All posts by LynnHoll

About LynnHoll

I have been an artist and designer all my life incorporating graphic design for websites, gardens, publications, fabrics, interior design and cooking. I am now retired from my professional job, but still create artistic visions in all forms on a daily basis.

Two Countries, One Meal

A rare cool, rainy Sunday afforded us the opportunity to cook a slow braised dish for a summer dinner. While thumbing through several favorite cookbooks, I happened upon this Roman Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Cloves in Milk Streets “The New Rules” by Courtney Hill.

The “new rule: don’t sear your meat” goes against something we typically do, brown our meat beforehand. But because you cook it uncovered for the last hour or so, the meat will brown at the end of the process.

Pot roast comes to mind with this meal, and in Rome, cloves are used to flavor the dish known as “Garofolato di Manzo alla Romana” because cloves are called chiodi di garofano. Here, the earthy, subtly smoky and slightly bitter flavor of cloves complements the natural sweetness of onion, fennel and tomatoes.

Milk Street advises not to use ground cloves that have gone stale, as they won’t add much flavor or fragrance to the braise. If your cloves have been in the pantry for more than a few months, uncap and take a whiff. The aroma should be sharp and strong. If not, pony up and get a new jar.

Unlike pot roast where you cook the large piece of meat whole, the beef is cut into chunks and simmered as a stew resulting in succulent meat throughout. Polenta is an excellent accompaniment for absorbing the flavorful sauce. In a unique pairing, we wedded the meat with another Milk Street recipe Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika.

This recipe is an adaptation of the remarkably delicious green beans from Extremadura, Spain, home of pimentón, aka Spanish smoked paprika. For perfectly crisp and tender beans, cooking techniques are combined. You start by searing the veggies in a hot pan to develop browning and flavor. Then add water and a tight fitting lid to steam them until tender. Voila!

Roman Braised Beef with Tomatoes and Cloves

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6-7 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. pancetta, roughly chopped
  • 6 med. garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 med. yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 med. fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, cored and thinly sliced
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Place the beef in a large bowl and season with the cloves, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.
  2. In a large Dutch oven over low, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until sizzling and the fat has begun to render, about 5 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces begin to brown, another 7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, onion and fennel, then increase to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and translucent, about 6 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beef, then cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Stir, then return to the oven uncovered. Cook until a skewer inserted into a piece of beef meets no resistance, another 1 to 1½ hours.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a medium bowl. With a wide spoon, skim off and discard the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid, then bring to a boil over medium-high, scraping up any browned bits. Cook until the liquid has thickened to the consistency of heavy cream, 10 to 12 minutes.
  8. Stir in the thyme, then return the beef to the pot. Reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is heated through, about 5 minutes.
  9. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika

First, the almonds. Begin by toasting them in olive oil to deepen their nutty flavor, then add the garlic and thinly sliced serrano ham, cooking the mixture until the meat crisps and the garlic is fragrant. Then remove that mixture from the pan and add the green beans and char them in the flavorful fond left behind. 

For the final flourish of smoked paprika, first deglaze the pan with another 1⁄4 cup water, scraping up any remaining flavorful bits, then remove the pan from the burner and stir the spice in off heat. This preserves the paprika’s smoky aroma, resulting in a pan sauce that is as quick as it is deeply smoky-savory.

Don’t stir the beans too often after adding them to the pan. Stirring only a few times allows the beans to take on some char that adds flavor the finished dish. If you’re entertaining more than four people with the braised beef dinner, you’ll want to double this bean recipe.

My mistake here was using a nonstick skillet so the beans didn’t get as good a sear as I wanted. But in the end since there were no browned bits left in the pan, there was no reason to perform Step 5. Instead, I just sprinkled the smoked paprika right onto the finished beans, stirred and served. OMG, so friggin’ good!!

Spanish Green Beans with Ham, Almonds and Smoked Paprika

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced serrano ham or prosciutto, sliced into ¼-inch-wide ribbons
  • 2 med. garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet (don’t use nonstick) over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the almonds and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the ham and garlic and cook, stirring, until the ham crisps and the garlic is fragrant, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
  3. To the same skillet over medium-high, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until smoking. Add the beans and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring only a few times, until the beans are lightly charred, about 4 minutes.
  4. Return the ham-almond mixture to the pan and add ¼ cup water. Cover, reduce to low and cook, occasionally shaking the pan, until the beans are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a serving dish.
  5. Set the skillet over medium-high and add ¼ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, scraping up the browned bits, until the liquid has reduced to about 2 tablespoons, about 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the paprika. Drizzle the sauce over the beans and serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Gemelli with Fresh Tomato-Almond Pesto and Croutons

Make sure you get the freshest home grown cherry tomatoes for this fabulous pasta dish. Currently they are in season in our neck of the woods and, lucky for us, our Farmer’s Market was brimming with every type imaginable.

Pasta Extraordinaire!

When Milk Street (where we got this recipe) sampled this no-cook tomato sauce in Sicily, it was made the traditional way, with a large mortar and pestle. A food processor gets it done faster and more easily. But The Mr. wanted to do it the traditional way in his favorite gargantuan mortar and pestle. He felt the results would produce a better paste.

Topped with crisp, olive oil–infused croutons and toasted almonds, the dish is served warm or at room temperature after the pasta has had a few minutes to soak in the flavorful sauce. Instead of blanched, slivered almonds, we used sliced, but whole almonds roughly chopped are another option.

Please don’t over-process the second addition of tomatoes. The first half is pulsed to create a juicy sauce, but the rest are pulsed only until roughly chopped so that tomato chunks add bursts of bright color and texture, and boy did they!

I usually don’t combine bread with a pasta meal because of the heavy carb count, but those croutons are a must! Serve with a veggie-laden side salad to help compensate. It’s typical to grate some cheese over a pasta dish, but even though I served some on the side, we both felt it was not necessary and might even take away from the fresh taste. Will certainly make again!

Gemelli with Fresh Tomato-Almond Pesto and Croutons

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 12 oz. gemelli or other short pasta
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn if large
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, divided
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
  • 3 oz. crusty white bread, torn into rough ½-inch pieces (about 1¾ cups)

Directions

  1. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-high, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside; reserve the skillet.
  2. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve about ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process ½ cup of the almonds, the garlic and 2 teaspoons salt until finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the basil and half of the tomatoes, then pulse until chopped and well combined, 4 to 6 pulses.
  5. Add the remaining tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of oil, then pulse just until the whole tomatoes are broken up, about 3 pulses.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl, add the pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water, then toss. Let stand, tossing once or twice, for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the pasta to absorb some of the sauce.
  7. While the pasta stands, in the same skillet used to toast the almonds, toss the bread, remaining 4 tablespoons oil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium, stirring frequently, until the bread is crisp and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. Scatter the toasted bread and the remaining ¼ cup almonds over the pasta. Drizzle with additional oil and sprinkle with pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill from Milk Street

Moroccan Ginger-Lemon Chicken Skewers

Anytime is perfect to skewer around, don’t you agree? And when all it takes is a bit of prep and less than 30 minutes to cook, you will have plenty of extra time for anything else on your agenda, or just relax and enjoy a cool beverage.

Once again chicken is the star of the show. Specifically, boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Each one is cut crosswise into three strips and added to the marinade, tossed and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes. While they get happy, you can prepare whatever accompaniments you plan to serve. A prepackaged couscous and a zucchini-onion sauté completed our meal.

Grilled lemon halves, drizzled with honey and squeezed over the charred chicken skewers, adds a final note of sweet-tart acidity that helps balance all the bold, savory seasonings. Minced fresh cilantro, parsley or mint brings bright color and a herbal freshness to the dish. Use whichever you prefer, or any combination of the three.

The directions indicate to use metal skewers, but we were on vacation at a rental property in Cape Cod and all we had access to was wooden skewers, which we presoaked for an hour. They tend to run shorter in length than their metal counterparts, so it’s likely you’ll need more of them—in our case, 6 wooden skewers as opposed to 4 metal.

We paired our skewers with an Israeli mushroom couscous and sautéed zucchini and onions.

Keep in mind: Don’t marinate the chicken longer than 30 minutes. Any longer than that and the lemon juice and ginger will make it mushy.

Moroccan Ginger-Lemon Chicken Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lemons
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. honey, divided
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley or mint

Directions

  1. With a wand-style grater, use 1 lemon to grate 1 tablespoon of zest and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the zest, juice, oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons of the honey.
  3. Cut each chicken thigh crosswise into 3 strips. Add the chicken to the marinade, toss and set aside for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare a grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat. For a charcoal grill, spread a large chimney three-quarters full of hot coals evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, set all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. If using gas, reduce the burners to medium-high just before adding the chicken.
  5. Thread the chicken onto four 12-inch metal skewers, scrunching multiple pieces onto each skewer. (We used 6, presoaked wooden skewers.)
  6. Cut the remaining 2 lemons in half. Grill the chicken and lemon halves (cut side down) until the chicken is well charred all over, 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the lemons once their cut sides are nicely charred.
  7. Transfer the skewers and lemon halves to a platter. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of honey over the cut sides of the lemons.
  8. Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon half over the chicken, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with the remaining lemon halves on the side.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger from Milk Street

Pesto Alla Genovese and Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken

Genoa, Italy is the birthplace of this dish. It traditionally is made in a mortar and pestle of nothing more than basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, salt and olive oil, emphasis on the basil. And to follow that tradition, we did the same. This was perfect at summer’s end because we had a plethora of fresh basil in our herb garden.

Good quality cheese is essential for a rich, full-flavored pesto. Seek out true Italian Parmesan cheese. In place of pecorino sardo, don’t use pecorino Romano, which is too strong. The best substitute is Manchego, a Spanish sheep’s milk cheese, one we love and typically have on hand.

Pesto Pasta

While you may be tempted, don’t toast the pine nuts. In Italy, the pine nuts for pesto are used raw. And don’t add all the ingredients at once to the food processor (or mortar if using). Adding them in stages ensures the pesto has the correct consistency and texture, and that it won’t end up thin and watery, the result of over-processing.

Orecchiette is the perfect pasta choice because all of that creamy pesto nestles into the cupped areas.

Using a mortar and pestle creates a luxurious sauce with a rich, deep flavor and a beautiful, silky texture that’s superior to what a food processor can do. Yes, it takes a bit longer and gives your arms a workout, but the reward of the best pesto you’ve ever eaten is sooo worth it. (FYI, the cheeses will have to be ground in a small food processor beforehand.)

If for some reason you cannot locate, or happen to dislike pine nuts, you can replace them with macadamias, walnuts, almonds or pecans. To store pesto, press a piece of plastic wrap against its surface and refrigerate for up to three days. After that, leftovers can be frozen in a sealed container.

Pesto Alla Genovese

  • Servings: Yields 1 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1¾ oz. parmesan cheese (without rind), chopped into rough 1-inch pieces
  • 1 oz. pecorino sardo cheese (without rind), chopped into rough 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2½ oz. (about 5 cups lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
  • 12 oz. orecchiette pasta, cooked al dente

Directions

Food Processor

  1. In a food processor, process both cheeses until broken into rough marble-sized pieces, about 10 seconds, then pulse until they have the texture of coarse sand, 5 to 10 pulses, scraping the bowl as needed. Transfer to a small bowl.
  2. In the food processor (or with a mortar and pestle), combine the pine nuts, garlic and ¾ teaspoon salt. Process until a smooth, peanut butter–like paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed.
  3. Add the cheeses and about ½ of the oil and process until mostly smooth, 10 to 20 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed; the mixture should hold together when pressed against the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Using a chef’s knife, roughly chop the basil, then add to the food processor. Pulse about 10 times, scraping the bowl several times, until the basil is finely chopped and well combined with the cheese mixture.
  5. Add the remaining oil and pulse just until incorporated, about 2 pulses. The pesto should be thick, creamy and spreadable.
  6. Meanwhile cook the pasta as directed on the package for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water then drain the pasta.
  7. Add a couple tablespoons of pesto to bottom of serving dish, top with pasta, stir. Continue adding pesto and cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stir until dish is creamy. (You won’t need to use all of the reserved cooking water.)

Mortar and Pestle

  1. In a small food processor, grind the cheeses until the consistency of coarse sand, set aside.
  2. Crush the garlic, salt and pine nuts in a mortar with the pestle, smashing and grinding until a sticky, ever-so-slightly chunky, beige paste forms.
  3. Add basil leaves, a handful at a time, and pound and grind against the walls of the mortar. Continue until all basil leaves have been crushed to fine bits.
  4. Add both cheeses, then slowly drizzle in olive oil (it helps to have another person do this), working it into the pesto with the pestle until a fairly smooth, creamy, emulsified, sauce forms.
  5. Meanwhile cook the pasta as directed on the package for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water then drain the pasta.
  6. Add a couple tablespoons of pesto to bottom of serving dish, top with pasta, stir. Continue adding pesto and cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stir until dish is creamy. (You won’t need to use all of the reserved cooking water.)

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from recipe by Courtney Hill from Milk Street

Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken

In a pinch I have used bottled Italian dressing as the marinade for chicken, but nothing compares to homemade. If you can, use fresh herbs, however dried is also an option. Use a combination of both white and dark meat if you prefer. It’s best to cut your chicken breast halves in half again so that all pieces are similar in size, and will therefore finish cooking at about the same time.

I cut the marinade recipe in half since we were only grilling 4 pieces of chicken for the two of us.

Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. basil leaves, rolled and chopped into chiffonade
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 3 lbs. chicken pieces, white and/or dark meat

Directions

  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Add chicken pieces (white and or dark meat) to a large re-sealable plastic bag. (Cut the breast halves, if using, in half again to be similar in size to the legs and thighs.)
  3. Pour in the marinade, seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 2, and up to 10 hours.
  4. When ready to cook, prepare a hot grill for the indirect method.
  5. Place the chicken on the hot side of the grill, turning them over after 5 minutes to sear the other side, for a total of 10 minutes. Baste occasionally.
  6. Move chicken to cooler side of grill, cover with lid and continue cooking for about another 20 minutes, no need to turn the chicken.
  7. Poultry is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°-170°.
  8. If desired, serve with an additional drizzle of lemon juice and EVOO.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Hot. Sweet. Sour.

Sound anything like your last relationship gone awry? Well this recipe should actually cheer you up instead, if tender, juicy, bone-sucking baby back ribs are your thing. You may recall last summer I posted a blog on Carolina-Style Barbecued Chicken that used a similar BBQ sauce—and it was slammin’ good!

Sweet and tangy, mustard tames the sweetness of the brown sugar—a nice reprieve from the traditional red BBQ sauces that many of us are more accustomed to. Surprised to find we were out of apple cider vinegar, we substituted white wine vinegar which shares a similar acidic level.

As for the Adobo Seco Seasoning, we always keep a container of homemade on hand (it has a long shelf life) but you can also buy it commercially made and use that. The most popular version is the dry seasoning mix, made from garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, pepper, and sometimes dried citrus.

Carolina-style Grilled Baby Back Ribs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 6-7 lbs. of baby back ribs (about 2 large racks)
  • 3 Tbsp. adobo seco seasoning (store-bought or homemade)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow or Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. mustard powder
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as Frank’s
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • Oil for the grates

Directions

  1. Rub both racks of meat all over with the adobo seco seasoning. Position on a rack in a rimmed backing sheet. Place upright toothpicks in several areas of the meat and cover tightly with heavy-duty foil and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, 2 1/2 to 3 hours before you plan to start grilling, preheat the oven to 325°.
  3. Remove a portion of the foil away so that you can pour 2 cups water into bottom of rimmed baking sheet and recover. Place into preheated oven for at least 2 hours.
  4. After 2 hours check the ribs to see if the meat pulls away from the bones easily. If not, continue cooking for another 1/2 hour.
  5. Meanwhile heat the grill to medium. Oil grates just before adding meat.
  6. Brush one side of each rack with room temperature BBQ sauce and lay the racks onto hot grates sauce side down. Brush sauce on top side.
  7. When bottoms of ribs are browned, flip and brush again with more sauce. Repeat several times over the course of 10-12 minutes until racks are well sauced and browned.
  8. Break racks apart into 3-4 ribs per section, place on platter and serve with any leftover sauce.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

Fresh basil, I like that this pasta recipe uses a lot of it. At the time we made the entrée, our garden was brimming with the herb, one of my all-time faves. Freshly picked, the aroma alone titillates the senses.

This recipe is Milk Street’s weeknight adaptation of the pasta fresca con carciofi e pecorino. The flavors are bright and fresh, and the prep is a breeze (chopping the basil is as arduous as it gets here). In 30 minutes or so, you have a tasty and filling entrée that’s sure to please.

As per Milk Street’s instructions, be sure to purchase jarred marinated artichoke hearts—they offer much more flavor than canned or frozen. You will need three 12-ounce jars to get the 3 cups drained artichokes called for. The hearts usually are halved or quartered; there’s no need to chop them after draining, as they will break apart during cooking.

About those artichokes, if you happen to have jars marinating in mostly oil, go ahead and use that in place of the additional EVOO listed in the ingredients. Trader Joe’s fits that bill, while Cento for example has too much vinegar in the mix.

Our box of rigatoni was only 12 ounces as opposed to the 1 pound called for, which we thought made for a better pasta-to-artichoke ratio, and still provided 4 full servings.

Don’t forget to save 2 cups of the cooking water before draining the rigatoni. You will need the starchy seasoned water to create a sauce that lightly coats and marries the artichokes and pasta.

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni (we only used 12 oz.)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or use the oil from the jarred artichokes)
  • 3 cups drained oil-marinated artichoke hearts, patted dry
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 oz. pecorino romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. Wipe out the pot, add the oil and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. (Ours took 9 minutes.)
  3. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the pasta to the pot, along with 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the pasta is al dente and little liquid remains, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Add the pecorino, lemon zest and juice, basil and butter, then stir until the butter is melted.
  5. Stir in additional pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until slightly saucy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger from Milk Street

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

With the end of corn season drawing to a close, you may be thinking what else could you make with freshly picked maize? Sweet corn is the most common variety of maize eaten directly off the cob. The ear is picked while the endosperm is in the “milk stage” so that the kernels are still tender. How about Mexican Sweet Corn Cake?

For starters, it is only slightly sweet, moist and nothing like cornbread, which is denser and cornier. The texture is softer and more velvety than cake. A hint of corn flavor, but less than you expect and a suggestion of sweetness without being sweet. Interested now?

According to Milk Street where we found this recipe, this simple baked treat is ubiquitous in Mexican food markets, street stalls and restaurants. Its texture lands somewhere between cake and cornbread while hinting at custard. In Mexico City, it’s commonly served for breakfast, but finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, it also makes a casual, homey dessert.

Fresh Mexican corn used for making this type of cake is starchier and drier than the fresh corn available in the U.S., so a bit of cornmeal is added here. If you have more than 250 grams (1½ cups) corn after cutting the kernels from the ears, it’s best to save the extra for another use rather than use it in this recipe; the additional moisture may make the cake too wet. Yellow corn yields a cake with a warm golden hue, but white corn also works.

Don’t use frozen corn kernels—it results in a dense, gummy texture. Made with fresh corn, the cake’s crumb is much lighter and softer. After adding the flour mixture to the corn puree, don’t whisk vigorously. Gentle mixing, just until no pockets of flour remain, will minimize gluten development so the cake bakes up tender.

Mexican Sweet Corn Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 medium ears fresh corn, preferably yellow, husked
  • ¼ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • Powdered sugar, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Mist a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Using a chef’s knife, cut the kernels from the ears of corn. Measure 1½ cups kernels and add to a blender; if you have extra corn, reserve it for another use. To the blender, add the cornmeal, condensed milk and yogurt, then puree until smooth, 15 to 20 seconds, scraping down the blender as needed. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
  4. To the blender, add the whole eggs and yolks, and the oil; blend on low until smooth, 5 to 10 seconds.
  5. Pour the puree into a large bowl. Add the flour mixture and whisk just until evenly moistened and no lumps of flour remain.
  6. Transfer to the prepared cake pan and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Run a paring knife around the pan to loosen the cake, then invert directly onto the rack and lift off the pan. Re-invert the cake onto a serving platter and cool completely, about 1 hour.
  8. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from Milk Street

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

More fun than the American classic, the Mexican take on the dish has a whole lot more personality, so says Cook’s Illustrated. Cóctel de camarón offers an incredible mix of flavors and textures: plump, tender poached shrimp; crisp bites of raw onion and cucumber; and cool, creamy avocado are all coated in a tangy, spicy-sweet tomato sauce.

“Eaten ice‑cold with a spoon and saltines, it’s like a festive, shrimp‑packed Bloody Mary or gazpacho.”

Cook’s Illustrated

V8’s blend of tomato and vegetable juices and lack of added sweeteners give the dish a welcome savory balance. To round out the dish, cut a ripe avocado and half an English cucumber into bite-size chunks. For savory crunch, add finely chopped red onion to the mix. Finally, a smattering of chopped cilantro contributes freshness.

For a fun presentation, I served the cocktail in margarita glasses accompanied by a long handled spoon and a basket of nacho chips. Son David and girlfriend Vikki joined us for dinner that evening and absolutely loved their appetizers. They scarfed it down in no time!

If you don’t have margarita glasses, another serving option would be a martini glass. In the end, no matter what you serve the shrimp cocktails in, your guests will gobble them up!

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

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

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ lbs. large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • ¼ tsp. table salt, plus salt for cooking shrimp
  • 1 cup V8 juice, chilled
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice (2 limes), plus lime wedges for serving
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce, plus extra for serving
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Saltines (or tortilla chips or thick-cut potato chips)

Directions

  1. Bring 3 cups water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Stir in shrimp and 1 tablespoon salt. Cover and let stand off heat until shrimp are opaque, about 5 minutes, shaking saucepan halfway through.
  2. Fill large bowl halfway with ice and water. Transfer shrimp to ice bath and let cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Once cool, cut each shrimp crosswise into 3 pieces (or more if using larger shrimp).
  3. Combine V8 juice, ketchup, lime juice, hot sauce, and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Add cucumber, onion, and shrimp and stir until evenly coated. Stir in avocado and cilantro.
  5. Portion cocktail into individual bowls or glasses and serve immediately, passing saltines (or chips), lime wedges, and extra hot sauce separately.

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Recipe compliments of Cook’s Illustrated

A Chicken Dish Worth Repeating

When it comes to poultry, The Hubs favors the dark meat and I most often prefer the white meat. What’s nice about this Senegalese Braised Chicken with Onions and Lime recipe is you can use a combination of both and make everyone happy. And happy is the name of the game when you’ve been hunkered down together for months (thanks COVID).

Don’t let the name fool you. With just a few ingredients, “Yassa Ginaar” delivers multiple layers of flavor—savory yet sweet with lightly caramelized onions, citrusy with lime zest and juice, meaty from the deeply browned chicken, and slightly spicy from the heat of a habañero chili. This version from Milk Street is based on a recipe in “Yolele!” by Pierre Thiam, who marinates then sears the chicken, then uses the marinade as a base for the flavorful sauce.

Bouillon concentrate adds to the savoriness of the dish. As it is for Milk Street, our preferred brand is Better than Bouillon. We paired our entrée with a side of sautéed spinach in roasted garlic olive oil and jasmine rice steamed in homemade chicken stock. A side of creamy mashed potatoes would work easily as well for the saucy onion bed.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to marinate the chicken for longer than two hours; the acidity of the lime juice will soften the meat and turn it mushy. Likewise, don’t use an uncoated cast-iron pot. The lime’s acidity will react with the metal, causing the sauce to taste metallic—not necessarily a flavor enhancer in our book!

Senegalese Braised Chicken with Onions and Lime

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. grated lime zest, plus 6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 habanero chili, seeded and minced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. chicken bouillon concentrate
  • 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, thighs or drumsticks, trimmed
  • 3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Finely chopped fresh chives, to serve

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons of oil, the lime zest, habanero, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Transfer 2 teaspoons of the mixture to a pinch pot and set aside.
  2. To the remaining oil-zest mixture, whisk in the lime juice, bouillon and ¼ cup water. Place the chicken and onions in a large ziploc bag, add the oil-zest mixture, seal and toss. Let marinate at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate up to 2 hours, turning once.
  3. Set a colander over a large bowl and strain the contents of the ziploc. Remove the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve both the marinade and the onions for later.
  4. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until well browned, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a plate and pour off and discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Set the pot over medium heat and stir in the onions and ¼ cup water, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Cover and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Stir the reserved marinade into the onions. Return the chicken, skin side up, nestling the pieces into the sauce, and pour in any accumulated juices. Reduce to medium-low, cover and cook until a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets no resistance, about 20-25 minutes.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving platter or shallow bowl. If the saucy onions appear too watery, reduce them down, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes at a rolling simmer to thicken. Off heat, stir the reserved oil-zest mixture into the onions, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Spoon the onions and sauce around the chicken and sprinkle with chives.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe found on Milk Street

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs

Tomatoes are another summer staple that explodes with a variety of luscious choices by season’s end. In fact, every year in our raised bed herb garden we are fortunate to get several “bonus plants” compliments of seed from our compost.

Fresh, snappy late-summer beans are a fleeting pleasure on their own, but jazz them up with the sweet acidity of grape tomatoes and crackly breadcrumbs, you’ve got a winning combination. The layers of colors (especially if you include yellow wax beans) and crisp and juicy textures effortlessly upgrade any main, such as our herb-marinated grilled bone-in pork chops.

As soon as I eyeballed this recipe in our latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, I knew it was going to make an appearance on our dining table within days. Unfortunately I could not access any yellow wax beans, so instead I used a combination of red and yellow grape tomatoes for that tri-color effect.

A few weeks earlier we made bead crumbs from some leftover crusty bread and put it in the freeze until such time we would need them again. Well this seemed like the perfect occasion, although the crumb was much finer than asked for here, still we went ahead with the recipe and it was great! They were a side dish to those grilled pork chops, but hardly played second fiddle.

Green Beans with Tomatoes and Crispy Breadcrumbs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. green beans and/or yellow wax beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 slices rustic bread (5 ounces), crusts removed, torn into large pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. cocktail tomatoes or large cherry tomatoes, or a combination, halved
  • 1 oz. Manchego cheese, finely grated (1/4 cup)
Pour tomato/bread crumb mixture over plated green beans
and top with grated Manchego cheese.

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until bright green and crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving platter; lightly drizzle with oil.
  2. Pulse bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form (you should have 2 cups). In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil and butter over medium. Add breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in skillet over medium-high. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in breadcrumbs. Top beans with warm tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; serve.

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Adapted by a recipe from Sarah Copeland

When Corn Reigns King

Because of the abundance of fresh produce in mid- to late-summer, we find ourselves gravitating to certain vegetables which have a limited growing season, one being sweet corn on the cob. It finds its way to our dinner table often as a side dish: hot, buttered and eaten right off the cob. But occasionally, we want to make it the star of the show, such as in this Smoky, Sweet Corn Chowder recipe. And September is synonymous with THE BEST, when corn reigns king.

Using corn sliced right off the cob, diced potatoes and veggies this easy chowder is finished with a bit of cream, a skosh of white wine and crispy bacon crumbles. Don’t throw the cobs away after removing the kernels, instead, add them to the broth to get even more of their milky goodness into the chowder.

We changed things up a bit, no surprise there. The original recipe called for 5 cups of water. Since we had some homemade ham stock in the freezer, we substituted that (and upped the quantity by 1 cup) for the water which of course adds tons of flavor. Then, figuring we would get more taste and substance from andouille sausage than ham hocks we made that switcharoo too.

Lastly, our bicolored ears of corn were not large so I added 6 ears worth, after all, it is the star of the show here. Because it all comes together fairly quickly when the cooking starts, prep the vegetables for the chowder before you begin cooking. All the chopping—that’s the most time-intensive part of the process. But oh so worth it, because corn reigns supreme and is crowned the king in this recipe.

Smoky Sweet Corn Chowder

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped (more for garnish if desired)
  • 6 ears corn on the cob, cut off the cob (do not discard cobs)
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 large Vidalia Onion
  • 1 lb. red or white potatoes, cut into 1/2″ dice (no need to peel)
  • 12 oz. Andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, cut into 1/4″-thick half moons
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, finely diced (save fronds for garnish)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 cups ham stock (or water)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp. white wine

Directions

  1. Chop the bacon and crisp it in a dutch oven. Transfer bacon crumbles to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  2. Sauté the corn, celery, onion, fennel and garlic in the bacon renderings.
  3. Add herb bundle, stock (or water), half of the diced potatoes, bouillon, corn cobs and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the corn cobs and herb bundle and puree half of the soup in a blender until smooth.
  5. Add the chowder puree back to the pot and add the sausage, remaining potatoes, cream and white wine.
  6. Return the pot to a simmer over medium heat with the lid tightly secured for an additional 10 minutes until the potato is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve with chopped fennel fronds and bacon.

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Loosely adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan

Lamb Marinade—No Matter How You Cook It

Years ago, The Mr. came up with this marinade for lamb which can easily be doubled, or even tripled depending on the amount of meat you’re marinating. In this case, we were grilling a small lamb-top weighing in at just over a pound, however the recipe below yields a 1/2 cup and would cover up to about three pounds worth.

You can substitute any vinegar of your choice in place of the lemon juice. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, substitute 2 teaspoons of dried. It is highly recommended that you use a large mortar and pestle (even to the point of buying yourself a set says The Mr.), otherwise, a mini-processor can work to make the garlic, salt and rosemary paste.

Our lamb was grilled to an internal temperature of 125° for medium-rare. Make sure to have an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. We expected our meat to be finished sooner than it did, but because it was vacuum-packed it actually puffed up once out of the package and became thicker! And of course it needs to rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices redistribute.

The sides of grilled vegetable medley and hot fresh corn on the cob were perfect accompaniments for the summer meal. There will be extra marinade after you put the lamb on the grill, so if you’re so inclined, you can baste the meat with it or, like we did, mix some in with your grilled veggies as they cook. (Psst, it is equally as tasty on chicken and pork.)

Lamb Marinade

  • Servings: Yields 1/2 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or vinegar of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Place the garlic cloves in a mortar and add the salt. Pound the garlic into a paste, then add the rosemary and 1 teaspoon EVOO and continue pounding into a homogenous paste.
  2. Scrape the mortar mixture into a bowl deep enough for whisking and add the black pepper, mustard, lemon juice (or vinegar), soy sauce, and the remaining olive oil. Whisk until mixture is emulsified.
  3. Pour the marinade over the lamb if using for a leg or other large cut. Otherwise, place the lamb in a large resealable bag, add the marinade, seal, and massage to coat all of the meat.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours.

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Dak Naengchae

If you’re not fluent in Korean, the title translates to “Korean Chicken Salad (with Pine Nuts). And best news of all, it uses a supermarket precooked rotisserie chicken (at least my version). Other than a bit of chopping and measuring, you only have to use the stovetop to blanch the beans for a few minutes. I’ll toast to that!

Light, creamy, nutty,
and tangy

This Korean chicken salad is made with a traditional pine nut dressing—no mayonnaise. It is light, creamy, nutty, and tangy, and certainly a healthier option for you. Always toast the nuts lightly to bring out the flavor, and then either finely chop or, as in this recipe, grind them in a blender. The gochujang and mustard add robust flavors, while the acidity from lemon juice ties everything together, brightening the taste of the dressing.

A handheld mandoline makes quick work of shredding the
cucumber and cabbage into uniform-sized slices.

The original recipe indicates adding yellow mustard, but I went ahead and used Dijon. Other variations incorporate hot mustard, so it’s up to you which way to go. The Hubs thinks mixing Coleman’s brand hot mustard powder with vinegar would make a good acidic choice.

Korean Chicken Salad with Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. green beans, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup + 4 Tbsp. pine nuts, divided
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. gochujang
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded from a rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal

Directions

  1. Cook the green beans in a medium sauce pan of boiling salted water until bright green and crisp tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Drain, then chill in a bowl of ice water for 1 minute. Drain, then pat dry, cut in half and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a dry skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. In a blender, process 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of the toasted pine nuts to a coarse paste, scraping sides as needed, about 20 seconds.
  5. Add water, mustard, gochujang, lemon juice and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth and pourable, about 30 seconds.
  6. In a medium bowl, toss together shredded cabbage, green beans, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, the remaining dressing and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  7. Transfer the vegetables to a serving platter, spoon the chicken over the center and sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and scallion slices.

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Recipe compliments of Milk Streets “Tuesday Nights” series

Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets with Arugula, Carrot, and Celery Salad

Tarragon is the secret ingredient in the honey-mustard coating for these quick-cooking turkey cutlets. It adds lovely licorice notes that elevate without overwhelming.

Our turkey cutlets were obtained at Zook’s Meats in the Newtown Farmer’s Market. Inquiring at their meat counter if they had any turkey cutlets, the woman showed Russ a fresh boneless, skinless breast and suggested she could cut it down for us however we wanted. And she did just that at no extra cost.

IMG_5311
Each cutlet was placed between saran wrap and pounded thin.

IMG_5315
Once the cutlets were pounded, I realized they were too big and cut them in half.

I did still pound them down to about an 1/8″ thick. Then they were so large I cut each of three cutlets in half, producing six total. Unfortunately, I also had to make 50% more of the mustard marinade because the original amount only covered 4 pieces. We had enough tarragon growing in our herb garden so it was no bother to go out and cut some more.

To plate, we arranged a larger bed of the salad before placing the turkey cutlet on top. After which we crowned the meat with a smaller helping of salad. I knew I was going to like this dish based on the ingredients, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I did actually like it!

We had three cutlets left over, so the following evening (our usual leftovers night) I made more of the same arugula salad (love the peppery bite), slightly reheated the meat, and we had an instant dinner.

IMG_5309
Ingredients are prepped to make the salad.

IMG_5307
A mustard vinaigrette consists of whole-grain mustard, olive oil, honey, lemon juice, and tarragon.

IMG_5318
After dredging through flour, each cutlet is then washed in the mustard vinaigrette.

IMG_5322
The cutlets are browned for a few minutes on each side in a hot skillet.

IMG_5324
We plated ours with the salad on top and bottom of the meat.

Honey-Mustard Turkey Cutlets with Arugula, Carrot and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 4 6-oz. turkey cutlets, pounded to 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil; more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 oz. baby arugula (2 packed cups)
  • 2 medium celery ribs, trimmed and sliced 1/8 inch thick on the diagonal
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, the mustard, honey, 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, and 2 tsp. of the tarragon.
  2. Dredge each turkey cutlet in the flour mixture and then the mustard mixture. Transfer to a wax-paper- or parchment-lined baking sheet or tray.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. of the canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add two cutlets and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes total.
  4. Transfer to a clean plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining 1 Tbs. canola oil and the remaining cutlets.
  5. Whisk the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. lemon juice, cumin, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, celery, and carrots; toss with enough of the dressing to lightly coat.
  6. Serve the cutlets topped with the salad, sprinkled with the remaining tarragon, and drizzled with any remaining dressing.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Ronne Day from Fine Cooking

Mexican-Style Grilled Steak with Red Chile Salsa

To create a recipe for a carne asada platter that satisfies like the original, Cook’s Illustrated started with skirt steak. Alas, our supermarket was not carrying skirt steak at the time, but had some nice flank steaks, so that’s what we went with. Adapt and prosper, right?

Here, a dry salting promotes faster browning on the grill. Afterward you give the steak a squeeze of fresh lime before serving for an added dimension of flavor. To speed up charring even more and create a large enough area of concentrated heat to cook all four steaks at once, Cook’s Illustrated cut the bottom from a disposable aluminum roasting pan and used it to corral the coals. Not us. We didn’t even pound down the meat to a 1/4″. Just gas-grilled them after refrigeration and got a beautiful medium-rare after 4-5 minutes on each side to reach 130°.

Mexican-Style Grilled Steak

For heady garlic flavor, treat the cooked steaks like bruschetta, rubbing their rough crusts with a smashed garlic clove. And don’t forget to make the smoky, earthy guajillo Red Chile Salsa—it’s the perfect accompaniment to the steak. If you can’t locate the guajillos at your grocery store or specialty ethnic market, they are easily ordered online.

In addition, we made Simple Refried Beans from a can of pinto beans, chopped onion and garlic. Even though the instructions indicate to start with a nonstick skillet, we didn’t because the potato masher could mar the surface of the pan.

Mexican-Style Grilled Steak (Carne Asada)

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

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • (2-lb.) skirt steak, trimmed, pounded 1/4 inch thick and cut with grain into 4 equal steaks
  • (13″ x 9″) disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • Lime wedges

Directions

  1. Combine salt and cumin in small bowl. Sprinkle salt mixture evenly over both sides of steaks. Transfer steaks to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 45 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, if using charcoal, use kitchen shears to remove bottom of disposable pan and discard, reserving pan collar.
  3. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, place disposable pan collar in center of grill over bottom vent and pour coals into even layer in collar. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
  4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place steaks on grill (if using charcoal, arrange steaks over coals in collar) and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 2 to 4 minutes.
  5. Flip steaks and continue to cook until well browned on second side and meat registers 130 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes longer.
  6. Transfer steaks to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Rub garlic thoroughly over 1 side of steaks. Slice steaks against grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with lime wedges.

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Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Red Chile Salsa

Fire-roasted tomatoes are the secret ingredient in this salsa. They add smoky depth without adding extra work. Dried guajillo chiles are toasted and ground for rich, deep flavor. Vinegar and spices round out the mixture for a salsa that is smoky, spicy, and slightly tart.

A guajillo chile (in Spanish, meaning big pod) is the second-most commonly used dried chili in Mexican cuisine after poblanos (ancho). There are two main varieties that are distinguished by their size and heat factors. The guajillo puya is the smaller and hotter of the two. In contrast, the longer and wider guajillo has a more pronounced, richer flavor and is somewhat less spicy, which is what we used here.

Red Chile Salsa

  • Servings: makes 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ oz. dried guajillo chiles, wiped clean
  • (14.5-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • ½ tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • ⅛ tsp. pepper
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch ground cumin

Directions

  1. Toast guajillos in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until softened and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  2. Transfer to large plate and, when cool enough to handle, remove stems and seeds.
  3. Place guajillos in blender and process until finely ground, 60 to 90 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.
  4. Add tomatoes and their juice, water, salt, garlic, vinegar, oregano, pepper, clove, and cumin to blender and process until very smooth, 60 to 90 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed. (Salsa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)

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Simple Refried Beans

A couple of slices of bacon fat gives the beans meaty depth. Onions and garlic provide savory notes, while the rich canning liquid from pinto beans helps to create a silky texture and a rich flavor. Mash the beans with a potato masher for a partly smooth, partly chunky texture.

Ingredients

  • bacon, 2 slices
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can pinto beans (do not drain)
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Heat bacon in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, 7 to 10 minutes, flipping bacon halfway through. Remove bacon and reserve for another use (or eat as a snack while finishing dinner 😉 ).
  2. Increase heat to medium, add onion to fat in skillet, and cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add beans and their liquid and water and bring to simmer. Cook, mashing beans with potato masher, until mixture is mostly smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Season with salt to taste, and serve.

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Salsa and beans recipes are both from Cook’s Illustrated