Monthly Archives: September 2019

Glazed Salmon. Eat and Repeat.

Glazed Salmon with Garlic-Miso Marinade is definitely an Asian-influenced approach brimming with pronounced flavors. If you prefer a sweeter sauce, just increase the amount of honey and use white miso instead of red. 

In case you are not familiar with miso paste, here’s a quick summary: White miso has a higher percentage or rice while red miso has more soybeans in it. A white miso is sweet while a red miso has a deep umami flavor. A white miso has a whitish to light beige color while a red miso is also reddish brown in color. White miso is used for mayonnaise and spreads while a red miso, the saltiest most pungent variety, is used for stews, braises and glazes. And they both last forever in the refrigerator. (There are also yellow and black miso pastes available.)

One pound of salmon easily satisfies two healthy portions of fish, but could also serve three people depending on appetites and other sides.

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Glazed Salmon with Garlic-Miso Marinade

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Lb. salmon filet
  • 3 large cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp. red miso paste
  • 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk together soy sauce, honey miso paste, ginger, garlic and sesame oil in medium bowl.
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  3. Place marinade and salmon in a ziploc bag and marinate in the refrigerator from 1 to 12 hours.
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  4. Preheat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat with enough of peanut oil to lightly cover bottom of pan. Once the pan is extremely hot, sear the top of the salmon for about 1 minute to obtain a nice crust.
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  5. Immediately flip the fish to top side up, place into preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until it reaches 125°, basting with marinade halfway through (see below).
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  6. In the meantime, pour marinade out of ziploc bag into a small sauce pan. Bring medium-high heat to a boil, then reduce to a rolling simmer for about 5 minutes until reduced and thickened.
  7. Serve salmon with reduced sauce and sides.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

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Grilled Lamb, Tomato, and Halloumi Skewers with Orzo Salad

It’d been over 3 years since I blogged about, or made, these tasty babies. My bad because they are delicious! In this recipe, tangy, garlicky marinade made with lots of fresh oregano pairs perfectly with full-flavored lamb. And the halloumi cheese, unlike most which melt at high heat, holds up well to grilling, so it makes a great addition to a kebab.

I made numerous changes this time around. For starters, I recalled the halloumi could easily crumble as it was threaded onto the skewer, and/or fall off into the grill, so for that reason and the fact that I wanted more of the outside to get brown and crispy, I cut it into smaller pieces and pan-fried it.

Next, I added red bell pepper and purple onion chunks to the outer ends of the skewers. This increased the veggie quotient and also utilized some leftover pieces in my vegetable bin that might otherwise have spoiled. The amount of cubed lamb was increased from 1 1/2 to 2 pounds, and the sizes of the chunks were cut a bit larger at about 1 1/2 inches.

Instead of 16 smaller cherry tomatoes, I used 10 large, but that could change depending on how many skewers you use altogether. Everything fit onto 5 for us, but if you thread the cheese, you’ll likely use more. This time I made the orzo salad which I didn’t make before, and sooo glad I did, it was a wonderful pairing with the other ingredients!

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Grilled Lamb, Tomato and Halloumi Skewers with Orzo Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 10 oz. (1-1/2 cups) dried orzo
  • 2 lb. boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 oz. halloumi, cut into 16 pieces, (32 if pan frying)
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10-12 large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large red bell pepper cut into 10 equal chunks
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into 10 wedges from the outer layers, each 2 layers thick
  • 3 whole scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice; more to taste

Directions

  1. Bring a 3-quart saucepan of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the orzo according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Prepare a medium (375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
  3. Put the lamb and halloumi in a large bowl.
  4. In a small container with a lid, combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Cover tightly and shake vigorously.
    IMG_0207Toss the orzo with 1/3 cup of the mixture and pour the rest over the lamb and halloumi, tossing to coat.
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  5. Thread skewers first with a piece of red pepper, followed onion, then by pieces of lamb, halloumi (if not pan frying), and tomatoes onto each of five to eight, 12-inch metal skewers. Alternating tomatoes, between lamb chunks and ending with onion and pepper last.
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  6. Grill, turning once, until the the lamb is pink in the center (check with an instant read thermometer or cut into a piece to see), 6 to 7 minutes total.
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    If pan frying halloumi, put cheese slices in a skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally until all sides are crispy brown.
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  7. While the lamb is cooking, toss the scallions, mint, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper with the orzo. Season to taste with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
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  8. Serve the skewers with the orzo. If you pan fried the halloumi, arrange the cheese pieces around the skewers on the platter.IMG_0219
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Adeena Sussman from Fine Cooking

Tuna, Escarole and Chickpea Salad with Warm Herb-Garlic Vinaigrette

Sometimes a good salad is just the ticket to satisfy your craving. And this Tuna, Escarole and Chickpea Salad with Warm Herb-Garlic Vinaigrette is hearty enough to stand alone for dinner. Good-quality tuna is the fabulous secret weapon for this easy but satisfying meal. Its silky texture and slightly briny flavor makes this salad feel substantial.

As far as my personal adjustments, I used one 10.5 ounce jar of oil-packed tuna that provided exactly 1/2 cup of oil for the dressing; the can of chickpeas was 19-ounce as opposed to 15-ounce; and I introduced some kalamata olives for a salty bite.

Olives (a fruit rather than a vegetable) are one of those foods that you either love, or you hate—and we happen to love them! Even though they are small, they’re loaded with tons of powerful antioxidants and vitamins which give them the power to possibly prevent cancer, improve heart health, and protect us from chronic diseases and conditions like osteoporosis. What’s not to like about that?!

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Tuna, Escarole and Chickpea Salad with Warm Garlic-Herb Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 10.5-oz. jar good-quality tuna in oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small head escarole, trimmed, cleaned, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 19-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler (a heaping 1/3 cup)

Directions

  1. Strain the oil from the tuna into a 1 cup measure. Add oil, if necessary, for a total of 1/2 cup. In a medium bowl, flake the tuna into large pieces and set aside.
  2. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat the oil and shallot over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the lemon juice, parsley, rosemary, and pepper flakes.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the escarole, chickpeas, olives and onion with enough of the warm vinaigrette to coat the greens well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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  5. Divide the salad among four dinner plates and top each with a quarter of the tuna. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the tuna, top with the cheese, and serve.
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Adapted from a recipe by Abby Simchak Donovan from Fine Cooking

Italian Sausage and Mushroom Ragu with Pappardelle

According to 177MilkStreet.com, where we got this fabulous recipe, the rich and hearty ragu was inspired by a recipe from Portland, Oregon, chef Vitaly Paley. Ground cinnamon, a hefty pour of red wine and crushed tomatoes build layers of flavor over a base of garlic, portobellos and Italian sausage.

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It is highly recommended that you don’t use Italian sausage links, even if the casings are removed. Bulk sausage is better because its grind tends to be finer than that of link sausage, so the meat breaks apart more readily during cooking.

Choose a full-bodied, dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. For a pop of color and another flavor booster, garnish with a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil. It’s definitely a nice twist on pasta with meat sauce.

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Italian Sausage and Mushroom Ragu with Pappardelle

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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4 servings, 45 min.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Lb. portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, caps finely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 Lb. bulk sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 14½-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 12 oz. dried pappardelle pasta
  • Grated Parmesan for serving

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the butter and garlic until the butter has melted and the mixture has begun to sizzle.
  2. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and the shallots have softened, about 5 minutes.
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  3. Add the sausage and cook, stirring and breaking the meat into small pieces, until no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any accumulated fat.
     

  4. Increase to medium-high and add the wine. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the broth, cinnamon and ¾ teaspoon pepper. Continue to simmer until the broth has reduced by about half, 5 to 6 minutes.
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  6. Reduce to medium, stir in the tomatoes and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Set aside, covered.
     

  7. While the sauce simmers, in a large pot bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook until the pasta is al dente.
  8. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to coat. If needed, toss in a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water to thin the sauce to coat the pasta.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas

Dig Mexican cuisine? Then you must try this twist on a weeknight dinner to break up the usual suspects of tacos, burritos, enchiladas… you get my drift. We even made our own corn tostadas—and it was super-easy. Thanks Fine Cooking for the suggestion!

Charred corn and chicken have great summery flavors, but what really makes this tostada sing is the chipotle-lime cream sauce that holds everything on the base. You can buy prepared tostada shells or, as mentioned, make them yourself following the directions in the tip below.

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Chipotle Chicken and Corn Tostadas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced, plus 2-1/2 Tbs. sauce (from one can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
  • 1 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil; more as needed
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets
  • 3 ears corn, husked
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. fresh lime juice
  • 8 tostada shells
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the minced chipotle and 2 Tbs. of the adobo sauce with the oil, zest, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for anywhere between 20 minutes and 1 hour.
     

  3. Brush the corn lightly with oil and season generously with salt. Grill the chicken and corn, turning the chicken once and the corn a few times, until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 7 minutes, and the corn is charred in spots, about 12 minutes.
     

  4. Transfer to a cutting board, let rest for a few minutes, and then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and cut the corn off the cob. (Doing so in a small rimmed baking sheet helps keep the kernels from flying about.)
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  5. Mix the sour cream with the lime juice, the remaining 1/2 Tbs. adobo sauce, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Spread evenly onto the tostada shells.
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  6. Top with the corn, chicken, and cilantro. Serve with the lime wedges on the side.
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To make your own corn tostadas:

Arrange eight 6-inch corn tortillas on baking sheets in a single layer. Brush lightly on both sides with canola oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in a 400°F oven, flipping once, until golden and crisp on both sides, 9 to 12 minutes.

 

 

Be careful, because there’s a fine line between when they are done and when the tostadas are overdone, so keep a close eyeball on them.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Ruth Kaplan from Fine Cooking

Steak and Sauce: An Iconic Duo Sure to Impress

We are all familiar with iconic pairings such as peanut butter and jelly, gin and tonic, movies and popcorn, football and beer, to suggest just a sampling. But few duos impress like steak and sauce, am I right? Well this Seared Skirt Steak with Garlicky Tequila-Lime Salsa Verde recipe will surely win you over if you harbor any doubt at all.

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No grill required. Here, a sautéed steak is drizzled with an elegant pan sauce made from basic pantry ingredients that comes together in about a half hour or less. The dressy preparation demands remarkably little effort on your part.

The warm butter sauce riffs on both a familiar marinade and the ubiquitous Central American green salsa. It is a lot of butter, I agree, so if that bothers you, just be judicious on the amount you allow yourself—because it is sooo worth it; and your steak is a sponge for the intense flavors of the sauce.

Skirt steak—cherished in cuisines around the globe—is a long, thin cut from the beef plate between the brisket and flank. It is best prepared with high heat and quick cooking to preserve the chewy texture and ensure it stays as tender as possible. To maximize tenderness, slice the steak against its clearly defined grain.

If you liked this recipe, Fine Cooking has several more to pair with skirt steak. Chances are, I will be posting some of these in the near future:

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Seared Skirt Steak with Garlicky Tequila-Lime Salsa Verde

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lb. skirt steak, trimmed of excess fatty patches, cut into 4 even pieces, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely diced (about 1/3 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white tequila
  • 4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, soaked, thoroughly dried, and coarsely chopped (about 2 lightly packed cups); more chopped for garnish
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Directions

  1. Pat the steak dry, and season with 1-1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  2. Put a large, heavy-based stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat for 1-1/2 minutes (it’s ready when a droplet of water instantly evaporates upon hitting the surface). Add 2 Tbs. of the oil. Once it’s shimmering hot, about 30 seconds, carefully add the steaks, evenly spaced. (We needed to do this in 2 batches because all 4 steaks would not fit in the pan at once.)
  3. Cook the steaks, undisturbed, until brown around the edges and a corner easily pulls up when lifted with tongs, about 3 minutes.
  4. Flip and cook the other side until medium rare, 2 to 3 minutes more; if checked with an instant-read thermometer, a thicker piece will register 130°F to 140°F and the steak will be bright pink when sliced.
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  5. Transfer to a cutting board, and tent with foil. Rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  6. Return the skillet to the stovetop, and lower the heat to medium. Add the bell pepper, jalapeño, and remaining 1 Tbs. of the oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt, and cook, stirring, until the peppers soften, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
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  8. Raise the heat to high, and carefully add the tequila. Using a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, cook until the tequila almost completely evaporates, about 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat. Stir in the butter, accumulated meat juices, then the lime juice, and then the cilantro, and whisk until the butter melts. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
     

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  10. Spoon the sauce over the steak, garnish with more chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

By Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking

Non Solo Pasta

Notta justa pasta place… Non Solo Pasta (NSP), nestled into a tiny, unassuming strip mall off a major road in Morrisville, PA, this fabulous Italian restaurant has been around for decades. Although it’s not BYO, a preferred option for us, they have a full-scale bar with a long list of available wines by the glass or bottle.

Back in the early 90’s, when there weren’t a plethora of dining options close by our Yardley home, NSP was one place my Ex, neighbors and boating friends often frequented. Then for some unexplained reason, I hadn’t patronized the place in years until my friend Jeremy mentioned going there for dinner after an art opening. Bingo, great idea!

There are no shortage of Italian restaurants in our surrounding area, but having frequented most of them many times over, it was 9 months since we had dinner at NSP after that previously mentioned art opening. When trying to think of where to dine one Friday night, it popped into Russ’s noggin’, so reservations we made.

On this visit, while not packed to the gills, a good two-thirds of the tables were already taken, with what sounded like mostly regulars. Once seated we were quickly given three menus, one of Specials, another with their regular offerings, and a large booklet of drink selections. With so many tempting choices, it took us some time for reflection, so while we pondered our options, the waitress brought us water and a basket of warm crusty rolls. Instead of using the prepackaged pats of butter, we asked for, and received, a dish of EVOO with herbs and red pepper flakes for dipping.

All entrées come with a choice of soup or salad, and both times everyone ordered the side salad with baby spinach, crisp greens, cucumber slices and grape tomatoes. Our after-the-art-opening dining choices with friend Jeremy are pictured below, followed by the second visit meal selections.

garden salad

bolognese biancaBolognese Bianca with peas over pappardelle.

itlaian wedding soup
Italian Wedding Soup

portobello appPortobello Mushroom appetizer.

raviolacciRaviolacci—Homemade ravioli filled with short ribs, sautéed mushrooms and red peppers with a parmigiano, brown butter and sage sauce.

On yet another visit with just the two of us, we first selected a bottle of wine, then we ordered the Long Hots with garlic and provolone as an appetizer. The cheese portion was unusually large (although doesn’t appear so in this photo), and we each tore off some bread chunks, dragged them through the olive oil and topped with a slice of pepper and cheese, perfecto!

Because the portions are more than ample, we both took doggie bags home, and couldn’t even fathom the idea of dessert, although based on what other diners were consuming, the desserts looked very good indeed. Non Solo Pasta will definitely go back into our rotation of Italian eating establishments.

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Roasted Long Hots with garlic and sharp provolone.

chicken.sausage.cacciatore
Chicken and Sausage Cacciatore
with peppers, onions, herbs, in a light marinara, accompanied by the best side of potatoes I think I’ve ever eaten!

lamb.filettips.bologneseLamb & Filet Tips Bolognese—Meat sauce with hints of a full-bodied red wine, Mutti Pomodoro over pappardelle.

We made it back again, coincidentally, after another art opening in which me and my friend Jeremy both had pieces in the exhibit. Luckily we had made an advanced reservation for 5, because the place was packed and we still had to wait for a table.

By this time, we knew that whatever we ordered, it was going to be good. The problem is trying to narrow down our choices from the regular and Specials menus. But with a bottle of red ordered, we got down to the business of choosing.

Positano—A seafood option from the regular menu, was chockfull of colossal lump crab meat with a choice of a light marina or white garlic sauce. Three of us opted for this entrée, one with penne, two over linguine, all with the marina topping.

Bronzino MediterraneoBronzino Mediterraneo—A grilled filet of Branzino accompanied by sautéed spinach and perfectly cooked asparagus in a Mediterranean Citronette was a special that night.

Veal NapoletanoVeal Napoletano—Pan sautéed veal in a San Marzano sauce with garlic, kalamata olives and capers also hailed from the regular dinner menu.

If you live or work in the area, Non Solo Pasta is a sure bet when it comes to real good Italian food. You may just want to make a reservation ahead of time…

Grilled Chicken Slouvaki

This flavor-packed dish will appeal to the Mediterranean diet-followers, white meat chicken lovers, healthy food eaters, or just those who appreciate a good home meal. Chicken Souvlaki is almost always made with chunks of boneless skinless breasts, which have a marked tendency to dry out when grilled. This is prevented by swapping the traditional overnight soak in an acidic marinade for a quick 30-minute brine while the grill heats.

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The chunks of chicken get tossed in a flavorful mixture of lemon, olive oil, herbs, and honey right before grilling. To prevent the end pieces from overcooking, they are protected by threading red pepper pieces on the ends. Once cooked, the chicken is tossed with reserved sauce to ensure that the exterior is nicely flavored and just as tender and moist as the interior while delivering a bright citrus punch.

Found on Cook’s Illustrated, I roughly adapted the recipe to suit our cooking needs. First, for more assertive flavor, I increased the amount of garlic in the tzatziki sauce from 1 small clove to 2 large (I mean, really?). I also introduced a red bell pepper for another pop of color and to protect the end pieces of the chicken. But most importantly, the veggies usually take longer to cook than the meat, so I threaded them on different skewers as opposed to altogether.

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Grilled Chicken Slouvaki

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic clove, minced to paste (A garlic press makes quick work of turning the garlic into a paste.)
  • ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced fine (1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • ⅜ teaspoon salt

Chicken

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ -inch chunks
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, quartered, each quarter cut into 4 chunks (16 pieces total)
  • ¾ red bell pepper, quartered lengthwise, 3 of the 4 slices cut into 2 chunks each (6 pieces total). Reserve the remaining slice for another use.
  • 1 small red onion, ends trimmed, peeled, halved lengthwise, each half cut into 4 chunks (8 pieces total)
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  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Steamed rice (preferably in chicken homemade stock instead of water)
  • 5 metal skewers

Directions

  1. FOR THE TZATZIKI SAUCE: Whisk lemon juice and garlic together in small bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in yogurt, cucumber, mint, parsley, and salt. Cover and set aside.
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  2. FOR THE CHICKEN: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 1 quart cold water. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
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  3. While chicken is brining, combine oil, parsley, lemon zest and juice, honey, oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl. Transfer 1/4 cup oil mixture to large bowl and set aside to toss with cooked chicken.
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  4. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Toss chicken with remaining oil mixture. (Make sure to reserve a 1/4 cup of the mixture.)
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  5. Thread 1 piece of red bell pepper, concave side up, onto one 12-inch metal skewer. Thread one-third of chicken onto skewer. End with one more red bell pepper piece. Repeat on two more skewers.
  6. Thread the red onion pieces on the fourth skewer; and the green bell pieces on the final skewer. Spray each skewer of veggies on all sides with cooking spray.
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  7. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to low.
  8. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place two veggie skewers on hot side of grill, turning a few times until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Close lid between turns. Move skewers to low heat side of grill.
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  9. Place chicken skewers on hotter side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is well-browned on all sides and meat registers 160 degrees, 8 to 10 minutes. Close lid between turns.
     

  10. Using fork, push chicken and vegetables off skewers into bowl of reserved oil mixture. Stir gently, breaking up onion chunks; cover with foil and let sit for 5 minutes.
     

  11. Divide rice among 4 plates. Place chicken and veggies over the rice and serve with tzatziki sauce.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Roughly adapted from a recipe by Cook’s Illustrated

Perfection Does Exist

OMG, this Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork in Garlic Sauce immediately garnered a spot on the short list, the VERY SHORT list! We came across the recipe on Cook’s Illustrated website and knew immediately we wanted to dine on this deliciousness. Now I know the prep is a bit time consuming and uses quite a few bowls for a weeknight meal, but it is SO worth it!

To re-create the succulent pork found in the best restaurant stir-fries (usually achieved by low-temperature deep frying), the pork is soaked in a baking soda solution, which tenderizes and moisturizes the meat, and then it’s coated it in a velvetizing cornstarch slurry, which helps it retain moisture as it cooks. And the secret to the sauce’s silken texture and rich flavor? Ketchup (not kidding) and fish sauce, both high in glutamates.

Meat soaked in a solution of baking soda and water? I admit it sounds pretty unappetizing, but there’s a good reason for it. Fact is, alkaline baking soda makes the meat more tender by raising its pH. According to Cook’s Illustrated, the tenderizing effect is twofold: First, as the meat’s fibers break down, its texture softens. Second, since the meat’s looser consistency retains water better, it’s less likely to contract and expel moisture when heated, ensuring that the meat stays juicy throughout.

Ingredient Notes: If Chinese black vinegar is unavailable, substitute 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar. If Asian broad-bean chili paste is unavailable, substitute 2 teaspoons of Asian chili-garlic paste or Sriracha sauce. Pork loin, the usual stir-fry choice, is lean and dry. Instead, use boneless country-style spareribs, which are fattier (they’re cut from the blade end of the loin) and more tender.

Serve with steamed white rice. The original recipe indicates it serves 4-6 people. We beg to differ. We only got 3 decent size portions, so keep that in mind when making.

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Sichuan Stir-Fried Pork with Garlic Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Sauce

  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 tsp. Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Pork

  • 12 ounces boneless country-style pork ribs, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 tsp. Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Stir-Fry

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin
  • 2 Tbsp. Asian broad-bean chili paste
  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
  • 2 celery ribs, cut on bias into 1/4-inch slices

Directions

  1. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl; set aside.
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  2. FOR THE PORK: Cut pork into 2-inch lengths, then cut each length into 1/4-inch matchsticks. Combine pork with baking soda and water in bowl. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
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  3. Rinse pork in cold water. Drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Whisk rice wine and cornstarch in bowl. Add pork and toss to coat.
  4. FOR THE STIR-FRY: Combine garlic, scallion whites, and chili paste in bowl.
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  5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large wok over high heat until just smoking. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add celery and continue to cook until celery is crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to separate bowl.
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  7. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to now-empty wok and place over medium-low heat. Add garlic-scallion mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer 1 tablespoon garlic-scallion oil to small bowl and set aside.
  8. Add pork to wok and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
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  9. Whisk sauce mixture to recombine and add to wok. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and pork is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes.
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  10. Return vegetables to wok and toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with scallion greens and reserved garlic-scallion oil, and serve.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

 

Simple, Tasty, Grilled Chicken Kebabs

Marinating chicken pieces in a tangy blend of yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and herbs tenderizes the poultry and adds valuable flavor—as long as the chicken only marinates for 3 to 6 hours. Don’t skimp on the marinating time though; any less than 3 hours and the chicken won’t be as flavorful or tender. Conversely, marinating for more than 6 hours will make the chicken mushy—also not a desired outcome.

To help prevent the kebabs from sticking to the grill (even when you oil the grates), spray them with a neutral oil just before placing them on the grill. Yes, you can use chicken breasts instead of thighs, however the white meat tends to dry out quicker and is not as juicy or full of flavor.

For the vegetable component of the meal, we also grilled a marinated medley of mixed vegetables with garlic cloves and fresh rosemary in a good extra virgin olive oil for several hours. In this instance, we used a red bell pepper, cremini mushrooms, red onion, baby eggplant, summer squash and zucchini all cut into bite-sized pieces.

Place the veggies in a grill basket, turning every so often for about 20 minutes over medium heat until slightly softened and charred here and there. We also included a side of Spanish Potatoes with Olive Oil which I blogged about recently. They were so good, we wanted to impress our guest, who BTW, was duly impressed!

Yogurt Marinated Chicken Kebabs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. roasted garlic paste OR 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into approximately 2-inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil (for grates); spray oil (for kebabs)

Directions

  1. Whisk yogurt, olive oil, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne in large bowl. Stir in chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 to 6 hours.
     

  2. Remove chicken from yogurt marinade; discard marinade. Divvy up the chicken and thread each skewer with even amounts of meat. You will have to fold over pieces so that nothing hangs down.
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  3. Preheat the grill for 10-15 minutes until very hot. Brush the grates with vegetable oil. Mist the kebabs with a neutral cooking spray.
  4. Grill the skewers over high heat until chicken is charred around edges on all four sides and cooked through, about ?? minutes total.
     

  5. Transfer to platter and serve immediately with your choice of sides.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a similar recipe from Cook’s Country

“Nice Cream”—A Guilt-Free Dessert

Looking for a new, healthier way to get a sweet fix? Well the Yonanas dessert maker could be just the thing for you! It is a product that is sold by Dole, and is advertised as a way to use bananas (as a base) and other frozen fruit to create healthy ice cream, also cleverly known as “nice cream.”

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We recently hosted a (almost) vegan dinner for some friends and they brought along this machine to make dessert. Knowing ahead of time, we were prepared with enough frozen fruit: strawberries, blueberries, and of course, ripe bananas, all of which we keep on hand for smoothies.

IMG_4865Russ and Lisa watch David insert the fruit. Lisa said one of her favorite ingredients is frozen cherries.

The idea is that you can freeze all of your uneaten fruit before it goes bad and use it to make a healthy dessert later. Think of it as a frozen fruit smoothie, without all of the other stuff. In the recipe book that comes with the machine, it also says that you can put room temperature nut butter or chocolate into the mix. (I think chunks of dark chocolate would be the bomb!)

You can either freeze fresh fruit yourself or buy the bags of frozen fruit from the store. However, for the bananas, which provide a creamier product, it’s recommended that you ripen them at home until they have reached the desired phase—you know, when they have lots of brown spots on them and are soft to the touch.

IMG_4859Above, the machine is assembled and ready for action. Below is a video showing the Yonanas in use.

 

Some debatable cons, there are still random chunks of frozen fruit at the end (not sure why that’s a bad thing?); and you have to put in quite a bit of frozen fruit to get the machine to mix the product. On the plus side, it is very easy to clean and use, and the end product resembles ice cream in both taste and texture.

IMG_4868Dessert is ready to serve with a side of gluten-free chocolate wafers.

Delicious, Healthy, Vegetarian, Dairy- and Gluten-Free. Maybe you need to get this on your upcoming holiday wish list?

Obsessed with this Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry

All summer long we’ve enjoyed a pretty substantial haul of green beans from our garden. Using them in a variety of ways (including giving them away), one of my faves is this Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry recipe that highlights the veggie, instead of relegating it to a back seat. With relatively few main ingredients, and a handful of flavoring elements, this dinner comes together in no time.

Did you know green beans don’t count in the “beans and peas” category in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? In fact, the difference between a legume and a bean is that a legume is a class of vegetables that includes beans. Although beans are always legumes, not all legumes are beans. Confusing? Who really cares, unless of course you have some dietary restriction that prohibits you from eating them…

Now back to the recipe… Shaoxing wine, a Chinese fermented rice wine, is the secret sauce that makes this recipe sing. It’s pretty easy to find at Asian markets, but don’t confuse it with rice vinegar! If you see bottles labeled “rice cooking wine” without the Shaoxing designation, they will work too. While you can substitute dry sherry, keep in mind, nothing else achieves quite the same flavor.

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When making a stir-fry, it’s essential that you prep everything ahead of time because once you start cooking, there’s precious little time to do anything but flip the spatula around. And it’s always a good idea to have your vent system going full blast as a stir-fry emits a lot of smoke. (When we first moved into this house, we didn’t have a good hooded vent system over the stovetop and we use to set off the fire alarm every time we stir-fried!)

If the slices of ginger are too large for your taste, go ahead and chop them down to your preference—we happen to like the larger discs. For the garni, I used both chopped roasted cashews and some scallion greens that I saved and sliced into thin rounds just for that purpose.

Oh, and the stir-fry makes for fabulous leftovers the next day if you happen to have any remaining…

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Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1.75 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced across the grain into bite-size strips
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, (more for a slurry if necessary)
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, (more if desired)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. Shaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine) or dry sherry
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 scallions, ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 12 oz. green beans, trimmed, halved crosswise (about 4 cups)
  • Steamed white rice, chopped toasted cashews or peanuts, sesame seeds, and/or thinly sliced fresh chiles (for serving; optional)
  • 2 cups cooked jasmine rice, made according to package directions, preferably with homemade chicken stock

Directions

  1. Make steamed rice according to package directions but use chicken stock (preferably homemade) in place of water.
  2. Toss chicken, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and 1½ Tbsp. soy sauce in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir vinegar, wine, and remaining 2½ Tbsp. soy sauce in a small bowl. Have all your other ingredients prepped and ready to go (once you start cooking, there isn’t a stopping point and you’ll need them handy).
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large wok over high heat. When oil is shimmering and slides quickly around the surface of the pan, add scallions and ginger and cook, tossing, until scallions are browned and softened, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add green beans, another 1 Tbsp. of oil and a pinch of salt and cook, tossing often, until green beans are crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer green bean mixture to a medium bowl.
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  6. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same wok over high. When oil is shimmering again, add chicken mixture and arrange slices in a single layer in skillet. Cook, undisturbed, until chicken is browned and caramelized on first side, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Toss and continue to cook until meat is no longer pink and cooked through, about a minute or two longer.
  8. Pour in wine mixture and green bean mixture and cook, tossing briskly, until sauce is thickened and all ingredients are coated, about 30 seconds. (If sauce hasn’t thickened, make a small amount of corn starch slurry and stir in.) Remove from heat and taste, then season with more salt, if desired.
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  9. Divide steamed rice among plates, serve stir-fry over rice, and sprinkle with desired toppings.
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http://www.lynnandruss.com

Roughly adapted from a recipe by Claire Saffitz from bon appétit

Loaded Nachos, Harboring a Hankering

Nachos are a quintessential party food for Superbowl Sunday—although one could probably give equal billing to hot wings and chili—but, to stay on point… Of course, this unofficial American holiday only happens once annually, but this party favorite can be served anytime of year for any number of reasons, or just because you are harboring a hankering! How about during this Sunday’s football game?

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Layering is the key to loaded nacho perfection. Although I must confess I couldn’t get on board with cooking the lettuce and avocado in the layers. So these ingredients went on top AFTER the nachos were cooked. (Many of the reviewers agreed with my stance on this issue.) And the tomatoes, which were supposed to be only a topping, were assimilated into all layers. The directions below are as written in the NYTimes, but it’s up to you how to assemble the goodies.

It seemed strange to add sliced radishes, but Russ assured me that they are traditional in Mexican cooking. Since bacon doesn’t sit well with me, we eliminated it (heresy to some!) and sautéed the onion in olive oil instead. And we like the color and taste of black olives, so slices of those were incorporated into the layers. Finally, our pantry produced dried ancho chiles—but no powder—so we ground up two anchos in a mini-blender to make the powder.

Nothing less than loaded nachos will do — the cheese and chips accompanied by a fragrant meat sauce, the fire of jalapeños, the chill and silkiness of sour cream, the tart excellence of a good tomato, decent shredded lettuce, thin-sliced radishes. Here is avocado; there, the awesome funk of chopped cilantro…
~Sam Sifton, NYTimes food author

Did we like them? Mucho grande! But despite a valiant attempt we could not finish them, even though it was our main meal of the day.

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Prepping the ingredients.

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Starting to brown the meat and onions.

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Combining all of the spices to add to the cooked meat.

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The meat mixture getting happy mixing with the spice combination.

Loaded Nachos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ pound slab or thick-cut bacon, diced (optional)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef, like chuck or sirloin
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, hot or mild
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ to ⅔ cup chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium, or water
  • 1 12- to-16-ounce bag corn tortilla chips
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ cup pickled jalapeños
  • 2 avocados, pitted and sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 ½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 3 radishes, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into eighths, for garnish
  • Hot sauce, if desired

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Assembling layer one on a rimmed baking sheet.

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All three layers are now complete.

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The nachos fresh out of the oven before the toppings are added.

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Toppings included fresh avocado, shredded lettuce, cilantro, dollops of sour cream, and thinly sliced radishes.

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put a large sauté pan with high sides over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat has rendered and the pieces are crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes, then remove the bacon and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the bacon fat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and started to go brown around the edges, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the chile powder, cumin, salt, paprika, black pepper, sugar, cornstarch and red pepper flakes and stir to combine and toast the spices. Add enough chicken stock or water to loosen the mixture, and allow it to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. (Add a little more stock or water if mixture is too thick.)
  4. Assemble the nachos on a half sheet pan: Put a layer of tortilla chips on the pan and cover with about 1/3 of the meat sauce, then add 1/3 of the jalapeños, about 1/3 of the lettuce, some avocado slices (or add these last two ingredients after cooking) and a handful of the Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses.
  5. Top with more tortilla chips, more meat sauce, more lettuce, jalapeños, avocado and cheese, then make a final layer of chips, meat, bacon, jalapeños, avocado and cheese. Top with crumbled Cotija cheese and slide the sheet pan into the oven to bake until the cheeses have melted through, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. Top cooked nachos with the sliced radishes and tomatoes, and dot the tray with teaspoons of sour cream. Scatter the cilantro over the top and serve, accompanied by limes and hot sauce.

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Something tells me we won’t be waiting around for the next Superbowl before we make these bad boys again!

Portuguese Pica Pau

Pica pau (which translates as “woodpecker” in Portuguese), is a dish eaten with toothpicks and served as an appetizer or small plate with crusty bread and cold beer as accompaniments. This version of Portuguese-Style Beef with Pickled Onions and Olives uses strip steaks because of their meaty flavor and tender texture and they’re served on a bed of vinegar-marinated red onions and olives to balance the beef’s richness—as such, it’s more of an entrée.

Oddly, pickled cauliflower and carrots are often, but not always, included. And believe me, I think it would be overkill. We served ours over plain, steamed cauliflower because there were so many bold flavors already. Based on that thinking, we also did not make the Piri-Piri oil (recipe below).

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Plus I believe our jalapeño was actually a habañero in disguise as it was sooo hot! We often tend to consume both types of chilis, but this rather large jalapeño’s heat took us by surprise. A word to the wise, you may want to seed (added that to the directions) and devein the chili before slicing it into rounds to temper down some of that heat.

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In Step 4, I did not wipe out the pan, why get rid of those flavor-packed browned bits?? The wine in Step 5 will deglaze the pan and incorporate those luscious bits. Speaking of the wine, when measuring during prep, toss in the bay leaves to draw out some of that earthy goodness.

Portuguese-Style Beef with Pickled Onion and Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 12- to 14-ounce beef strip steaks, each about 1 inch thick, trimmed of fat and gristle, patted dry
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup (good) sherry vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, finely grated (I used a garlic press)
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into thin rounds
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 2 pieces and chilled
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Piri-piri oil, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper. Season both sides of each steak with the mixture, rubbing it into the meat. Set aside.
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  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, olives, vinegar and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let the steaks and onion mixture stand for 30 minutes, stirring the onion mixture once halfway through.
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  3. In a nonstick 10-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the steaks and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottoms, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip and cook until well browned on the second sides and the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare), another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.
     

  4. Pour off and discard the fat from the skillet, then wipe out the pan. (I did not wipe the pan as I wanted to incorporate the browned bits, plus there was very little discernable fat.) Set over medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, the garlic and chili. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
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  5. Add the wine and bay, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes. Off heat, stir in the butter until melted.
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  6. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board. Cut each steak lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into ½-inch pieces.
  7. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Add the parsley and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
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  8. Drain off and discard the liquid from the onion mixture and transfer to a platter. Pour the steak mixture over the onions, then drizzle with piri-piri oil, if using. Discard bay leaves.
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Piri-Piri Oil

Milk Street’s offers this version of the spicy, herbal piri-piri oil, a condiment on nearly every restaurant table in Lisbon. Instead of hard-to-find piri-piri chilies, use árbol chilies. To get the right heat level and color, coarsely grind half of them and simply break the rest by hand. Store the oil in a tightly sealed container for up to one month. If you like, the recipe can be halved. If you can’t find árbol, substitute with 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons sweet paprika.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup árbol chilies, stemmed and broken in half
  • 2 cups sunflower oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 8 bay leaves, broken into small pieces
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano

Directions

  1. Place half of the chilies in a spice grinder and pulse until coarsely ground, about 10 pulses.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the ground chilies and the remaining halved chilies. Add the oil, garlic, bay and rosemary. Heat over low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers 275°F, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Off heat, stir in the oregano. Cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, then transfer to a clean jar and seal tightly.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipes adapted from Diane Unger of 177MilkStreet.com

 

No Meat, No Problem

Tofu and Summer Veg Curry is a perfect way to savor some summer vegetables and transport them to bright and cozy comfort. This quick vegetarian curry from Heidi Swanson, the vegetarian cookbook author and blogger behind 101 Cookbooks, is a great way to use a bounty of eggplant, summer squash and green beans.

Maddeningly, the supermarket was not carrying Japanese eggplant at the time I went food shopping, so I used Italian, which still had a great finish. I was rather surprised at the low amount of moisture in the dish, considering that the recipe didn’t call for sweating the zucchini and eggplant beforehand—which saved a lot of time.

A third-cup of red curry paste may seem like overload, but the dish was not very spicy in our humble opinion. If anything, The Hubster and I both thought it could have been MORE spicy. You can eat it as is, but we agreed that it definitely needed to be ladled over some sort of noodle or rice—in our case, it was rice noodles.

FYI—I eliminated the 1/2 cup water to form a richer broth. If you want it back in, it was in Step 5 with the coconut milk.

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Tofu and Summer Veg Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 14-oz. package firm or extra-firm tofu, patted dry, cut into ½” cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup red curry paste
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 large or 2 small Japanese eggplant, cut into ½” pieces
  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 13.5-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Lime wedges, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and coarsely chopped salted, roasted peanuts (for garnish)
  • Rice noodles

Directions

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high. Add tofu in a single layer and cook, turning over once, until cooked sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with kosher salt.
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  2. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot or high-sided skillet over medium-high. Add onions and a generous pinch of salt and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in curry paste and cook, stirring often, until darkened in color, about 2 minutes.
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  4. Add zucchini, eggplant, and green beans and cook, tossing to coat, until vegetables are softened and starting to brown in spots, 5–7 minutes.
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  5. Pour in coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  6. Add tofu to pot and stir gently to combine. Cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season with more salt if needed.
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  7. Meanwhile, make rice noodles according to package directions.
  8. Divide rice noodles among bowls, ladle curry over noodles, and add a generous squeeze of lime juice to each. Top with cilantro and peanuts.IMG_4602

http://www.lynnandruss.com