Mediterranean Tomato Salad

Spring has arrived, finally! It’s time to start shifting our meals to use the fantastic fresh produce coming in.

Serves 8

6 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes (Cherokee purple, Italian ice, Evergreen, Brandywine, Valencia, Green Zebra, Sungold, and Mister Stripey)
2 pounds cucumbers
1 large red onion
1 ounce fresh basil
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 cups red wine vinaigrette

Dice tomatoes, slice cucumbers, julienne red onion, and chiffonade basil then place into a medium bowl. Add feta, vinaigrette, and toss. Serve in a chilled bowl.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 minced garlic cloves
½ tsp herbs de Provence
2 tbs chopped basil
1 tbs chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup granulated sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except for extra virgin olive oil in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Add extra virgin olive oil slowly to emulsify.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

During my trip to Belize this past February, I made a point of trying the native Belizean cuisine. I only strayed from that once and that was for an American-style burger. The rest of the time, I was enjoying dishes like this and coconut rice and stewed chicken and jerk snapper and on and on.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

This dish’s flavors take me back to Belize, it’s easy-to-make and is pretty simple. The texture of the lentils was great and was bolstered by the curry flavors supporting them.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon each: cumin seeds and coriander seeds
1 head garlic, chopped (10-12 cloves)
28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup dried brown lentils
1-2 teaspoons cayenne powder
2 cups water, see notes
15 ounce can coconut milk
A few handfuls of cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and toast until they start to brown, about 45 seconds. Add the garlic to the pot and let it brown, about 2 minutes.

Add the can of crushed tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and sea salt to the pot and cook, stirring the pot a few times, for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and, if using, the cayenne powder, and the water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. Stir the pot a few times to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. If the curry starts to look dry, add an extra ½ – 1 cup of water.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

Once the lentils are soft and the curry is thick, add the coconut milk and cherry tomatoes and bring the pot back to a simmer. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cilantro.


I served this over basmati rice, you could serve over brown rice, quinoa, or another cooked grain. Or plain.

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry

You can adjust or reduce the amount of water used in this recipe to thin it out for more gravy or thicker if you enjoy your curry with a little more substance. You can thin this to the point where it is more soup-like, I am certain it would be delicious that way as well.

Also, I didn’t have crushed tomatoes and I am truly working on using ingredients I have on hand. So, I used a can of fire roasted tomatoes and ran them through the blender. Don’t over blend as you want some texture to the tomatoes.

And lastly, though I am pretty certain I had cherry tomatoes in my refrigerator somewhere, I was unable and too tired, to hunt for them long so I skipped those.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Having spent time in Belize this past winter, I had the opportunity to try jerk chicken at a couple of restaurants on the island. This one came closest to those restaurant dishes.

Sunrise, Caye Caulker, Belize

Sunrise, Caye Caulker, Belize

Most readers know I am a big fan of allowing meat to marinade for a long time. Adjust the time as you see fit.

The jerk seasoning can be made a day in advance. The chicken needs to marinate for at least four hours and can sit as long as overnight.

3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup malt vinegar
10 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 Scotch bonnet chiles or habanero chiles with seeds, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground ginger
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 3 to 3 1/2-pound chickens, halved lengthwise, patted dry
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

Boil rum and 2 tablespoons water in small saucepan for 3 minutes.

Transfer rum mixture to blender; add vinegar, green onion, garlic, thyme, chiles, oil, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Blend until almost smooth. Transfer 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning to small bowl. Mix in ketchup and soy sauce to make sauce. Jerk seasoning and sauce can be made 1 day ahead; cover separately and refrigerate.

Arrange chicken in large roasting pan or baking dish. Pour lime juice over; turn to coat. Spoon jerk seasoning over chicken and rub in. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning occasionally. This can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove chicken from jerk seasoning marinade; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Roast until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with fork, about 50 minutes. Measure the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh to ensure a 185 degree temperature is achieved.

Cut each chicken half into pieces and serve with sauce over coconut rice.

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

Breakfast Chili

This is a different take on chili. Using some breakfast ingredients like bacon and maple sausage, it gives a different vibe to chili.

I encourage you to give it a try.

Breakfast Chili

Breakfast Chili

1 pound bacon
2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cans pinto beans, drained
1 cans black beans, drained
2 cans kidney beans, drained
4 cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can tomato paste
1 pound ground beef
1 pound maple sausage

4 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 beef bouillon cubes

Chop and cook the bacon until crisp. Finely chop all the veggies. Add them to the bacon. Sauté together until the grease is absorbed into the veggies.

While that’s happening, put all the canned goods into the Crock Pot along with all the spices. Use 4-5 cans of beans of your choosing in total. When the veggies and bacon are looking good, add them to the Crock Pot with your beans, tomatoes and, spices.

Now cook up your maple sausage and your ground beef. Get it all browned then add it to the Crock Pot. Stir it all together.

Cook on low for 8 hours. Stir it enough to make sure nothing sticks to the sides and burns. That’s usually about 1 time per hour.

If you want spicy, dice a few jalapeños or a couple habaneros and add them in with your veggies. Otherwise it’s a mild chili with a bacon & breakfast sausage vibe.

Big Boy Strawberry Pie

This brings back memories. Growing up, we got to eat at the Big Boy. If it was a special occasion, we would get to order a piece of the legendary Big Boy Strawberry Pie. And I do mean legendary. So good!

Big Boy Strawberry Pie

Big Boy Strawberry Pie

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon red food coloring
1/2 package strawberry gelatin
1 quart strawberries rinsed, stemmed, dried, and cut in half
1 baked 9 inch pie shell, cooled
1 pint whipped cream

Blend cornstarch and sugar together.

Combine that mixture in saucepan with the food coloring and water.

Cook over low/medium, stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. This should take 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add gelatin. Stir it in until it is fully dissolved.

Mix the strawberries in the gelatin before pouring them into the pie shell. Pour the strawberry/gelatin mixture into a pie shell.

Let the pie chill 2 or 3 hours in your refrigerator. Garnish with whipped cream.


Salt. We have more choices than ever it seems.

So what is the difference?

Are some salts really saltier than others?

The short answer is no.

The real answer is that bigger flakes have less salt per volume. The salt chart available in The Science of Good Cooking should help explain. The results were determined by weighing out each brand of salt per volume and scaling them so they all contain the same amount of salt by weight:

Brand Amount Equal to 1 Tsp Table Salt
Maldon Sea Salt 2 teaspoons
Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt 2 teaspoons
Espirit du Sel Fleur de Sel 1 1/3 teaspoons
Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
Morton Course Kosher Salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
Fleur de Sel de Camargue 1 1/4 teaspoons
Morton Salt (noniodized) 1 teaspoon
Morton Iodized Salt 1 teaspoon
La Baleine Sea Salt 1 teaspoon

So as you can see, Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is just less tightly packed than more regularly shaped salts. Just because you use twice as many teaspoons/tablespoons of Diamond as you would normal table salt, doesn’t mean you’ve actually added any more salt to the dish.

Kevin’s Chili

From Peacock’s Terms of Use

Kevin’s Chili (from The Office)

At Peacock, we don’t make promises we can’t keep. So, please see below for the chili recipe inspired by Kevin Malone’s legendary family dish, which he so memorably brought to Dunder Mifflin on The Office.

Dried ancho chile peppers

Dried ancho chile peppers

4 dried ancho chiles
2 tablespoons neutral oil (vegetable, canola or grapeseed)
3 lbs ground beef (80/20 or 85/15 lean)
2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 large jalapeño, finely chopped
1 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 12 oz. bottles of beer (lager or pale ale)
3 cans Pinto beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups beef stock
2 ½ cups chopped ripe tomatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Chopped scallions, shredded Jack cheese and sour cream for topping

Tear ancho chiles into pieces, discarding seeds and stems. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, toast chiles over medium-high, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer toasted ancho chiles to a food processor or spice mill and process until very finely ground. Set aside.

Add oil to pot and heat over medium-high. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally to break beef into small pieces, until well browned (about 6 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate and set aside.

Add onion to pot and cook briefly over medium-high until barely softened, about 2 minutes. The secret is to under cook the onions.

Using a garlic press, press garlic directly into the pot, 1 clove at a time. Then stir in jalapeños, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add beer and continue to cook, stirring and scraping the pan, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, put beans in a large bowl and mash briefly with a potato masher until broken up but not fully mashed.

Add mashed beans, stock, tomatoes, salt, and cooked beef to pot. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low to maintain simmer and cook 2 hours so everything gets to know each other in the pot. Remove from heat, uncover and let stand at least 1 hour (can also be refrigerated 8 hours or overnight).

Reheat gently, taste and add more salt if necessary, and serve with your favorite toppings. We recommend chopped scallions, shredded Jack cheese and sour cream.

Enjoy! While we wish you could dish us up a bowlful (without spilling it all over our reception area, naturally), feel free to share this recipe (tagging @peacocktv, of course). And now, back to your regularly scheduled legal document.

Savory Nordic Oatmeal

Savory Nordic Oatmeal

For the Oatmeal:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⅓ cups steel-cut oatmeal
2½ cups vegetable stock
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Sausage:
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
8 ounces soppressata, thinly sliced
Kosher salt, to taste

For the Beans:
Kosher salt, to taste
4 ounces mixed beans
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest

For the Eggs and Garnish:
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt, to taste
4 eggs
Freshly grated horseradish, for garnish


Make the oatmeal: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the oatmeal and completely coat in the butter, toasting for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and keep warm on the stove.

Make the sausage: In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soppressata and cook, 3 to 4 minutes more. Season with salt and keep warm.

Make the beans: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and blanch until tender but still crisp, 1 minute. Drain the beans and transfer to a small bowl. Toss with the remaining bean ingredients and season with salt, then set aside.

Poach the eggs: Bring a pot of water to 180º and stir in the vinegar and salt. Crack each egg into a separate small bowl. Using a slotted spoon, swirl the water as you drop each egg into the pot. Cook, stirring as needed to prevent the eggs from sticking, until the whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the poached eggs to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Assemble the bowls: Divide the oatmeal between 4 bowls. Top each with the sausage, beans and a poached egg. Garnish with grated horseradish and serve.

Creole Seasoning

Creole Seasoning

3/4 box salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup red pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup paprika

Mix all ingredients together.

Store in an airtight container.

Use liberally wherever a zing of flavor is desired.

How to Make Clarified Butter

Clarified Butter


1 1/2 pounds unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Place the butter in a 2-quart saucepan and set over medium heat.

Once the butter has liquified, decrease the heat to lowest setting then adjust to maintain a low boil.

Cook for approximately 45 minutes or until the butter reaches 260 degrees Farenheit, is clear, and the foam on top is slightly browned.

Strain the clarified butter through 4 layers of cheesecloth set into a hand strainer into a heatproof vessel.

Cool completely before refrigerating in an airtight container for up to six months.

Can be frozen for up to a year.