"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.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite side dishes.  Its a snap to put together and always a crowd pleaser.  It's essential that the avocados and tomatoes are ripe.

2 Hass Avocados
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
juice from 1 lime
1/4 medium white onion, chopped finely
fresh cilantro, chopped fine (to taste)
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
optional - jalapeƱo pepper, minced, to taste

Remove pit from the avocados and spoon flesh into a medium mixing bowl.  Discard pit and skin.  Add lime juice to avacado.  With a fork slightly mash the avocado to desired consistency. (I prefer my guac. a little chunky)  

To the avocado add tomato, garlic, onions, and cilantro.  Drizzle in oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix, serve, and enjoy!!  (Can be made 2-3 hours ahead of time, covered and chilled).

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Buffalo Grilled Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dip

I love this riff on a classic.  If you love hot wings, this is the bomb!  

Appetizer for 6

Blue Cheese Dip:
1/2 C.sour cream
1/4 C. finely chopped green onions
2 Tbsp. finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 C. crumbled blue cheese
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 C. milk

18 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C. Frank's RedHot sauce
1/2 bunch celery, cut into 4" sticks

Make dip; Stir together ingredients and then adjust seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste.  Reserve covered in the refrigerator.

Make Shrimp; preheat grill to high heat.  In a large bowl, stir together butter and hot sauce.  Reserve.

In another large bowl toss the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Oil grill rack, then grill shrimp turning once, until just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Add cooked shrimp to the buffalo sauce and toss to coat.  Serve srimp with dip and celery, Enjoy!

Potato Salad with Pancetta, Rosemary, and Lemon

8 oz. of pancetta, sliced about 1/4 inch slices
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
1 garlic clove, minced
2/3 C. olive oil
3# Yukon gold potatoes
3 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp.  fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange pancetta slices on rimmed baking sheet, spacing so they don't touch each other.  Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 25 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and cool.  Coarsely chop pancetta and reserve.

While pancetta is baking, place the potatoes in a large pot.  Add enough water to cover by 1 inch.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium.  Simmer with lid ajar until tender, about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes.  Drain and let stand for about 20 minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, rosemary, lemon peel, and garlic in a small bowl.  Gradually add olive oil, while whisking.  Correct seasoning with salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste. Reserve.

Once potatoes are cool, cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices (remove skin if desired, I like to keep them on).  Place in a large bowl, add celery.  Drizzle dressing over and gentle toss to coat.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste.  Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.  Sprinkle pancetta and chopped parsley over the top, serve and Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Grilled Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing


1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled
1 Tbsp. chopped basil and parsley
2 tsp. chopped tarragon
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 C. olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 lemons, divided
1/4 C. olive oil
2 Hass avocados, halved, pitted, and peeled
salt and pepper
2 hearts of romaine, halved lengthwise
4 tomatoes, sliced into eight wedges
1/4 C. grated fresh parmesan cheese

To make dressing; In a food processor fitted with metal blade, combine all ingredients except the oil and salt and pepper.  Process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl.  With the motor running, add olive oil.  Add some cold water to make dressing pourable, about 3/4 cup.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the salad;  In a small bowl, toss onion with the juice of 1 lemon and 1 Tbsp. olive oil.  Set aside.

Preheat grill to medium heat.  In a medium bowl, toss avocado halves with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, juice of 1 lemon , salt and pepper.   Grill cut side down until marks appear, about 1 minute.  Remove from grill and set aside.

Brush cut side of romaine with 1 Tbsp. oil and grill cut side down until lettuce is slightly wilted and marks appear, 1-2 minutes.

Arrange the grilled avocados, grilled romaine, tomatoes, and marinated onions on a platter.  Drizzle on some of the dressing, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Serve, passing extra dressing at the table.  Enjoy!

Smoked Applewood Bacon, Lettuce and Cherry Tomato Salad with Aioli Dressing

serves 6:

6 slices applewood smoked bacon
12 C. torn romaine lettuce
8 oz. cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and/or pear tomatoes, halved
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
3 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a sheet tray with parchment paper and lay bacon out without the strips touching.  Place tray in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until bacon is crisp.  Remove and transfer to paper towels.  Allow to cool and then crumble coarsely.  Reserve.  Set aside 1 Tbsp. of bacon drippings and discard the rest.

Place lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl.  Heat drippings in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, then mayonnaise, vinegar, and lemon juice.  Whisk until blended, only 30-40 seconds.  Season dressing with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Pour over lettuce and tomato, toss to coat.  Sprinkle bacon over, serve immediately.  Enjoy!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Spicy Watermelon Salsa

2 Hungarian peppers, roasted on the grill, peeled, and chopped with seeds (can substitute with Jalapenos)
1/4 white onion, small dice
1/2 green pepper, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ripe tomatoes, diced
3/4 C. diced watermelon
1 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
4 Tbsp. Olive oil
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a large bowl mix all ingredients and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.  Serve and Enjoy!

Weekly Menu July 1st - July 7th

Dinner Out- The Townhouse, Birmingham

Pulled Pork Tacos
Spicy Watermelon Salsa

Grilled Chicken Summer Salad

Wednesday- Happy 4th of July
Smoked Beef Brisket
Homemade Slaw
Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Spears

Vegetarian Burgers
Chopped Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Friday- Dinner with Friends on the Patio for Steak and Martini Night
Buffalo Shrimp with Blue Cheese Dip and Celery
Grilled Aged Ribeye Steaks
Wild Mushroom and Shallot saute
Mashed Yukon Potatoes with Sour Cream and Chive
Smoked Applewood Bacon, Lettuce, and Cherry Tomato Salad with Aioli dressing

Dinner Out, ???????

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Serves 6:

2 Pork tenderloins, trimmed of silver skin

1 Tbsp. Honey
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/4 C. Orange juice
1 Tbsp. Onion powder
1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp. Dry mustard
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. dried Thyme
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

In a gallon ziplock plastic bag, combine all of the marinade ingredients.  Add pork tenderloin and seal.  Place bag in a walled pan and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours, can easily be left overnight.

Remove from bag and grill over hot coals or gas grill until internal temperature of 150 degrees F.  Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice on the bias and serve with Roasted Corn, Jicama, and Peach Salad (recipe follows).  Enjoy!

Roasted Corn, Jicama, and Peach Salad

2 Tbsp. minced Red Onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C. Roasted Corn (Trader Joe's has a really nice product in the frozen food aisle)
2 Peaches, diced
1/2 C. Jicama, medium dice
1/2 C. Arugula, chopped
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/2 lemon juiced
1/2 C. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Honey
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine the first five (5) ingredients.  In a separate small bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Toss the salad with vinaigrette, correct seasoning with s & p.  Serve and Enjoy!