"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.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Chimichurri Sauce

What ketchup is to Americans, Chimichurri is to Argentines; it goes on just about anything. When we visited my daughter in Buenos Aires in February 2019, I found some terrific versions.  And was most surprised at how many recipes used much more oregano than I was used to and not as spicy.  Argentines actually use very little heat in their cuisine, compared to other Latin cuisines.  Taking my experiences in this beautiful country back with me, I put together the below recipe, enjoy!

1/4 C. Fresh Oregano, stems discarded
1/4 C. Fresh Parsley, stems discarded
4 large cloves Garlic, peeled
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red pepper flake
4 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
1/4 C. Olive oil
2 Tbsp. Fresh squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

In a blender or food processor put all ingredients except oil, salt and pepper.  Process until herbs and garlic are finely chopped. Add oil, combine thoroughly and season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Serve at room temperature, Enjoy!

(Sauce can be made three days in advance of use, store covered in refrigerator.  Allow to come to room temperature prior to using.)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Chopped Salad with Avocado, Chicken, and Tortilla Croutons

4-5 corn tortillas (can use flour if you prefer)
3 Tbsp + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided 
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
3 Tbsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbsp honey 
2 Tbsp Fresh lime juice
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mixed salad greens (I used arugula, frisée, radicchio, red leaf and bib lettuces)
2 cups shredded. cooked chicken
One large ripe avocado, sliced
1/4 cup salted & roasted pepitas 
Lime wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Brush both sides of tortillas evenly with 2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle generously with smoked paprika and salt. Placed tortillas directly on the rack in preheated oven. Bake until browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool completely, about 10 minutes. Break tortillas into 1 1/2-inch pieces.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add greens, chicken, avocado, pepitas, and tortilla pieces. Toss to combine. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper. Arrange salad on a platter, top with fresh ground black pepper and serve with lime wedges.  Enjoy!

Roasted Salmon with Lemon and Spiced Chickpeas

One lemon, thinly slice, seeds removed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 # Salmon fillet, preferably skin on
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus morph
Freshly ground black pepper
(1) 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and patted dry
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp za’atar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
4 cups mixed greens (arugula, romaine, red leaf)
4 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

Place a rack in lower third of oven, preheat to 350°F.

Toss lemon slices in a large bowl with a drizzle of olive oil. Arrange slices in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Set salmon on lemons, season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Drizzle with olive oil then put into hot oven and roast 18 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness. I like my salmon just done with the middle barely opaque. Remove fish from oven, once salmon has cooled, flake into medium size pieces with a fork and reserve.

Meanwhile, bring chickpeas, garlic, za’atar, and remaining 1/2 cup olive oil to a slow simmer in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if needed, 10 minutes. Grind some fresh pepper over top and correct seasoning with kosher salt if needed (less if your za’atar is salty) Remove skillet from heat.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer chickpeas to a medium bowl, leaving oil behind. Whisk lemon juice and honey into oil; taste and correct the seasoning with salt and a few grinds of pepper if needed.

Tossed salad greens in a large bowl with a couple of teaspoons of dressing; divide greens among bowls along with radishes, chickpeas, and salmon (and lemons if desired). Drizzle with more dressing and grind fresh pepper over the top. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2018

It’s Winter, Let’s Grill! Skewer Fun!

The middle of winter is the best time to think about grilling outside. I grill year round, but it’s never too early to think about the warm weather, a chilled beverage, and some beautifully grilling meats over the hot coals. Skewers are the perfect vessel and you can be very creative. Here are a couple of really fun recipes.

 Sweet and Spicy Bacon with ScallionGinger Relish
 These beauties need to be attended to go the entire time they are on the grill to minimize the rocks. Be patient and you will be rewarded. If you try to rush them, they’ll burn to a crisp.

6 scallions, thinly slice
1 Serano chile, thinly slice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated peel ginger
1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
Kosher salt

Bacon and assembly-

Vegetable oil (for grill)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sriracha
1/2 pound thick cut bacon
Lime wedges (for serving)

(8) 8”-12” long metal skewers

Relish: toss scallions, chile, lime juice, oil, ginger, & brown sugar in a medium bowl. Season with salt, mix and reserve.

Prepare grill for medium high, indirect heat (for a charcoal grill, bank calls on one side of the grill. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off) oil grate. Combine honey, sambal oelek, vinegar, and sriracha in a small bowl. Set glaze aside.

Thread bacon onto 6 to 8 skewers, folding back and forth in accordion style. Grill over indirect heat, turning every minute or so or until browned and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Base with reserved glaze turning every 30 seconds or so, until lacquered and slightly sticky, about three minutes (move to and even cooler spot if needed to keep glaze from scorching). Serve bacon with relish and lime wedges, Enjoy!

Do ahead: glaze can be made one week ahead covered and chilled in the refrigerator.

Cumin-Chile Lamb with Garlic Yogurt

Garlic Yogurt:
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon  black pepper corns
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Vegetable oil ( for grill)
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Finally grated lemon zest, for serving

To make yogurt stir garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice into yogurt in a small bowl to combine. Season with salt and pepper. This can be made three days ahead. Cover and chill.

Coarsely grind  cumin seeds, peppercorns, caraway seeds, red pepper flakes, and sugar and spice mill or with the mortar and pesto until only a few whole spices remain.

Prepare a grill for medium high in direct heat (for a charcoal grill, bank calls on one side of the grill. For a gas grill, leave one or two burners off).
Oil grates. Thread lamb on to 6-8 skewers, leaving a small gap between each piece of meat. Season with salt, then sprinkle generously with spice blend, pressing it onto the meat with your hands to help it adhere if needed. Grill lamb over direct heat, turning every minute or so, until browned and beginning to char in spots, about 4 minutes. Move to cooler side of grilling continue to cook lamb until desired doneness, about 4 minutes longer for medium rare.

Top garlic yogurt with cracked black pepper and a little lemon zest. Serve along side the lamb. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Kale, Swiss chard, and shrimp stuffing

 One of my clients was kind enough to overnight a couple of beautiful Maine lobsters to us yesterday. It was completely unexpected, but we were very excited. I decided to make the stuffing and roast them off  in a very hot oven. It was delicious and a fantastic presentation. This stuffing would be delicious by itself if you bump up the amount of shrimp or add another fish like cod or any firm white fish. The recipe can be used with any fish or even chicken or beef for a play on surf and turf. Enjoy!

1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 rib celery, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 # raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped small
1 bunch Tuscan kale, washed, ribs removed and thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and thinly sliced (stems too)
1/4 C. White wine
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 live lobsters, split lengthwise

Preheat oven to 425°F

In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and butter over medium high heat. Add shallots and celery, sweat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add thinly slice kale and Swiss chard, season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until wilted. Add shrimp, mix thoroughly and Koch just until shrimp starts turning opaque. Add wine and deglaze pan. Add thyme, mix and cook another minute.  Remove from heat and transferred to large mixing bowl. Allow mixture to come to room temperature. Add breadcrumbs Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. With a large kitchen spoon mix to incorporate.

Place split lobsters on sheet tray, stuff body cavity and tail with stuffing. Squeeze fresh lemon over stuffing and place into hot oven for 20 to 25 minutes until stuffing  is golden brown and lobster is cooked. Remove and let sit for five minutes, serve and enjoy!

*  if I was preparing this as a meal by adding additional fish, I would grease a casserole dish, add  stuffing to dish, then in hot oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. I would  serve with rice or even a potato dish. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Broccoli Salad

1 C. Mayonnaise
1/4 C. White Sugar
1/4 C. Cider vinegar
8 C. small head broccoli (just break up the large head into bite-sized pieces)
1/2 C. dried cranberries
1/4 C. Green onions, sliced thin 
1/4 C. Pecans, roughly chopped 
1 # smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled 
1/2 C. shredded Cheddar and Colby cheese
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

In a large mixing bowl combine mayonnaise, sugar and cider.  Mix well with a whisk to blend.  Add all the other ingredients and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve and Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Spicy Pulled Pork and Chile Stew

Nothing is better on a cold winter night then a bowl of warm spicy chili. My inspiration for this came from wanting to make a white chicken chili, but the chicken was frozen and I didn’t feel like going through the hassle of defrosting and cooking it. We had some pulled pork in the fridge already prepared (thanks Sam's club) and thought adding butternut squash and potatoes would be a nice addition. The result was a smoky, tender pork and mild heat of the diced green chilies provided an excellent flavor combination and really lends itself to the comforting warmth of the dish without overpowering spice.  Enjoy!

* please note that I do not measure out my spices, salt and pepper when throwing together a new recipe. I eye them out and just add a little of this and a little of that. It comes with years of experience, you may need to correct the amounts to your particular tastes.

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1 medium Red onion, diced
1 medium Carrot, diced
1 rib Celery, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 1/2# smoked pulled pork (I like Sam’s club’s)
1 cup peeled and diced butternut squash
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup chicken stock
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz. can white beans
1 can green chiles

3 Bay leaves
1 Tbsp. Cumin 
1 Tbsp. Chile powder  
2 tsp. Paprika
2 tsp. Thyme
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

Avocado slices
Dollop of Sour cream
Tortilla chips

 In a large stock pot put olive oil and butter over medium high heat to get hot. Add onion, celery, carrots and sweat for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for an additional minute and then add squash and potato. Mix and cook for 5 minutes. Add pulled pork, tomatoes, stock, beans, chiles, Bay leaves, and spices. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. (depending on personal preference, you may want to add additional spices as well)

Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes and squash are tender. Cover, turn off heat and let sit for 30 minutes. 

To serve, ladle into bowls, top with a couple of slices of avocado and a dollop of sour cream and serve with tortilla chips.  Enjoy!