Monthly Archives: April 2009

Sardine and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

I have been reading a lot lately about the health benefits of sardines and trying to work them (and similar fish such as mackerel) into my cooking repertoire.  This recipe utilizes sun-dried tomatoes; their sweetness stands up well to the oils (omega-3!) and saltiness of the fish.  If you do not have any vegetable or poultry stock available try orange juice for a fresh citrus twist.


  • 8 oz        dried Pasta (i use fusili or penne, but choose your favorite)
  • 2 TB        Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1               small red Onion, chopped
  • 2 TB        Garlic, minced fine
  • 3 TB        Pine Nuts (or Flax Seeds)
  • 1 can       Sardines in olive oil (3.75 oz), chopped large
  • 1/2 C      Vegetable Stock (Chicken Stock will also work)
  • 1              dried Chili pepper, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp  Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp  dried Oregano
  • 1/4 C      Sun-Dried Tomatoes (dried or olive oil-packed)
  • 1/3 C      Lucini Organic 3 Year • Parmigiano Reggiano


Boil a large pot of well salted water.

As the pasta is reaching boil, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for 3-4 minutes until translucent, then add the garlic and pine nuts; cook for two more minutes.

Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until almost tender (‘al dente’).

Stir in the stock, chili pepper and oregano.  Bring to a boil and reduce stock by a half.  Add the sardines and sun-dried tomatoes and when they heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is  ready.

When the pasta is ready, drain well and add it to the sardines.  Turn the heat off and mix well in the pan.  Let stand for 2 minutes to absorb the flavors of the sauce.  Add the parmesan and mix again.  Divide onto serving plates, and top with more grated Parmesan cheese, if so desired.


Black Bean, Mango and Lentil Salad

This recipe is very simple, healthy and flavorful, a spin on ubiquitous Three Bean Salad.  There is room to have a lot of fun with substitutions here:  any cooked lentils can be used – for example green, black beluga or red.  Papaya or melon will work instead of mango, scallions substitute for red onion, and garbanzo, adzuki or kidney beans can replace the black beans.  I have also thrown in cucumber, corn, parsley and bulgur.  It is a fun salad to bring to picnics or social meals – just refrigerate for 20 minutes and the salad will get back to room temperature on your travels.  Double the recipe and you will have a nice side dish for your lunch the following day!



  • 1/2  C     Mango, chopped
  • 1  C         canned Black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2  C     Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 C      cooked lentils
  • 1               Jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/4 C      Red Onion, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        fresh Cilantro, chopped fine
  • 2 TB        Lime Juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 TB        Orange Juice, fresh squeezed or purchased
  • 1/2  tsp  Salt
  • 2 TB        Lucini Garlic – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation:  Mix ingredients well in serving bowl.  Chill for 20 minutes and then bring to room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.

Hummus with Delicate Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil


As a chef I have been playing with Lucini for many years. I promise to share recipes using some of the other amazing products but right now I am hooked on the Lucini Delicate Lemon Virgin Olive Oil. It may not be me as much as my 13-year-old daughter. She is awesome with many gifts and talents and one happens to be cooking. She is just starting to be interested in her mom’s passion. She resisted for most of her life.” No offense mommy, but I don’t ever want to be a chef.” I made my standard hummus and she took over creating something so delicious. Emma poured some Delicate Lemon Extra Virgin Olive oil, chopped up some fresh parsley and grabbed a handful of pine nuts! We served it up with some homemade pita bread and it was the hit of the evening!

Emma Rose’s Hummus
2-cups (cooked or can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
8 tablespoons lemon juice
1-teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Tahiti (sesame seed butter)
2 tablespoons Lucini extra virgin olive oil
1/4-teaspoon cumin
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the top-
3 Tablespoons Lucini Delicate Lemon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Pita Bread
1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 cup lukewarm water (100 – 110 deg. F; hot to the touch)
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Dissolve yeast in 1/2-cup lukewarm water stir and let stand for 10 minutes until frothy. Whisk in the olive oil. Stir together the flour and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the liquid mixture until well combined. Place the bowl onto the mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on the lowest speed for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and let rest for 15 minutes. Mix for another 3 minutes on medium speed until elastic and smooth. Scrape into a well-oiled bowl. Turn the dough so all is covered with oil and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the dough and cover with a towel and place in a warm draft free place and let rise until double in size about one hour. When dough has nearly doubled in size, punch down, knead lightly, roll out a ‘rope’ and pinch off 12
handfuls to form into balls about the size of tangerines. Put pizza stone or baking sheet in oven on lowest rack; remove any other racks to ease access, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Put balls on a lightly floured surface a few inches apart, cover with a clean towel and let rest for 15 minutes. On your lightly floured working surface, squash a ball flat and round with your hand and then roll out, flipping and turning, a round disk of the desired thickness about1/4 inch thick and about 5″ across. Set aside, covered, for another 10 minutes. Middle Eastern bread ovens are very hot, with a very hot floor. The bread is put on long paddles (same as pizza) and deployed in the oven until it puffs and browns slightly on top. To achieve the effect use the bottom rack of the oven and a pre-heated pizza stone or baking sheet transferring as many disks as fit without overlapping. To the hot stone or sheet and baking for about 4 minutes – when the bread has ‘popped’ and browned ever so slightly on the edges or top. The time depends on how thick and moist your bread is and how hot the oven is. Transfer the pita to racks as they are baked. They will deflate as they cool, but will remain split on the inside. Continue until all disks are baked.


Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette – salad dressing, marinade, sauce & more

This simple recipe creates an adaptable vinaigrette that tastes great on salads, steamed vegetables, grains and even steak or chicken breast!



1/3 C      Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic

1 tsp       fresh Garlic, minced

1 tsp       Salt

1/4 tsp  Black pepper

1/2 tsp  Lemon Peel, grated fine

1/2 C     Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin


In a bowl, whisk together fig balsamic, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Add garlic and lemon peel and stir.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil (VERY slowly at first) while whisking constantly to emulsifiy.  If  you have time, refrigerate until serving; this seems to make the flavor more consistent throughout the vinaigrette.

Burgeoning Balsamic Cocktails

Perhaps the change in the weather, the hope of “green shoots” sprouting in the economy or an over abundance of sweet drinks I have become intrigued by “savory” cocktails. Some of the tastiest feature balsamic.  In my own experimentation I found that the quality of the vinegar really needed to be “top-shelf” to avoid a bad acid taste. With the ever changing menu it is hard to know what will be available when you visit but one of my favorite NYC experimental bar menus is a WD-50.

Since many of these featured cocktails in bars include fruit you might want to do your own tests with some fruit-infused balsamics.

Here is a simple recipe to get you started:

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin or Vodka
6 diced strawberries (need to be ripe with flavor)
1/4 oz of Lucini 10-Year Gran Balsamico
Drizzle of sugar syrup to taste
Twist of lime (or basil)

1. Muddle the chopped strawberries and dump into shaker
2. Add the other ingredients and ice, shake vigorously.
3. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh crushed ice.
4. Add garnish

Lamb Rack Roast – Easy Recipe

This simple rack of lamb recipe uses a thick marinade and a flavorful paste before roasting, which creates a more consistent crust than recipes I have used with only a paste.  Finishing the lamb with a drizzle of Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and/or Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic adds a gourmet touch and is guaranteed to wow even the most foodie of your friends.  To show off the beautiful lamb, set it on your table for the 10-15 minute resting period before carving.

Do not forget to show off the full rack of lamb before carving!!


  • 1            Lamb rack, Frenched and excess fat removed
  • 2 TB     Dijon mustard
  • 1 TB     Ketchup
  • 1 tsp    Chili powder
  • 10        Oregano leaves, chopped fine  (or 1 tsp dried Oregano, crushed)
  • 4 TB    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TB     fresh Garlic, minced
  • 1 TB     prepared Horseradish
  • 1 TB     fresh Basil, minced (Oregano, Thyme or Rosemary can be substituted here)
  • 1 tsp    Salt
  • 1/4 C  Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 C  White wine
  • 8           Parsley sprigs, including stems


Combine mustard, ketchup, chili powder and oregano in a bowl and mix well.   Coat lamb evenly with mixture and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 – 24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in the roasting pan and brown the rack of lamb on all sides.  Remove the lamb to a plate.  Deglaze the pan with the wine.

While browning the lamb, heat the other 2 TB oil in a small pan.  Add garlic, horseradish, basil and salt and saute until garlic turns light gold.  Remove pan from heat and mix in bread crumbs until a paste is achieved and the bread crumbs are fully integrated.

Coat the meat side of the lamb with the garlic/bread crumb mixture.  Set the parsley (and other fresh herbs such as bay leaves or thyme if you are so inclined) in the bottom of the roasting pan, place a backing rack on top and then return the lamb to the pan.  Roast the lamb in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 125-130 degrees (for medium rare).   Remove from the oven, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Slice the rack of lamb into ‘chops’ and serve 2 per person.  I top 1 chop with 1 tsp of Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the other chop with Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic and both chops with a bit of minced parsley leaves chopped fine.

Beef Brisket


I love serving this brisket dish for Rosh Hashanah and other holiday meals and it goes great with this salad and braised red cabbage or these green beans.  None of the steps are complicated and the low and slow roast allows time to socialize with your guests.  Do keep an eye on the brisket as overcooking eventually leads to dried out meat.

The recipe was inspired by one found in Art Smith’s Back to the Table, which I first followed for Thanksgiving 2001.  There are many great recipes in this book and I cannot recommend it (and his other books) more highly – I refer to some of the recipes so often it has started falling apart!  His love of food and recognition of the important place it holds in all of our lives is inspirational.

A splash of Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic or Lucini Cherry Infused Balsamic and a 1/2 cup of dried fruit added just before serving brings  a brightness that balances well with the robust umami of the beef and the red wine.


  • 3-4   lb     Beef Brisket
  • 1       Tb     Salt
  • 1       tsp    Pepper
  • 2       tsp    Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2  tsp    Brown Sugar
  • 1       tsp    Chili powder
  • 2       Tb    Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1                 large Onion, large dice
  • 1                 Carrot, thick slices
  • 1                 Celery stalk, thick slices
  • 5                Garlic cloves
  • 1/2  C       dry Red wine
  • 2       C       Stock (Beef is best, but chicken and mushroom work well; homemade HIGHLY recommended)
  • 3                 Bay leaves
  • 1/2  C       Shittake Mushrooms (large chop, stems removed)
  • 4       tsp   Arrowroot dissolved in water (about 1 Tb)
  • Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic or Lucini Cherry Infused Balsamic (optional)



Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Combine salt, pepper, paprika and chili powder.   Season the brisket evenly with this mixture and allow to sit for 30 minutes (I do 15 minutes refrigerated, then 15 minutes at room temperature out of the reach of meat-loving children or pets).

Heat a large, non-stick, oven-safe cooking vessel over medium-high heat.   Add olive oil and brown the brisket on both sides (about 3 minutes per side, but definitely browned, not gray).  Remove brisket to a plate.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and saute until the onions become translucent and the carrots begin to soften.

Add red wine and deglaze the pan – dissolving all the browned beef and veggie tastiness off the bottom of the pan and into the wine (about 5 minutes).  Add bay leaves and stock and bring to boil.  Place your browned brisket on top of the vegetables; cover and place in oven.

Bake for about 2 hours at 300F – remove when the meat is tender when prodded with a fork.   Allow the brisket and to rest for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside.

While the meat rests, add the mushrooms to the liquid in the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce for 5 minutes.  Turn temperature down to low and add arrowroot slurry.  Stir immediately and thoroughly until you achieve gravy consistency.

Carve the brisket across the grain.  I serve this with the gravy, vegetables from the pan, mashed potatoes and braised red cabbage.  For an added dimension of flavor, add a splash of  Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic or Lucini Cherry Infused Balsamic on top of the brisket just before serving.