on each side. Maybe a little longer, or a little less, depending on weight of the swordfish.

Season fish

Ingredients for Summer Salad

1/2 Red onion

1/2 a bunch of Cilantro

1 Cucumber

3 Radishes

Half a can of pineapples

Vinaigrette

1/4 apple cider vinegar

1/4 olive oil

Salt/pepper

How to make

Some of the vegetables will be small to medium diced. Cut onion in half, then peel the skin back, so you’ll have several layer. Slice the onion in thin strips.

Cucumbers cut in half, scoop out seeds, and cut out as much flesh, but leave a little so the cucumber can then be sliced and cut in cubes.

Cilantro should be leafy, just cut the stems.

Radishes should be cut thin.

Mixed vegetables in a bowl.

For vinaigrette, whisk all ingredients in a measuring cup apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Mix with salad

Preparing veggies
Preparing vinaigrette for salad

I needed to add something to this salad to pump up the taste. I wanted something more than just a garden salad. I wanted it to represent summer. So, I added some sweet pineapples. And, yes I used canned pineapples because, I needed the sweet juice that a fresh pineapple wouldn’t give me for this recipe.

I added a little butter to the pan drippings, however, white wine can be used as well. Turn heat on low, and once it’s saucy spoon a little over the fish, for extra flavor.

This is a guilt free delicious dish! I certainly enjoyed it. If you make it, please let me know how it turned out. Just leave a comment.

Till next time!

Follow me on IG franb1965, and check out more recipes and my travels.

Healthy and delicious hamburgers for summer

Now I know most people would love a nice juicy beefy hamburger at a barbecue. Or, at any summer gathering, people would just expect anything grilled with all the “fixins.” Well, I thought of a healthy version of a delicious hamburger, and you won’t be missing any flavor with this version.

Turkey! I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “how can I sink my teeth into a turkey burger.” Well, adding certain flavors to the ground turkey will make such a difference. This burger will make your mouth water.

Ingredients

1 lb Ground turkey

Onions or scallions

Dried thyme

Dried rosemary

2 eggs

Light ranch dressing or light Mayo

Part skim mozzarella cheese

Flat leaf raw spinach

Thomas English muffins

Salt/pepper to taste

Pickles

Canola oil

How to make

Put the ground turkey in a bowl, add your seasonings: chop onions or scallions, (medium cut) thyme, rosemary,’salt and pepper. Add the eggs and combine/mix throughly.

This recipe yields about 4 hamburgers, so evenly separate you ground turkey into thick hamburger patties.

Heat up your grill pan with canola oil.

Brown both sides about two to three minutes, place cheese on top of hamburgers, then put in oven for 6 to 8 minutes to finish cooking through.

Toast the English muffins in a toaster.

Prepare your hamburgers like so: English muffin, turkey burger, raw spinach, pickles, ranch dressing.

You can substitute or add tomatoes or an egg to this recipe, but keep it healthy.

Delicious turkey burgers

Apple Pie on the Fourth of July

Happy 4th of July America. And, what better way to celebrate this momentous time in American history, is with a good old fashion apple pie. Wasn’t it “honest Abe” (Abraham Lincoln) who said He “can never tell a lie,” about chopping down the apple tree. So, historically apple pie is a fitting food for this country’s celebration.

I have to admit, culinary school really gave me a great foundation for creating, and executing recipes that I’ve never tried before. This is my first time making an apple pie. Not to brag, it came out perfect and delicious.

Franny’s homemade apple pie

Although, there’s several components to making an apple pie. I never once found it tedious, because I love to cook. And, I’m particular (people call it OCD) that it looks perfect, and it taste delicious!

Ingredients

Dough:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

14 tablespoons cold butter, diced

1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water

Filling:

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 pounds baking apples like Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu

2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Generous pinch of ground nutmeg

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Directions

  1. Make the dough by hand. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.
  2. Make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean size bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.
  3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
  4. Make the filling. Put the lemon juice in a medium bowl. Peel, halve, and core the apples. Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.
  5. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.
  6. Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible. Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
  7. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely. (This filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated or frozen for up to 6 months.)
  8. Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a disc about 11 to 12 inches wide. Layer the dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
  9. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  10. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough, and trim it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan. Put the apple filling in the pan and mound it slightly in the center. Brush the top edges of the dough with the egg. Place the second disc of dough over the top. Fold the top layer of dough under the edge of the bottom layer and press the edges together to form a seal. Flute the edge as desired. Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  11. Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving.

LIFE: Live it, Love it, Embrace it!

It’s been awhile since my last blog. Unfortunately, I had a close death in my family. I’m actually still going through the “Emotions” of my niece’s death. She was a beautiful young woman who didn’t realize she had the world at her feet. Although I was 9 years older than her. She was my partner in crime, my ride or die, my protector, my advisor, but most importantly, she was my friend.

Basically, what I’d like to express in this article is, life is meant to be lived. I’ve recently had the honor, blessing, luck what ever you want to call it, of retiring early. At first it was actually a little difficult to fill up my days, and wondering if it was the right decision. Hummmm, we’ll, working 40 years, and doing double tasks during a few of those years, with decisions of going back to school several times. Yes! My body has taken a beating, I’m punching the time clock for the last time.

Having all this time on my hands, actually made me feel uninspired. I mean really, there’s so much Netflix you can watch! That’s just me. I’ve been wanting to plan a trip for myself, and do something adventurous, something I’ve never done before. Then, my niece’s death. I’m so dealing with the pain of my loss of her. But, I know she wouldn’t want me to be down, especially on her account. I’d know she’d feel that way.

As time passes for me, and I’m probably overthinking things, but I think life is just a bunch of decisions we make. We can decide to be uninspired, and waste away. Or, we can choose inspiration, and live to embrace an experience in life that will challenge you. Because, quite frankly it really makes me feel better to know or learn more of the person I am. I’ve always felt that when I would “go for it,” “go for the challenge!” (start my own business, which I’ve done, travel far away countries, which I have done, or go back to school, which I have done). Not being scared to do something that will build confidence. Well, it taught me to make better decisions for myself, because, life is just too short not to push yourself to a next level. I realize that I’m stronger than I think I am.

Although we go though life with struggles, I’m understanding that if I wait for a struggle to pass, time may not be on my side. And, then I would of missed out on a one in a lifetime experience, waiting for struggles to pass, emotions to pass, or even depression to pass.

I promised myself I was going to take better care of me when I retire. So I’ve started to introduce a little exercise in my life. Gonna write that cookbook I was supposed to start 6 months ago. And, I’ve “decided” to also do a healthy cookbook as well. I’d also like to book a trip to Thailand, what an adventure that would be.

Make life now!

My niece Veronica and I. Thanksgiving 2013. In loving memory.

Six Ingredient Dish Series!#1 Pasta Salad

I’m starting a six ingredient series of light, (and, maybe heavy depending on my mood) dishes. Because, I’m wanting to eat more healthy this first dish is packed with vegetables! But, I’m definitely interested in flavor, and this dish has all that!

Seriously! This dish is simple and full of flavor! If you know how to boil water, you got this one in the bag. This dish is great for a small ladies group gathering or a luncheon.

What I love about this dish is you can substitute so many ingredients, however six is the limit, because you don’t want to lose the integrity of the flavor profile.

Ingredients

Penne

Olives

Cucumbers

Shrimps (pre made)

Roster red peppers (pre made in a jar)

Dill

Condiments

Salt/pepper/olive oil

How to make

Cut up vegetables medium dice

Slice olives in half

Cook pasta to package instructions

Just cut up leafy part of dill

Literally! Toss everything together. Add olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Like I said before, this dish can be substituted with all kinds of veggies and homemade dressings.

Eat and enjoy!

Eating more healthy for Spring

Salmon with a green salad

Grilled salmon with green salad

Yes! It’s that time of year to start eating healthy. Have you noticed the weather is becoming bright, and sunny. To me that represents newness. We’ve couched potato our way through winter, now the challenge has begun to start eating clean!

Ingredients

Salmon

Mixed greens

Scallions

Avocado

Chives

Cucumbers

Alfalfa sprouts

And, your imagination!

Lucky New Year Foods

Happy New Year! The above dish was made by my nephew Michael. And, this goes to show that tradition never fades. This dish was certainly a dish my mom made every New Years Eve. It signifies lots of luck for the new year. However, most families that I know, always have black eye peas and collards for luck in the new year. It just really made me proud that my nephew continues the tradition with his family. And, I know my mom, his grandma would be proud!

He’s brought tradition to a whole new level. The plating is beautiful, and I know it taste awesome!

All the best to everyone in this New Year 2022!

Country fried smothered pork chops!

Smothered pork chop

Happy New Year everyone. I know it’s been a while since my last post. However, it’s never too late to share some good recipes. Well, it looks like the pandemic has picked up again. Don’t mean to be sarcastic, life is still so different as we knew it. Yet, we are still dealing with the unknown of how our world is turning.

When I hear that the country is “lightly” locking down. I think of “ok, quarantine time again.” At least I’m not having an anxiety attack when I continue to hear the word “pandemic” or, “numbers are up.” I actually think of being home and cooking some good food! Hey! We have to still make the best of what’s going on in the world. Cooking is my staying calm and collected in a situation I have no control over.

Although, I would rather be traveling, and experiencing tasting dishes from other Countries. I will do my best to bring you recipes that have a meaning to my culture and other cultures. Especially, cultures that are right here in my own country.

Although this dish “country fried southern pork chops” would probably be considered a “southern dish”, and that it is! However, the “sauce is French. My take on that situation is that after the Louisiana trade, Louisiana, especially New Orleans still kept their French ways of cooking. The sauce is called etouffee. Basically, a roux (rue). This sauce is one of the first things you’ll make in culinary school. I always knew I’d make it again. It’s so hearty and delicious!

Although my “country fried smothered pork chops” is an American dish. It was derived from France. I like that! The idea of cultures, especially food recipes that can stay alive and reach delicious possibilities of so many families. It’s such an infinite process of our world.

Ingredients

4 bone-in half inch pork chops

Flour for dredging

Seasonings – adobo, garlic powder, sazon, salt & pepper.

1/2 cup Oil for frying

Roux ingredients

2/3 cup flour

3 tablespoons butter

5 or 6 cups water or chicken stock

I whole white onion

Salt and pepper to taste

Pork chops drippings

How to make

Season the pork chops with all the dry ingredients. add oil to frying pan, let get hot, dredge pork chops in flour and fry 5 minutes on each side. Place in I’ve for 10 to 15 minutes.

Set pork chops aside and use pork drippings to make your roux.

Add the flour to drippings and whisk add butter and onions (cook onions through). Cook down for few minutes then add the water or stock, and cook for few more minutes. Note: more stock may have to be added as the roux should have a thick, yet loose consistency.

Add salt,!pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Country fried smothered pork chops

Add pork chops to roux or plate it by pouring over chops in a platter. Enjoy!

Bean thread/Pad Thai

Bean thread Pad Thai

This dish takes me back almost 30 years. I remember when I was working as a secretary in downtown Brooklyn. Every pay day, a coworker and I use to splurge for lunch, and we’d go to this Taiwan restaurant. I’d order this noodle dish, every week. However, it took me a while to work my way to trying a different culture of food. I was use to Chinese food that was usually the whole in the wall restaurant, where my idea of an Asian dish was chicken wings and pork fried rice. But, it’s not the Resturant’s fault that they have to adapt to what the neighborhood whats the most. However, my horizons were limited.

I forgot the name of the Taiwanian restaurant. But, I believe it plays an important role in my culinary enthusiasms. Because, each week I went there, it pushed me to order something that I felt would be more flavorful than the dish I had last week.

Enter pad Thai and bean thread noodles. Oh yes! And, the freshness of vegetables like scallion and cucumber. Never knew that vegetables can actually add exotic flavors to a dish.

I made this dish to purposely bring my taste buds back to something for me that really just taste good!

Ingredients

Bean thread noodles (2 bundles)

Shrimp 2 cups

Cucumbers 1 cup

Scallions 1 cup

Cabbage (salad bag for convenience) 1 cup

Carrots 1/2 cup

Cilantro 1 cup

Fish sauce 4 tablespoons

Sesame oil 4 tablespoons

Soy sauce

Salt and pepper

How to make

This dish is actually very easy to make. Frying chicken is more complicated.

Prepare the noodle as the instructions on the packet. Use 2 average bundles.

Cut up your vegetables, medium dice, also for convenience, get the salad pre made, so much easier then cutting up a whole cabbage. Also, for convenience, get precooked shrimp.

If you have a wok, perfect! If you don’t no problem. Regular pan will do fine. Add your 4 table spoons fish sauce, and, 4 tablespoons sesame oil. Let heat up a little, then throw your shrimps, veggies, then noodles. Splash soy sauce as needed, make sure noodles are covered completely with soy sauce.

Use tongs or flat flipping pancake turner. Add little salt and pepper. Make sure all ingredients are incorporated.

This dish is also healthy. Anything with this much veggies is no question. Enjoy!

Easy as Pie! Holiday edition!

It’s a pandemic holiday! And, I still was able to add a holiday desert to my list. I’m purposely trying to make light of things. It’s a different world we’re living in today, and I’m trying to make the best of it (without going into a panic attack).

Cheesecake! Yes, I made a strawberry cheesecake! This was not my first time at the rodeo, making cheesecake, however, I bought a 9 inch springform pan, because with my OCD I felt it needed to be perfect!

Auntie Fran’s Strawberry Cheesecake!

Auntie Fran’s Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

Three packs of Philadelphia cream cheese

1 1/2 cup of sour cream

2 cups of sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla extract

3 eggs

Crust Ingredients

1 box of gram crackers

1/2 cup of melted butter

Strawberry compote ingredients

Fresh box of strawberries (leave out about ten to place over the pie)

1/4 cup corn starch

1 cup of sugar

2 cups water

How to make

I love my kitchen aid! Mix cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract in bowl. You can use a hand mixer or kitchen aid. Add the eggs last, after mixture is completely combined and smooth.

For crust, I used my nutra blend to break down the crackers. Added the melted butter, and fluffed it out.

First, evenly pat down the gram cracker crust to your 9 inch springform pan (I put aluminum foil in the pan, for easy transfer to a plate, after bake.

Second, add your beautiful mixture of cream cheese to the pan. Bake for an hour and 10 minutes. Let cool down a bit before putting in fridge.

Cut up your fruit/strawberries in any decoration, shape or size you like and get creative.

To make the strawberry compote, add water, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch in a pot. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes, let cool, then blend.

Check out my holiday pies below. They’ll bring a smile to anyone’s face!

Let me introduce you to my Mom’s southern sweet potato pie, and this delectable fruit tart pie I learned how to make in Culinary school, however, since the holidays that just past, (because I’ve made so many of them), I’ve perfected my fruit tart pies to my own liking. Culinary school just gave me the tools, it’s up to me create on that foundation.

Just let me give you a bit of my Mom’s family history, my Mom grew up in a small town in North Carolina, (Greensboro). My Mom learned everything from her Mom, and I from her. I feel blessed, My Mom and Grandma although inadvertently not knowing, was bringing down tradition. I say that, because in the 1920’s and 30’ there was no time to bombarded with happily passing down traditions, survival was more of a fitting attitude back I those days. Unfortunately, going to work as a cook and housekeeper at a young age for my Ma was a reality. Fast forward to when I was a kid in the kitchen with my Ma, was always fun time for me. Whatever my Ma did during the struggle, or the depression era, her teaching me her crafts in the kitchen overcame what sad feelings, (if she had any) long gone. When my Ma and me cooked, baked, braised, and seasoned, was the best times in my life. My Ma was an eager beaver to show me how to cook. I cherish the memories and the recipes.

Momma Louise Sweet Potato Pie:

Ingredients

5 pounds of sweet potatoes

2 1/2 cups of sugar

3 eggs

1 cup of evaporated milk

2 table spoons vanilla extract

2 table spoons nutmeg

2 table spoons cinnamon

1 stick (half a cup) of butter with or without the salt

This recipe yields 2 pies

How to make:

Boil sweet potatoes until they are soft enough to put a fork through them

When sweet potatoes are done, let them cool. They should be easy to peel at this time

Use a hand mixer, and mix until you have a medium soft consistency, (get out all the lumps, and you may have to add a little more milk to get that medium soft consistency). Add all your ingredients, maintaining your soft consistency (note) you may have to add more sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Fill your pie crust, (I use already made prepared pie crust). Some may consider this cheating, I don’t, because it’s made from real dough, sugar, eggs etc. smooth the top with a spoon or flat frosting spatula. Oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes.

Auntie Fran’s delectable sweet tart

Ingredients for the Pastry cream

2 1/2 cups of whole milk

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup of sugar

3 slices of butter

1 table spoon vanilla extract

1/4 cornstarch

1 teaspoon salt

This recipe yields two 9 inch pie or six 3 inch mini’s

How to make:

Bring milk to a boil.

While milk is boiling, whisk together all the eggs, sugar, and cornstarch in a separate bowl.

When the milk starts to boil, remove from heat, pour in half milk into your egg mixture, whisk together, then combine with the rest of the milk that’s in the pot, and add vanilla extract and butter slices.

The mixture should thicken up quickly. Let cool and transfer your pastry cream into a bowl.

To prevent your pastry from forming a film at the sides of the bowl, layer plastic wrap literally on top of the pastry cream, and immediately put in fridge to firm up. Pastry cream can be used in about an hour.

Ingredients for Crust

2 1/2 cups AP flour

2 egg yolk & 1 whole egg

1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter (soft)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Note: if you have a Kitchen aid, this can make all the difference. However, you’ll have to put in the work to mix it all by hand. However, it can be done.

Mix butter and sugar in kitchen aid mixer. If mixing by hand, add flour to bowl first, than add butter and sugar.

Once butter and sugar are combined throughly, add vanilla.

Combine flour and salt and mix with a fork throughly.

Combine all ingredients (may have to add a little more flour) to get a cookie Dough consistency.

On a flat surface, sprinkle some flour and knead your dough, not too much. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap, and put in fridge. Can be used in an hour. Dough will keep in fridge for couple days.

Roll out on a flat surface with a little flour, and start layering and fitting dough in your tart pans. (I prefer to use the removal bottom tart pans).

Oven at 350 degrees. Bake your dough for 20 minutes.

Let cool and add your pastry cream. The fruit you use is totally up to you. I like using as many bright colors as I can. However, you can never go wrong with strawberries.

I make mini’s too!