Tag Archives: keto-friendly

Chicken alla Diavolo with Broccoli

Here’s a one-pan meal that has risen to the top of our list—pretty much after one bite! The chicken was amazingly moist and juicy, the broccoli florets cooked just right, and the hot, sour and vinegary peperonicini-garlic topping was a WOW factor!

The chicken for Italian pollo alla diavola, or devil’s-style chicken, usually is spatchcocked and grilled. The name is a reference to cooking the chicken over flames and/or the seasonings that make the bird diabolically spicy.

For this easy weeknight version, Milk Street quick-cooks chicken parts instead of a whole bird, seasons them generously with both red pepper flakes and black pepper, then roasts them on a baking sheet in a very hot oven. The broccoli florets also get tossed onto the baking sheet for a complete one-pan dinner. A simple garlic-lemon pan sauce spiked with peperoncini finishes the dish and adds another layer of piquancy.

We used a whole 4-pound-plus chicken. First because, we both prefer different meat options; and secondly because we like to have the extra parts, neck, back, gizards, ect. for our “body bag” which we store in the freezer until such time we need to make homemade chicken stock again. And a whole chicken is typically cheaper than buying the sum of its parts separately. But, yes it is a bit more work. If you prefer to buy already cut up thighs, and or breasts, by all means, do so.

About that broccoli. Don’t cut the crowns into small florets. Keep them in largish 3-inch pieces so they don’t overcook. The baking sheet will be crowded after the broccoli is added, but both the chicken and broccoli reduce in size during cooking.

Two steps not mentioned in the original directions, but that we think are necessary is to, first, massage the chicken parts with oil so that the rub will adhere to the skin. Second, oil the center of the rimmed baking sheet where the garlic cloves will be, and then drizzle a bit more oil over the cloves.

Chicken alla Diavolo with Broccoli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 12-oz. bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • ¼ cup plus Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lbs. broccoli crowns, cut into 3-inch florets
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • ½ cup chopped drained peperonicini
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh oregano, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the thyme, pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons each salt and black pepper. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the mix onto all sides of the chicken. To the remaining seasoning mix in the bowl, add the ¼ cup oil and the broccoli, then toss to coat.
  3. Place the garlic in the center of a rimmed baking sheet, then arrange the chicken, skin up, around the garlic; this placement helps prevent the garlic from scorching during roasting. Arrange the broccoli in an even layer around the chicken. Roast until the thickest part of the breasts (if using) reaches 160°F and the thickest part of the thighs (if using) reaches 175°F, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using tongs, transfer the chicken and broccoli to a serving platter. Transfer the garlic to a medium bowl and, using a fork, mash to a rough paste.
  5. Carefully pour ¼ cup water onto the baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Pour the pan juices over the garlic and add the lemon zest and peperoncini, then whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the sauce over the chicken and broccoli, then sprinkle with oregano. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Savory Spiced Pecans

When it comes to snacking, this gal sits deep in the camp of the spicy and savory. I had about a half-pound of pecans that I wanted to spice up—without sugar, as many candied varieties include. I found just what I was looking for on kitchn.com, and now consider myself an addict (The Hubs too!).

While the recipe below is for a whole pound, I only made half of it, mainly because that’s the amount of nuts we had on hand. It was New Year’s Eve and we were spending the evening home alone, so I made this as one of our treats for the celebration. Well, we couldn’t stop ourselves from munching on them during the afternoon, so I had to hide them from ourselves until party time!

There is no denying the power of the pecan, and here are a few reasons why according to American Heart Association. Pecans reduce the risk of heart disease with an abundance of “good” heart healthy fats. These unsaturated fats can have a protective effect by lowering total blood cholesterol when eaten in moderation.

They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals—including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber. Also, a natural, high-quality source of protein they contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol and are naturally sodium-free.

And if that isn’t enough, pecans, especially these, are just so dang good!

recipe title=”Savory Spiced Pecans” servings=”Yields 4 cups” time=”25 min” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients

  • 4 cups (1 lb.) pecans halves
  • 1/3 cup (5 1/3 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place the pecans in a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, ground mustard, Tabasco, and cayenne.
  4. Pour the butter mixture over the pecans and stir until well combined. Taste a pecan and add more Tabasco or cayenne if desired.
  5. Arrange the pecans on a large sheet pan and bake for 20-22 minutes until toasted and lightly browned, stirring halfway cooking time to prevent burning.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely, tossing occasionally, before transferring to an airtight container.

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[/recipe]

Adapted from a recipe by Nealey Dozier for ktchn.com

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

While we know salmon isn’t a Mediterranean fish, this recipe riff from “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence,” uses high-impact Provençal ingredients which are an ideal match for the rich, meaty fillets. Here, steamed fish sits atop a bed of sliced fennel to add sweet, licorice-like perfume; after cooking, the tender-crisp slices make a delicious accompaniment.

The sharp flavors of the warm olive, caper and lemon vinaigrette complement both fish and fennel. Cook the salmon to medium doneness—that is, until only the center is translucent. For well-done fillets, steam the fish for a couple minutes longer than indicated.

If you prefer white fish over salmon, thick fillets of striped bass or sea bass work well, but increase the steaming time to about 10 minutes. No matter the type of fish you choose, try to select fillets of equal thickness so they cook at the same rate.

Don’t uncover the pot while the fish is steaming, as loss of steam will slow the cooking. Instead, simply set a timer (or tell Alexa to remind you 😉 ). Note to the wise: When opening the pot, angle the lid away from you to avoid a burst of steam to the face.

We chose broccoli rabe as the other side dish. By par-boiling it first, much of the bitterness is eradicated. Once chilled in an ice bath and drained, any extra moisture is wrung out in a clean dish towel. A little garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes give it a boost of flavor when reheated in a pan.

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 lb. total), halved, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 6-oz. salmon fillets, each about 1 inch thick
  • 6 sprigs dill, plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside. Season the salmon all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a folding steamer basket in a large Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pot without submerging the basket. Remove the basket. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  3. Line the basket with the fennel. Place the salmon skin down on the fennel, then lay the dill sprigs on the fillets. Turn off the heat under the pot, then set the basket in it. Cover and return to a simmer over medium. Steam until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 115°F to 120°F (for medium doneness), 7 to 9 minutes; the fennel should be tender but not completely soft.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the olives, capers, oil and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, just until sizzling gently, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, just until warm, another 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  6. When the salmon is done, remove and discard the dill sprigs. Using a metal spatula, transfer the fennel and fillets, skin down, to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped dill, then spoon on the warm sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe found in Milk Street; original by “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence”

Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde

This is a great meal for a slow, cool Sunday afternoon—provided you have an immersion circulator for the sous vide process. If you don’t own one, Christmas is coming up and it could make your list—just sayin’. Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, refers to the process of vacuum-sealing food in a bag, then cooking it to a very precise temperature in a water bath. This technique produces wonderful results that are impossible to achieve through any other cooking method.

The benefits:

Consistency. Because you cook your food to a precise temperature for a precise amount of time, you can expect very consistent results. Taste. Food cooks in its juices. This ensures that the food is moist, juicy and tender. Waste reduction. Traditionally prepared food dries out and results in waste. For example, on average, traditionally cooked steak loses up to 40% of its volume due to drying out. Steak cooked via precision cooking, loses none of its volume. Flexibility. Traditional cooking can require your constant attention. Precision cooking brings food to an exact temperature and holds it. There is no worry about overcooking.

It’s actually very affordable and easy to get started with sous vide cooking thanks to the recent availability of sous vide devices built for the home cook. We own a Joule which is the smallest sous vide tool on the market. But it’s also the most powerful. It heats to the perfect temperature—no more, no less—which means that your proteins won’t overcook, ever. Even if they cook for extra time. 

As far as this recipe, by all means, feel free to use whatever dried herbs you happen to have on hand. Don’t have coriander? No biggie. Only have dried rosemary? Don’t sweat it. Create a taste profile that suits your own preferences. The amounts below indicate how much overall you’ll need.

To begin, season the leg of lamb liberally on both sides with kosher salt. Lay with the fat cap side down and score the top with a sharp pairing knife by dragging the knife across in diagonal lines both ways. Rub your herb mixture all over the scored side. Roll it up, and secure in place with butcher’s twine. Simply, vacuum seal the rolled leg of lamb and she’s ready for her water bath.

Our roast was only 2 1⁄2 pounds and we got 4-5 servings out of it, so a 5-pounder would yield 8-10 servings. It was delicious! We prefer our lamb medium-rare, but if you like yours less pink, adjust the immersion circulator to preheat the water bath temperature as needed.

Sous Vide Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the lamb:

  • 3-5 lb. boneless leg of lamb
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Leaves of 1 rosemary sprig
  • Leaves of 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Ghee or butter for searing

For the salsa verde (optional):

  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. flaked sea salt
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions

  1. Using your immersion circulator, preheat water bath to 130° F.
  2. Add all the ingredients except the lamb, ghee, and salsa verde ingredients to a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to grind them into a paste.
  3. Season the leg of lamb liberally on both sides with additional kosher salt. Lay with the fat cap side down (you can trim this if you want) and score the top with a sharp pairing knife (this means dragging the knife across in diagonal lines both ways).
  4. Rub the herb mixture all over the scored side. Roll it up, and secure in place with butcher’s twine.
  5. Vacuum seal the rolled leg of lamb or add to a gallon-sized zipper top bag and remove all the air. Add to preheated water bath and cook for 3-5 hours.
  6. When done, remove from the water bath and bag. Pat leg of lamb as dry as possible with paper towels.
  7. Get a cast iron skillet searing hot—as hot as possible—and add enough ghee to coat the skillet. Sear the leg of lamb on all sides until golden brown. You may need to prop up the lamb roast with tongs to make sure it is browned all over.
  8. Let the leg of lamb rest for a moment on the cutting board. Prep the salsa verde by mixing together all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  9. Remove the twine from the leg of lamb and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Top with salsa verde and serve!

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from Chelsea Cole, food blogger for A Duck’s Oven

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Spinach artichoke chicken is an easy and delicious keto skillet recipe. It features crispy chicken thighs in a rich cream sauce with spinach, artichokes, garlic, and parmesan. However, the original recipe only called for half (which we deemed too paltry) of the spinach and artichokes so we doubled that, as noted in the list below. Also, we added two more thighs to total eight, allowing two per person for a dinner feeding four.

This AMAZING recipe takes all the rich flavors of a great spinach artichoke dip and turns it into a full meal. And it’s an easy one pan recipe that’s ready in about an hour. Truly delicious! Typically, I am more of a white meat fan, while The Hubs prefers dark meat. Next time I may include a mix of thighs and chicken breast quarters, but again, maybe not…

Instead of frozen, fresh spinach works in this recipe as well. You obviously won’t need to thaw and squeeze it; simply chop it up and stir it into the sauce before transferring the dish to the oven.

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 12 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pat the chicken thighs dry and sprinkle all over with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large (at least 12″) ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. (Our chicken skin took 8 minutes to get a nice golden brown.)
  3. Flip the thighs over and cook another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Drain most of the fat from the pan and discard.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and Parmesan and continue to cook until slightly thickened, another minute or two.
  6. Stir in the chopped artichokes and the spinach until well combined. Place the chicken thighs on top of the cream sauce and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to a temp of 170° to 175°, and the sauce is bubbling.

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Roughly adapted from an online recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops Greek-Style

Shoulder chops aren’t the most tender, but they truly have great lamb flavor. Plus, they are far less expensive than other types of lamb chops. The steaks are usually rather thin, therefore make sure you have a hot fire ready so they get a good sear on the outside before they have a chance to overcook on the inside.

Lamb and grilling are a classic combination in Greek cookery. In just minutes over a hot fire, they are nearly ready to serve with that quintessential Greek flavoring combination of fresh oregano, fresh lemon juice, really good olive oil, and just a touch of garlic. Simple is, as simple gets.

To complete the meal we roasted some baby Yukon potatoes which benefited from some of that oregano-garlic sauce; and a side of Roasted Green Beans with Pecorino and Pine Nuts which are mixed with oil, salt, pepper, and a tad of sugar to enhance caramelization.

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Chops Greek-Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Four 10- to 12-ounce lamb shoulder blade chops, 1/2 inch to 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. roughly chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to hot.
  2. Dry the chops with paper towels and sprinkle them generously with salt and pepper. Place the chops on the grill and cook until well seared, 3 to 4 minutes per side. To check for doneness, use an instant-read thermometer. The chops are rare at 120°F, medium rare at 125°F, medium at 130°F, and well done at 145°F and higher. FYI, lamb can take on a gamey flavor when cooked past medium.
  3. When the chops are done, remove them from the grill, cover them loosely with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, and garlic and mix well.
  5. Spoon the garlic mixture over the lamb chops, squeeze the lemon on top of them, and serve hot.

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Recipe by John Willoughby and Christopher Schlesinger

Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

We love all things mushrooms, but I know they are not everyone’s cup of tea. However you might be enticed to try this rich, woodsy side dish with combined straightforward creminis and meaty, smoky shiitakes.

To ensure that the mushrooms are evenly seasoned and stay moist during roasting, they are brined in a saltwater solution. This went against everything we’ve ever read about preparing mushrooms, but we gave it a whirl. A glass pie plate was put over the soaking mushrooms to keep them submerged in the brine.

The ‘shrooms are roasted in a hot oven for about an hour until they are deeply browned. Then they’re coated in extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice before adding the flavorful mix-ins of grated Parmesan, parsley, and pine nuts.

Oh yeah Babe, this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen was divine. Served with grilled tomatoes and strip steaks, we felt like royalty on a weeknight!

Roasted Mushrooms with Parmesan and Pine Nuts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and left whole if small, halved if medium, or quartered if large
  • 1 lb. shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps larger than 3 inches halved
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Dissolve 5 teaspoons salt in 2 quarts room-temperature water in large container. Add cremini mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms to brine, cover with plate or bowl to submerge, and let stand for 10 minutes
  3. Drain mushrooms in colander and pat dry with paper towels. Spread mushrooms evenly on rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, and toss to coat. Roast until liquid from mushrooms has completely evaporated, 35 to 45 minutes.
  4. Remove sheet from oven (be careful of escaping steam when opening oven) and, using thin metal spatula, carefully stir mushrooms. Return to oven and continue to roast until mushrooms are deeply browned, 5 to 10 minutes longer.
  5. Combine remaining olive oil and lemon juice in large bowl. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Add Parmesan, pine nuts, and parsley and toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Mediterranean Lamb and Veggie Skewers

Lamb and Veggie Kebabs with an adventurous marinade consisting of onions, garlic, and trio of warm spices give the skewers a bold Middle Eastern flavor that is bound to grab your attention.

When marinating lamb, no need to be shy with flavors that will compliment its rich and assertive flavor. But it is equally important to use a marinade that will also help tenderize the meat while imparting character. This is especially true if you are using lamb shoulder or boneless leg of lamb as opposed to lamb loin fillet, which is more tender.

To make the marinade, combine onion, garlic, spices, fresh parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and zest in a food processor. Blitz until everything is well-incorporated and you have a thick onion mixture.

Because the veggies and meat require varying cooking times, I divide them into 3 categories—and 3 ziploc bags. First the meat cubes, then the tomatoes and mushroom caps, and finally the red onion and bell pepper pieces which take the longest to cook. Refrigerate all three bags for up to 2 hours. As the grill heats, thread metal skewers with the bag contents.

We served our skewers over a bed of tri-colored couscous, but if your counting carbs, gluten-free, or following a keto-friendly diet, you may want to skip it. Add lemon wedges for serving.

recipe title=”Mediterranean Lamb and Veggie Skewers” servings=”4-6″ time=”40 min + marinating time” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. boneless leg of lamb
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb. cherry (cocktail) tomatoes
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 1 yellow, 1 orange bell pepper, cut into 8 chucks each
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges, root intact
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

For the Marinade

  • 2 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. cardamom
  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2⁄3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Cut the lamb into 1 to 1 ½ -inch cubes or pieces and put them in a large ziploc. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, combine the onion, garlic, spices, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice and zest. Cover and run the processor until everything is finely chopped (you should end up with a thick onion marinade).
  3. Divide the mixture into three equal portions and pour the first over the lamb and mix well to make sure all the lamb is well coated with the marinade. Repeat with the other two bags of veggies.
  4. Cover and refrigerate all 3 bags for up to 2 hours. (If you do not have time, leave the kebabs to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes).
  5. Brush the grates of a gas grill (or an indoor griddle) with oil and heat.
  6. Shake excess marinade off and thread the lamb pieces on some long metal skewers, allowing a little room between pieces. (Flat metal skewers are best, but wooden skewers soaked in water will also work).
  7. Repeat with the tomatoes and mushroom caps, and then the bell pepper and onion pieces.
  8. Assemble the bell pepper/onion skewers on the hot grill first. After 10 minutes, add the tomato skewers. Turn all skewers every few minutes as they begin to char.
  9. After five minutes more, add the lamb kebabs. Grill over high heat, turning each kabob one-quarter turn every couple minutes, until the meat is browned all over, anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes, depending on how well you like your lamb cooked (5 minutes on our grill produced medium-rare kebabs).
  10. Remove all skewers at the same time. Slide all contents onto a large platter and pass around to each dinner guest. Plate with couscous, if using, and lemon wedges.

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[/recipe]

Loosely adapted from a recipe by The Mediterranean Dish

Andalusian-Style Tomato Salad with Olive Oil Tuna

With tomatoes at the height of their season, this fabulous salad hits all the right notes. No cooking, easy to prep, and tasty as all get out—providing you use great tomatoes. All we needed was one because the heirloom that we picked up at the local farmer’s market weighed in at a whopping 1 1⁄2 pounds and was bright red all the way through!

According to the Milk Street article where this recipe came from, pipirrana is a summery, tomato-centric salad from Andalusia in southern Spain. Consider it gazpacho in chopped-salad form. Their version of pipirran con atún, includes tuna, and hard-cooked eggs, making the dish hearty enough to be a satisfying main course. The vegetables are left in largish chunks instead of a fine dice, as is common. The onion is thinly sliced and steeped in sherry vinegar for a few minutes to tame its bite.

One thing you want to stay away from here is canned tuna packed in water. The flavor of tuna in olive oil is richer and its texture more velvety. And by all means, when you drain the tuna, do it over a bowl and use it when making the vinaigrette, adding olive oil as needed to make up the difference. Don’t know why most recipes fail to mention this step.

We drained the pickled onions directly over the bowl holding the tuna olive oil. This is used to make the vinaigrette that dresses the salad. We were blown over by how good this simple salad was—made even better with a chilled glass of crisp Spanish white wine.

Andalusian-Style Tomato Salad with Olive Oil Tuna

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 2 5-oz. cans olive oil–packed tuna, drained and flaked into small pieces (don’t discard the olive oil from the tuna can, save it to make the vinaigrette)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber and ½ teaspoon salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Let both stand for about 10 minutes.
  2. Place a large strainer over the bowl containing the oil from the canned tuna. Pour the onion slices and their juices into the strainer, pressing down to remove most of the vinegar. Add the drained onions to the tomato-cucumber mixture.
  3. Add the bell pepper, capers and tuna to the vegetables, lightly stir.
  4. To the vinegar oil mixture, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the egg wedges.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Grilled Pork Chop for Two

It’s likely you’ll have the ingredients for the wet spice rub already in your pantry. Among them would be paprika, which lends a fiery red-orange color, not to mention a sweet and slightly fruity taste with very mild heat.

While this approach uses one thick pork chop, you could use two thinner chops (I wouldn’t go less than one-inch thick); just be sure to keep a close eyeball on the temperature because they will get done much sooner.

Well, as luck would have it, tornadoes were in the area with two actually touching down only miles from our house. Just as The Hubs took the chop off the grill pan to let it rest, we were instructed to take cover immediately, so we spent about 15 minutes down the basement before getting the all clear—but at least the meat got to rest!

We served our pork with a side of Avocado Cucumber Salad and a few Truffled Pasta Purses.

As you can decipher from the stormy weather, we were not able to use our outside grill, so we took the next best option and that would be “Grilliam” our cast-iron grill pan. It works basically on the same principal as a gas grill, with grate marks and all!

Grilled Pork Chop for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp.  garlic powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. each oregano, salt, and pepper
  • 1 1-3⁄4″ to 2″ (about 1.5 lbs.) boneless pork chops

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper until a thick paste forms.
  2. Coat both sides of the pork chop in the paste and set it aside on a plate, or in a ziploc bag, to marinate while you warm up the grill—or for up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-high.
  4. Grill your pork chop for 10-12 minutes per side with lid down, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees (test with an instant-read thermometer). After removing from the grill, let rest on a moated cutting board for 5 minutes tented with foil.
  5. Slice against the grain in 1⁄2-inch slices, arrange on a platter and pour over any accumulated juices.

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Citrus Basil Shrimp Kebabs

These babies are lickety-split fast, extremely simple, and so freakin’ yummy! In fact, keep this marinade in mind for poultry as well. You may decide to try other herbs in place of the basil, like oregano, tarragon or chives; or also give them a sprinkle of fresh herbs at the end.

It was the perfect appetizer to bring for a small dinner party at our friends, Mr. and Mrs, Z. The evening could not have been lovelier as we were sitting outside sipping some wine and marveling at the well-manicured gardens. We transported the soaked wooden skewers, marinating shrimp and a sprig of basil leaves along with the perfect sized platter. All that needed to be done when the four of us were ready for a nosh, was to preheat the grill and thread the 20 shrimp onto the skewers—evenly distributed at 5 apiece.

Within minutes on the grill, the shrimp were done and the feast could begin… Speaking of feast, I have to give a shout out to our hosts for the fantastic meal! Mrs. Z. made a leg of lamb that was to die for, accompanied by a tasty potato salad, an incredible watermelon and arugula salad, asparagus, green bean and tomato salad, and a wonderful summery dessert of nectarines over blueberry compote topped with vanilla ice cream all artfully presented in parfait glasses. A dinner to remember for sure…

But I digress, back to the original post which is the featured shrimp kebabs…

Citrus Basil Shrimp Kebabs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
  • ½ tsp. grated fresh orange zest
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, tails left on

Directions

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2.  Soak four 12-inch wooden skewers in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the orange juice, lemon or lime juice, orange zest, garlic, olive oil, basil, and salt and pepper until well blended. 
  4. Add the shrimp and mixture to a large ziploc bag, seal and mush around to coat. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the broiler or grill. Skewer the shrimp, dividing them evenly between the skewers. Discard any remaining marinade. Broil or grill for about 4-6 minutes total, turning once as they brown, until they are just cooked throughout.

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Adapted from a recipe by Katie Workman

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

This pesto chicken recipe takes a three-pronged approach, compliments of Cook’s Country. Starting with a batch of homemade pesto, a portion is thickened with extra Parmesan cheese to make a stuffing for the bone-in, skin-on breasts. A cheese-less portion of the pesto functions as a marinade, flavoring the outside of the meat. Finally, cheesy pesto, thinned out to sauce consistency, is served with the chicken for one final hit of fresh basil flavor.

I am a white meat fan when it comes to chicken, while The Hubs prefers the dark meat which he believes to be juicier. While I can’t always argue with that logic, I do know that with the skin and bones of the breast pieces intact, the more succulent the meat will be.

Our poultry breasts weighed in at 15 ounces or so, a bit more than the 12-ounce pieces listed in the ingredients. In fact, one of them was larger than the other three and actually took an additional 7 minutes to come to temperature, so keep a close eyeball on the internal temps with an instant-read thermometer, especially if they are varying sizes.

Brimming with fresh basil, this recipe was a perfect opportunity to cut it back mid-season from our herb garden, encouraging robustness for the remainder of the season. And while the directions indicate to marinate the breasts in the pesto sauce in a bowl for one hour, I let them get happy in a large glass baking dish for three hours in the refrigerator wrapped tightly with saran wrap.

Results? The Hubs LOVED them! That’s big praise coming from a guy who steadfastly prefers the dark meat of the thighs and legs. He couldn’t believe how moist the white meat remained and how flavorful the overall pesto approach was. “Let’s make this for company” he sang, and I thought yes, let’s!

Note: that the pesto base is divided into three separate mixtures for marinating, stuffing, and saucing the grilled chicken.

Grilled Pesto Chicken Breasts

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. lemon juice, about 1/2 large lemon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 4 (12-oz.) split bone-in chicken breasts, trimmed

Directions

  1. Process basil, ½ cup oil, garlic, lemon juice, and ¾ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as needed. Remove ¼ cup pesto from processor and reserve for marinating chicken.
  2. Add Parmesan to pesto in processor and pulse until incorporated, about 3 pulses. Remove ¼ cup Parmesan pesto from processor and reserve for stuffing chicken.
  3. Add remaining ¼ cup oil to Parmesan pesto in processor and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses; set aside for saucing cooked chicken.
  4. Starting on thick side of breast, closest to breastbone, cut horizontal pocket in each breast, stopping ½ inch from edge so halves remain attached. Season chicken, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of Parmesan pesto reserved for stuffing in pocket of each breast. Evenly space 2 pieces of kitchen twine (each 12 inches long) beneath each breast and tie to secure breast, trimming any excess twine.
  6. Place stuffed breasts in bowl and add pesto reserved for marinating. Rub pesto all over chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. 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, pour evenly over half of grill. 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. Turn all burners to medium-low. (Adjust burners as needed to maintain grill temperature of 350 degrees.)
  8. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chicken, skin side up, on grill (over cool side if using charcoal). Cover and cook until chicken registers 155 degrees, 25 to 35 minutes.
  9. Flip chicken skin side down. If using charcoal, slide chicken to hot part of grill. If using gas, turn all burners to medium-high. (Our grill is very hot, so I only turned up the heat to medium.) Cover and cook until well browned and chicken registers 160 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Transfer chicken to platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove twine from chicken and carve meat from bone. Serve, passing Parmesan pesto sauce separately.

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Adapted from a recipe for Cook’s Country

Leftover chicken salad enjoyed poolside.

BTW, if you are lucky enough to have some leftover breasts, make a chicken pesto salad. When cooled, remove the cooked meat from the skin and bones. Either shred it, or cut it up in small chunks (it will still contain the pesto stuffing).

In a mixing bowl, add the chunked chicken, small diced celery, thinly sliced scallions, mayonnaise and more of the pesto topping. Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use. We served ours the next day for lunch over Bibb lettuce and topped with sliced yellow and red bell peppers and more sliced scallions.

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

Our vegetable garden was brimming with an assortment of aromatic herbs and one of them that exploded recently was the tarragon. We often pair tarragon with chicken but thought perhaps steak might make a good companion for a change.

Never used tarragon? It is a leafy green herb that is highly aromatic with a subtle licorice flavor. It adds a fresh, spring taste and a bit of elegance to a variety of recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, fish, chicken, and in this case, a steak dish. In France, it is referred to as “the king of herbs” because of its ability to elevate a dish, and is one of the four herbs in the French mixture fines herbes, a combination of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives.

While the cooking time for this recipe is minimal, you want to make sure you leave ample time to marinate the meat so that it gets all happy in those flavors of mustard, white wine, scallions and of course, tarragon.

From mid- to late-summer we often pair our grilled entrées with fresh picked corn and locally grown tomatoes, and this was no exception. The basil was just plucked from our herb garden for the caprese salad, which is also where the tarragon came from.

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 2-lb. flank steak
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon or grainy Dijon mustard work really well for this)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

  1. Combine oil, wine, mustard, scallions and chopped tarragon in a zipper plastic bag. Add steak, seal bag and rotate until steak is coated.
  2. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours and up to overnight, turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. Heat grill to high. Reserve some marinade for basting, discard the rest. Grill steak for 5 minutes per side for medium rare, 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
  4. Rest steak on a moated carving board under foil for 10 minutes (don’t skip this step) and then thinly slice at an angle and against the grain. Arrange on a platter and drizzle any accumulated juices over meat. Serve at once.

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Adapted from recipe for FramedCooks.com

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

The beauty of this marinade recipe is that it is used for both the meat and vegetable skewers. We almost always thread the meat on separate skewers from the vegetables because the cooking times are so drastically different. The veggies will take about 20 minutes, while the beef is done in 5-8 minutes, depending on your preference.

And while you can get away with only marinating the meat for one hour (that’s the time limit for your veggies), the flavor penetrates the beef at a much more satisfying taste if you leave it in a ziploc overnight—or say, at least 8 hours.

If you’re not counting carbs, tri-colored couscous makes a fine dining companion for the skewers of meat and vegetables. Make it with beef bullion instead of water for an even beefier taste!

Marinated Beef Kebabs and Veggie Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. top sirloin beef, cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper (or 1/2 of each), cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled with root intact, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1″-thick rounds
  • 12 large button mushrooms, stems removed

MARINADE

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Sriracha, a few dashes to taste

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl, then divide into two ziploc gallon-sized bags.
  2. Add the chunks of beef to one bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the other bagged marinade for the veggies, store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. One hour before preheating grill, put cut vegetables into remaining marinade. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for one hour.
  4. Preheat grill to high on all burners.
  5. Thread beef chunks onto 3-4 skewers. Alternate the vegetables on 4 skewers. Place all skewers on a large rimmed baking sheet. Reserve leftover marinade for basting purposes.
  6. Grill the veggie skewers for 15 minutes, turning and basting occasionally with leftover marinade. Leave on grill until meat is done, continuing to baste with marinade.
  7. Now place beef kebabs on grill, turning and basting occasionally. With an instant-read thermometer, check after 4 minutes for doneness. Ours were perfectly medium-rare after only 4 1/2 minutes!
  8. Remove skewers from grill to baking sheet and cover loosely with foil for 5 minutes allowing the juices to redistribute.
  9. The meat can be removed from skewers onto a platter and passed around the table, while each diner gets one skewer of vegetables.

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Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

There’s just something about grilled tuna steaks that screams summer to me. This super-easy, no-fuss, dinner is perfect for a couple—but if doubled or tripled, fancy enough for company. Because it’s ready in 30 minutes from start-to-finish, you have ample time leftover to chill with a glass of wine, and/or enjoy your guests.

Then, how about a grilled romaine salad as a side dish? Slice a head in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place the cut-side down over high heat for two minutes. Dress with grape tomatoes, radish and cucumber slices, sliced scallions and your favorite dressing. I think ranch or blue cheese adds a nice counterpoint to the salty tartness of the butter sauce. Serve immediately.

Completing the meal was some grilled asparagus, making the meal healthy, low-carb, with added fiber and protein—not to mention great taste!

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Lemon-Caper Mustard Sauce

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 8 oz. tuna steaks, 3/4 inch thick
  • 2 Tbsp. tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon fresh juice, divided  
  • ½ tsp. lemon zest, grated  
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil for tuna
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Vegetable oil for grill grates
  • Fresh parsley for garnish, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat gas grill to high.
  2. Mix together butter, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, capers and a pinch of white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Brush tuna steaks with olive oil, sprinkle lightly with salt and white pepper. Drizzle remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice over fish.
  4. Brush vegetable oil on grates and place tuna steaks over the heat.
  5. Grill, turning once, until firm and opaque at center, about 10 to 12 minutes total for medium.
  6. Remove from heat and divide lemon-caper butter over top of each steak.
  7. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and leftover lemon wedges if you have them.

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