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5 Perfect Recipes for the Holidays

It’s the greatest time of year, and it’s all because of the…presents? The weather? The holiday movie specials on television? No, it’s pretty much all about the food. Picture a toasty evening by the fire, everyone is huddled up listening to the soft snow brushing up against the window, the eggnog has made its way into your belly, and the sleepiness after a good meal is starting to kick in. Best feeling ever.

We have five fantastic recipes from our Chefs of the Month that we’d love to share with you so you can have a great holiday meal too!

1.Chef Yvonne Anderson-Thomas’ Smoked Chicken Legs Recipe

Smoky and savory, this chicken recipe is sure to delight family and friends alike!

smoked chicken

3. Chef Claude’s Sirloin & Mushroom Casserole Recipe

Why not take a risk and try a juicy sirloin for a holiday meal? Chef Claude’s recipe is so delicious that we just can’t stop thinking about it!

sirloin

3. Chef Megan’s Spicy Gorgonzola Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Try a little spin on a classic dish!

Spicy Mash

4. Chef Lauren’s Asian Pear Slaw

A salad is a great, yummy and healthy addition to any meal! Try adding this side salad to your main course!

Asian Pear Slaw Image

5. Chef Julie’s Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Fall and Winter has us pining for Pumpkin! Chef Julie’s delicious cupcakes will be the perfect sweet treat to any holiday meal!

YBC-pic Pumpkin Pie

Some of the recipes above are traditional and some have a little twist. The holidays are all about joy and love, why not spread a little? Chef style!

 

Chef Gina’s Pesto Recipe

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Roasted Pesto Potatoes, Pesto Noodles, Caprese Grilled Cheese with Arugula Pesto and Pesto Salad. What do all these delicious dishes have in common? Pesto.

Pesto is a delicious, yet simple sauce that can be bought at any supermarket or grocery store, but Chef Gina has a better idea. She has shared a great and simple-to-make pesto recipe that is guaranteed to enhance the flavor to any dish! Find her recipe below.

Ingredients

Fresh Basil(2 -3 cups, but I say you can never have enough basil)

Sometimes I’ll add arugula if I have leftover for some extra kick & nice color 

Pignoli nuts (about 2-2.5 tablespoons)

Fresh garlic (to taste)

Cucina Bambina Extra Virgin Olive oil

Parmesan cheese

Salt & pepper

Directions

1. Blend basil, pignoli nuts and garlic in a blender. Gradually add the olive oil and Parmesan cheese until desired consistency.

2. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

3. Enjoy!

 

Connect with our November Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @cucinabambinainc

Twitter: @CucinaBambina

Facebook: Cucina Bambina Inc

Chef Gina’s Bruschetta Recipe

Bruschetta is a tasty and easy-to-make dish that can be a great compliment to an Italian entree, a delicious appetizer, or even a platter to serve while entertaining! Our Chef of the month, Gina Sansonia has shared her yummy Bruschetta recipe. Find it below!

Bruschetta

Ingredients

Roma tomatoes – small dice (leave seeds & juice that’s the best part!)

Chopped Basil

Cucina Bambina Extra virgin olive oil

Red onion – small dice (optional)

Salt

Pepper

1 clove of garlic – minced (you can use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic)

1 baguette – thinly sliced on a bias

Directions

1. Lightly brush/drizzle olive oil on bread slices.

2. Season bread with salt and fresh pepper, then toast in the oven to a desired crisp.

3. Set aside and allow to cool.

4. In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients.(You can do this a day or so in advance for the flavors to marinate together. The longer it sits, the better it tastes).

5. When ready to serve, spoon tomato mixture over your toasted bread. (I use a slotted spoon to ensure the bread isn’t too wet).

6. Spoon a little of the juice on top & garnish with extra basil.

7. Assemble when ready to serve & enjoy!

 

Connect with our November Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @cucinabambinainc

Twitter: @CucinaBambina

Facebook: Cucina Bambina Inc

 

November 2018 Chef of the Month Gina Sansonia

Shop Her Look!

Image 2We’re delighted to introduce our November 2018 Chef of the Month, Gina Sansonia! Chef Gina is the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina, a mobile, gourmet Italian eatery that is located in Hollywood, FL. Gina is a driven and passionate chef, with a zest for life…and basil! We can’t wait to share her story and delicious recipes!  Read below to learn about Chef Gina Sansonia and her passion for food.

 

 

1. Where were you born? 

I was born and raised in New York.

2. Where do you work and where are you based? 

I’m the Executive Chef/Owner of Cucina Bambina Inc. We’re a mobile, Gourmet Italian Eatery based out of Hollywood, FL. We travel all over the state participating in various festivals in addition to catering private events.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

I have an obsession with spoons…. they’re just so handy!

4.What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

I have a keen sense of smell.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If you have passion, drive, a strong work ethic and a vision….you can make it happen-you just have to put in the work

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?

Work smarter …. not harder.

7. What does good food mean to you?

I firmly believe that good food comes from the heart, along with quality ingredients.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit? 

COMFORT and style.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with? 

I’m OBSESSED with basil.😍

10. Favorite City to dine out in? 

NYC, baby! Although I would like to check out the Chicago food scene. I hear amazing things.

11. Best Dish you have ever made? 

I make a mean rice ball if I do say so myself and many call me “The Meatball Queen”. Both of those are always crowd pleasers.

12. What do you like to eat most on your days off?

I typically don’t sit down and eat structured “meals”. I’m content with a good old bag of Doritos surprisingly enough!

13. Person you most like to cook for? 

Hands down my nieces and nephews. I love how excited and engaged they become.  It really is special.

14. What made you decide to become a chef? 

After losing my father to cancer, and being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it made me look at food differently and (not to sound cliché) made me realize that life is too short. I just went for it!

Connect with our November Chef of the Month: 

Instagram: @cucinabambinainc

Twitter: @CucinaBambina

Facebook: Cucina Bambina Inc

A Real Thanksgiving Treat From Chef Ace Champion

It’s 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The aroma of baked turkey still simmers through the living room. The mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and stuffing has already maneuvered itself into leftovers and now sits in the fridge inside a plastic container. The fall inspired tablecloth has been branded with gravy droppings and bread crumbs. Hungry gazes have glazed into satisfied smiles.

You can’t help but think: I couldn’t possibly have another bite. Except…

“What’s for dessert?” You utter the words that everyone is thinking.

Pecan pie? Pumpkin pie? Apple pie? 

Nope. Not this Thanksgiving. Thanks to Chef Ace Champion, we have a mouth-watering treat that is just waiting to be gobbled up at Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not your average pecan pie, it’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with White Chocolate Ganache Drizzle. What can we say? There’s always room for dessert.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie with a White Chocolate Drizzle

Make 1 pie for 8 slice servings

Pie Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar – packed

1 Cup Light Corn Syrup

3 tablespoons Southern Comfort – 3 ounces

2 tablespoons Real Butter

1 tablespoon Heavy Whipping Cream – optional

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon/a pinch of Salt – Kosher or any Table Salt

1 – 1 1/2 Cups Pecan Halves – Ruff Chopped

3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips – Semi-sweet baking chips/half way melted

1 Pre-Made Pie Shell – to fit a 9″ deep dish pie plate

Drizzle Ingredients:

1 teaspoon Southern Comfort – optional

8 ounces White Chocolate – melted

1 tablespoon Cream – for the right consistency

1 teaspoon Dark Brown Sugar

Instructions for the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie:

1. Roll pre-made pie shell to fit a 9-in. deep-dish pie plate.

2. Transfer pastry to pie plate; trim to 1/2 inch, beyond edge of plate and flute edges.

3. Par-bake the pie shells for 10 minutes on 325 degrees then remove from oven and cool.

4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrups, bourbon, butter and salt until blended.

5. Fold in 1 cup pecans and 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

6. Pour filling into crust; sprinkle with remaining pecans and chocolate chips.

7. Bake at 325° for about 1 hour & 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is puffed and set.

9. Cool completely on a wire rack.

10. Allow the pie to rest for at least 2 hours before cutting.

This is a great make a day ahead pie!

Instructions for the White Chocolate Ganache:

1. In a double broiler, add the cream and Southern Comfort and allow cooking for about 2 minutes on a steady medium high heat.

2. Add the chocolate chips in a few at a time to allow them to melt nicely with the cream and whiskey.

3. Cook until all chocolate is melted and you have a smooth consistency in your sauce.

4. Note if the sauce is too light, add more chips and if it’s too thick, line it out with a little cream or whiskey.

Presentation: Place a slice of pie on a small plate and top with pecans and drizzle.

Enjoy this delicious dessert!

Chef Morghan’s Banana Bread Recipe

Whether it’s for breakfast, brunch or dessert, Chef Morghan’s Banana Bread is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! Find her recipe below, and savor the flavor!

Banana Bread

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup AP flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 TBS Vanilla

2 eggs

3 very ripe bananas

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350°F and grease a loaf pan.

2. Mash and beat together eggs and bananas.

3. Add the vanilla, the butter and sugar, and combine.

4. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

5. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

6. Do not over-mix!

7. Pour batter into prepared pan.

8. Cook in the oven for 50 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

*Note: Let banana bread cool for about 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Tip: Add a sprinkle of brown sugar on top of the batter before putting in the oven for an extra sweet crunchy top.

You may also add any nuts or chocolate to this recipe if you’d like.

 

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Get Her Look!

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Facebook: Morghan Medlock

Website

 

Chef Morghan’s Shrimp Pasta Recipe

Shrimp. Pasta. What could be better? How about shrimp pasta? Chef Morghan has shared a mouth-watering shrimp pasta recipe that is a perfect dish for either lunch or dinner. Get her recipe below, and give your taste buds a treat!

Shrimp Pasta 2.jpg

Ingredients

1 pack linguine pasta

1LB shrimp (peeled & deveined)

2 TBS EVOO

2 cloves fresh garlic

1 tomato chopped

Parsley bunch

1/2 lemon

Salt/pepper to taste

1 TBS red chili flakes

Sprinkle of shredded Parmesan

 

Directions

1. Boil pasta according to instructions on package.

2. Rinse and dry and season shrimp with salt, pepper and red chili flakes.

3. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add 1-2TBS of a high heat oil (veggie, canola, grape seed).

4. Add 1TBS of minced garlic to the heated pan, then add shrimp and begin to sauté just until the shrimp become pink (careful not to overcook them).

5. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside. DO NOT RINSE PAN!

6. Leave all drippings from sautéing the shrimp in the pan and add 1 TBS of olive oil to pan.

7. Dice either a whole or 1/2 tomato depending on how much you like tomatoes.

8. Drain pasta and add to the pan. Begin to toss the pasta around in the drippings and EVOO. Then add the diced tomato and trim the heat to low.

9. Season Pasta with salt and pepper.

10. Add shrimp and toss everything around in the pan on low heat.

11. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and the juice of the 1/2 of lemon. Plate and serve.

 

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Get Her Look!

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Facebook: Morghan Medlock

Website

 

Gridiron Grill-Off 2018 Chef Spotlight: Chef Eric Kaszubinski

The Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival is almost here! We have loved getting to know some of the talented chefs who will be participating in this year’s event. We’d like to introduce you to Chef Eric Kaszubinski of Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa.

headshot.jpg

1. Who inspired you to become a Chef?

Food Network was not around till I was in high school.  However I would see chef’s including the late Julia Child and a program called Great Chefs on television which drove me to want to discover and learn more about food from around the world.  On a more personal level, my family has always been involved in the food business.  Some of my fondest memories are being in the kitchen with my family cooking up a traditional Polish meal.

2. What nationalities or trends inspire your cuisine? (ie Thai, French, casual American, tex-mex)

Growing up, my family hosted exchange students from Japan and China.  I feel that my curiosity of their cuisine has played a role in some of the items I put on my menus today.  I would not say that I represent one style of food, instead I cook what I want and what my guests want; great food inspired by what is around us.

3. What is one of your favorite ingredients and why?

This is a tough question to narrow down just one ingredient as my favorite.  I have many items that I like to use and I also feel that this continues to change as I evolve my cuisine.  I would say that one of my favorite ingredients would be a sea scallop.  There are many ways to prepare this, whether it is raw or cooked.

4. Why did you decide to participate in the Gridiron Grill-Off on November 10?

Pompano Beach Marriott  has been a longtime supporter of this event and as the Host Hotel… we wouldn’t miss it! It benefits a great Foundation, it’s here in our Pompano Beach community, it showcases the area’s culinary talents, and of course… it’s a blast!

5. What are you looking forward to the most at this years Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine and Music Festival?

Connecting with all the people in the community that I live and work in, seeing all the Dolphin “Greats”, participating in the corn-hole tournament, and the opportunity to win fan-favorite this year.

6. Any recommendations for those planning to attend the Gridiron Grill-Off for the first time?

Come early, pace yourself and make sure you vote…for me!

Connect with the Gridiron Grill-Off!

Get Your Tickets!

Instagram: @gridirongrilloff

Facebook: Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Music Festival

Twitter: @GridironGriller

Chef Morghan’s Vegan Waffle Recipe

Vegan Waffles 2.jpg

Whether you are vegan or not, Chef Morghan has shared a delicious waffle recipe perfect for any breakfast! A delicious waffle can be topped with anything you may like – try fresh berries or whipped cream if you desire. Get her recipe below for a breakfast treat not to be missed!

Ingredients

1 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 TBS baking powder

3 TBS of sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup nut milk

1 TBS vanilla

2 1/2 TBS vegetable or canola oil

Directions

1. Heat & spray waffle iron as instructed.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl combine nut milk, vanilla and oil.

4. Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix together. Make sure to not over mix.

5. Scoop about 1/3 -1/2 cup of batter onto waffle iron (depending on how big it is). Let waffle cook as instructed on waffle iron

6. Plate and serve.

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Facebook: Morghan Medlock

Website

 

October 2018 Chef of the Month Morghan Medlock

We are so excited to introduce our October 2018 Chef of the Month, Chef Morghan Medlock! Chef Morghan is one of a kind – she went from playing basketball to whipping up masterpieces in the kitchen. Chef Morghan has all aspects of the meal perfected from breakfast to dessert. Read below to find out more fun facts about our October Chef of the Month and her new found love of cooking.

1. Where were you born?

Pasadena, California

2. Where do you work and where are you based?

I am self employed personal chef and food blogger.

3. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces/dishes?

My favorite kitchen tool when creating mater piece dishes is my Chef’s knife that was gifted to me upon graduation of culinary school.

4. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?

My sharpest sense out of all my senses is taste.

5. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?

The advice I’d offer aspiring chefs is that if their heart and soul is not on the kitchen then please get out of it. Food is emotional and takes everything you have to produce a delicious dish.

6. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?

One tip every chef should know and perfect is the ability to adjust on the fly. Stuff happens in the kitchen at any given moment and as a chef your job is to be able to transform mistakes into masterpieces.

7. What does good food mean to you?

Good food to me means a dish that takes my soul on a ride as I fork around the plate. Or a dish that triggers a memory or inspires me to create.

8. What features are important to you when selecting your chef outfit?

The features important to me when selecting a chef outfit are color, fit and style all of which should tell someone who I am without me having to utter a word.

9. Favorite ingredient to work with?

Favorite ingredient to work with is an egg because you can literally put it in or on almost anything and call it brunch if you want. Not to mention it’s a hell of a binding agent. when baking.

10. Favorite City to dine out in?

Favorite City to dine out in is Houston, Texas.

11. Best Dish you have ever made?

The best dish I have ever made was a braised squid ink pasta.

12. What you like to eat most often on your days off?

I like to eat all things brunch on my days off.

13. Person you would most like to cook for?

The person I would most like to cook for is Gordon Ramsay.

14. What made you decide to become a chef?

I decided to become a chef because it is the only thing that makes me feel alive as I did when I played basketball (my first career). It’s the only other way for me to entertain a crowd, inspire people, and tell my story like I did with basketball. And lastly so my kid would never have to grow up in a drive thru at a fast food spot.

Connect with our October Chef of the Month:

Instagram: @chefmorghan

Facebook: Morghan Medlock

Website

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