"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

"What's for Dinner?!" I'm always thinking about it, thought I'd share.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mexican Avocado Salads

A good friend of ours, Leslie brought this to one of our parties and it was love at first taste.  Think deconstructed Guacamole.  Super easy and a summer go to (has gone to a year rounder for us). Obviously, the key here is ripe avocados and tomatoes.  Fry up fresh tortilla chips for a next level treat.  You're going to be the hit of the party with this one! Enjoy. 

6 Avocados, diced
1 Sweet onion, diced
1 pint Grape tomatoes, diced 
1 c. Pickled Jalapeños with juice
Juice of one lime  
1 Tbsp. Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp. Cilantro (optional)
Salt & fresh cracked black pepper, to taste

Garnish- fresh jalapeño slices(optional)
Freshly fried corn tortilla chips

In a large bowl combine all ingredients.  Correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Top with a few fresh jalapeño slices, if using and serve! (Told you it was easy)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Ensenada Style Fish Tacos

Rick Bayless is perhaps the foremost authority on Mexican cuisine stateside.  His Frontera Grill is award winning and recipes are fantastic.  I was having a hankering for great fish tacos after reading an article about the Baja peninsula and made these incredibly satisfying tacos.  They are easy, bursting with flavor and sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Makes 6 tacos

 2 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt to taste
½ tsp. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. fresh black pepper
1 tsp. yellow mustard (like French's)
1 tsp. concentrated chicken base or chicken-flavor powdered bouillon
1 C. beer, sparkling water or water
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. all-purpose flour
 Vegetable oil to a depth of 1 1/2 inches for frying
1# boneless, skinless fish filets (practically anything will work, but I like larger-flake, lighter-flavor fish best for this preparation—think halibut, sea bass, grouper and the like)
1/3 C. mayonnaise
1/3 C. sour cream
¼ C. milk

12 warm corn tortillas
1 C. (or more) thinly sliced cabbage (I like Napa cabbage best)
About 1 C. salsa (toasted arbol chile salsa, roasted green chile salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa or even one of the Mexican hot sauces like Tamazula or Valentina)
2 or 3 limes, cut into wedges

Finely chop the garlic, sprinkle generously with salt, then mash back and forth with the side of your knife across your cutting board until crushed to a puree. Scrape into a medium bowl and add the oregano, black pepper, mustard, base or bouillon, beer or water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add the flour and baking powder to the wet ingredients and whisk just until combined.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 370 degrees. While the oil is heating, cut the fish into pieces about 3 inches long by ½” inch square. Use a pair of tongs to pick up a piece of fish, dip it completely into the batter, and lay it into the oil. Continue with a few more pieces of fish, filling the hot oil with an uncrowded layer. Fry, turning the pieces regularly, until deep golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven on a wire rack set over a sheet pan while you fry the rest of the fish.

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream and milk. Set out with the cabbage, salsa, warm corn tortillas, limes and the crispy fish for everyone to make tacos.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Slow Roasted Tomato Bruschetta

Dehydrating the tomatoes is the key to huge flavor in this great appetizer.  Think sophisticated pizza and with only 7 ingredients it couldn’t be easier.  Make the day before since you need about 6 hours in an oven to do these right.  Just reheat or serve at room temperature.  Also goes great in a salad or on your favorite sandwich to “kick it up a notch!”

Makes 2 dozen

Good quality Olive oil

10 ripe Roma tomatoes, tips removed and cut in halve vertically

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced fine

1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 French baguette

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper

¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 225 F.

In a large mixing bowl combine tomatoes, garlic, and basil.  Coat tomatoes liberally with olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Arrange tomatoes, cut side down, on paper.  Spoon the remaining garlic mixture on top of each.  Place tray into the oven and roast tomatoes for 5 to 6 hours or until they have shrunk in size by about 75%.  Remove tray from oven and let tomatoes cool.  This step can be done up to 3 days before.  Just make sure to cover and refrigerate.

Preheat broiler and position top shelf at highest position (closest to burner).  Slice baguette into 24, ½” slices and brush with olive oil.  Arrange on a baking sheet and place one tomato (you may have to slice tomatoes if too large for bread. I like to gently press them into the bread with the back of a fork).  Top with cheese and place tray under hot broiler until cheese has turned golden brown and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.  Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Menu 4/1 - 4/7/2017

Soy Glazed Chicken
Oven Roasted Broccoli and Mushrooms
Barbecue Ribs
Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw
Chopped Salad with Green Olive Vinaigrette
Oven Roasted Salmon with a Lemon-Caper Butter Sauce
Asparagus with Chopped Egg
Pork Tenderloin with a Dijon Mustard and Herb Crust
Sautéed Apples with Thyme
Chopped Salad with Citrus-Honey dressing
Red Wine Braised Beef
Caramelized Butternut Squash, Carrots and Onions

Pork Chops Milanese
Spaghetti Squash and Asparagus
"Opening Day Party"

Pasta Bake with Pepperoni and Spinach
Mini Meatball Parmesan Sliders

Soy Glazed Chicken

I was watching a travel show and they were showing a Michelin chef in China prepare this incredible Cantonese dish and thought, "WOW, I got to make this!"  You know how sometimes you see something and say- I gotta have that!  Well, this was one of those times.  I served it with a simple steamed rice, so the sauce could shine.  By the way, the sauce is awesome on stewed eggplant (your shoe would taste great with this stuff)  You can add different spices- cinnamon, star anise, Chinese five spice, but here's the basics. 

1 Whole Chicken, cut into parts
1 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup smashed garlic
1/4 cup minced Ginger
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Sesame seeds

Combine soy, water, sugar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes in a large pot.  Place pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.  Using tongs carefully add chicken pieces and cook for 35 minutes, turning pieces every 5 minutes.  Once chicken is done remove from pot and reserve pieces on a plate.  Continue to reduce soy glaze until thick, maybe another 8-10 minutes.  Then, return chicken to the pot and toss with hot sauce.  Remove chicken and place on a warm serving dish, sprinkle with green onion, sesame seeds, and serve immediately.  Spoon additional sauce into a bowl and serve alone side of chicken.  Serve with white rice.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Weekly Menu 3/11 - 3/17

Dinner out with Friends (Beer and burgers on the East-side)

Roast Chicken Breast stuffed with a Wild Mushroom Duxelle
Crispy Brussels Sprouts
Carrots with Tunisian spice

Chicken Piccata
Chopped Salad with a Honey-Dijon Dressing
Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Sweet Potato and Braised Pork Hash
Roasted Broccoli and Onions

Oven Roasted Salmon with Porchetta Crust
Sautéed Zucchini with Italian Herbs
Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cranberries

Spanish Tapas Party

Steak and Wine Night

Spanish Tapas Party

Thought I'd entertain a few clients at my house and thought a Spanish Tapas theme would be perfect.  Great food, Spanish wine, a few beers- the perfect recipe.  Here's the menu and recipes.
Smoked Paprika Almonds (Almendras al Pimenton)
Mixed Spanish Olives
Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla)
Apple and Manchego Crostini
Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
Crispy Potatoes with Aioli and Spicy Tomato Sauce (Patatas Bravas)
Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Olives
Braised Beef in Red Wine
Fresh Fruit
Lemon-Sugar cookies

Tortilla Espanola (Spanish Tortilla)

1/2 C. olive oil
2 # Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced into rings
6 eggs
1 roasted red pepper, drained and cut into strips
3 oz. Serrano ham, chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

Heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add half of the potato slices, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes. When done, remove potatoes to a large bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Cook the remaining potatoes in the oil until tender, then add to the bowl, leaving oil in the skillet. Gently toss potatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion rings, and gently cook until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Spoon onions onto a plate, and allow to cool while the potatoes finish cooking.

Whisk eggs in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in cooled onions, roasted peppers, and serrano ham. Gently fold in cooked potatoes.

Heat the skillet with the reserved oil over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture, and gently cook until the sides have started to set and the bottom has turned golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Loosen the tortilla with a spatula if needed, then carefully slide onto a large plate. Turn the skillet upside down and place onto the uncooked side of the tortilla. Turn the skillet right-side-up, and remove the plate. Return the skillet to the stove, and continue cooking until the tortilla has set in the center, about 4 minutes.

Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate and allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into six wedges and sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Smoked Paprika Almonds (Almendras al Pimenton)

1 1/2 C. raw almonds
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
1/2 Tsp. smoked sweet Spanish paprika
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°  F.

Spread almonds onto ungreased baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

While nuts are toasting, combine salt and paprika in a small spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Grind into a fine powder.

Once almonds are out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with the salt and paprika powder and stir again.  Transfer to serving bowls and serve at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Apple and Manchego Crostini

Ciabatta bread
1 Tbsp. garlic oil
olive oil
1 pink lady apple, cut into wedges
Manchego cheese, cubed
salt and pepper
chives, chopped

Turn on broiler to highest setting. 

Split the ciabatta bread horizontally and brush generously with garlic oil.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Toast to a golden brown under the broiler.  Remove and reserve to the side. 

Either on a hot grill or in a hot skillet, carefully brush a small amount of olive oil on the surface.  On the grill mark both sides of the apple, about 1-2 minutes per side.  In a skillet, sear each side.  Remove and reserve. 

Assemble each "bite" by first cutting the ciabatta into 1 or 2 bite sized pieces, add a wedge of apple and then cheese.  Use a cocktail pick to secure everything to the bread.  Sprinkle with chive.  Serve and Enjoy!