Tag Archives: main dish

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

Getting the consistency of the creamy mushroom sauce right is key for this pasta recipe. You want to reduce it just until it clings to the pappardelle to create a light coating; but be careful not to reduce it too much. To that end, don’t discard the pasta water after removing the pappardelle, you may need it to thin the dish when combining everything at the end (we did).

If you buy the prepackaged prosciutto, it is very thin and almost impossible to keep in one piece as you place in into the hot oil. It doesn’t really matter because in the end it gets crunched up anyway. Our mushroom mix consisted of oyster, cremini, and shiitakes. If unable to source pappardelle, fettuccine would be a comparable substitute.

We altered the amounts of a few ingredients. Instead of 12 ounces of pasta we decreased it to 8 ounces; and increased the prosciutto from 2 ounces to 4. These changes are noted in the list of ingredients below, however, you can decide what amounts work best for you.

Pappardelle with Mushrooms and Prosciutto

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto (about 6 slices)
  • 1 lb. mixed mushrooms (such as chanterelles, maitake, oyster, cremini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 8 oz. pappardelle or fettuccine
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium. Arrange prosciutto in a single layer in pot and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  2. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in same pot over high. Cook mushrooms, tossing occasionally, until browned and tender, 5–8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Add shallots and 1 tsp. thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes. Add stock and reduce heat to low. Bring to a simmer and cook until only a thin layer of stock coats bottom of pot, 5−7 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 3 minutes less than package directions.
  5. Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Crumble half of prosciutto into pot. Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add cream, return to a simmer, and cook, tossing, until pasta is coated, about 1 minute.
  6. If pasta sauce is thicker than prefered, add additional pasta water a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition until desired consistency is achieved. Remove from heat, add butter, and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.
  7. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more thyme and crumble remaining prosciutto over; season with pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Claire Saffitz for Bon Appétit

Chicken Escabeche

This Peruvian chicken escabeche is seasoned with aji amarillo, an orange-yellow chili ubiquitous to that country’s cuisine. In the U.S., the chilies are difficult to find fresh, but aji amarillo paste, sold in jars, is available in some well-stocked markets, specialty stores, or easily online. We purchased it online as a 3-pack with two other Peruvian pastes.

Escabeche is made by soaking meat or seafood in an acidic marinade after cooking, allowing the addition of bright flavors without altering the texture of the meat. The fruity, yet earthy flavor of aji amarillo is an important part of this dish, but if you cannot find the paste, use 1 or 2 seeded and finely minced jalapeños.

FYI–Don’t use regular chili powder instead of pure ancho chili powder. Regular chili powder is a spice blend, whereas ancho chili powder contains only ancho chilies. If you can’t find the powdered, grind some dried ancho chilies in a spice grinder, as shown above.

Because the skin was removed, you might encounter the chicken meat sticking to the pan. Try to pry most of it off the pan, but it is OK to leave some of the meat because it will make a nice fond and release itself once the liquids are added in. It was delicious served with the onion mixture on top of the thighs over a bed of garlic rice.

Chicken Escabeche

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs (4 thighs), skin removed, trimmed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced (1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo paste
  • 1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3 medium red onions, halved and sliced ¾-inch thick
  • 1 large orange bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook on each side, without disturbing, until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low and simmer until a skewer inserted into the largest thigh meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with foil. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil over high and cook until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium until shimmering. Add the garlic, aji amarillo paste, ancho chili and cumin, then cook, scraping the bottom, until browned and fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the onions, bell pepper, 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, then add the vinegar. Cook, stirring, until the onions have begun to soften and the sauce is just thick enough to coat the vegetables, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the reduced broth, bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring, until thickened to a glaze, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the reserved chicken. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes, then serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Julia Rackow for Milk Street

Pan-Seared Bone-In Pork Chops with Maple Agrodolce

To explain, agrodolce is an Italian sauce with a sticky consistency. Its name is Italian for “sour” (agro) and “sweet” (dolce). A classic agrodolce recipe contains reduced honey or sugar, vinegar, pine nuts, and a mixture of dried fruits and veggies, such as golden raisins, red onion, dried figs, or currants. The vinegar you use to make agrodolce impacts the flavor of the sauce. Here we used balsamic.

This simple sauce with limited ingredients is a quick agrodolce. Meats such as pork chops, chicken breasts, and steak benefit from a sauce with sweet-tart flavors post-grilling or pan-searing. And we paired our chops with a wonderful side of Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro.

*If desired and you have the time, season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.

Pan-Seared Bone-In Pork Chops with Maple Agrodolce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • (14- to 16-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops, 1½ inches thick, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Directions

  1. *Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours.
  2. Pat chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle both sides with pepper. Place chops 1 inch apart in cold 12-inch nonstick or carbon-steel skillet, arranging so narrow part of 1 chop is opposite wider part of second. Place skillet over high heat and cook chops for 2 minutes. Flip chops and cook on second side for 2 minutes. (Neither side of chops will be browned at this point.)
  3. Flip chops; reduce heat to medium; and continue to cook, flipping chops every 2 minutes, until exterior is well browned and meat registers 140 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Chops should be sizzling; if not, increase heat slightly. Reduce heat if skillet starts to smoke.)
  4. Transfer chops to carving board and let rest for 5 minutes. If serving more than 2 people, carve the meat from the bone and make slices about 1⁄2″ thick. Season meat with coarse or flake sea salt to taste. Serve with bones, if desired.

Maple Agrodolce

This easy, elegant sauce from Cook’s Illustrated is the perfect accompaniment to cuts of pork, such as the above Pan-Seared Thick-Cut, Bone-In Pork Chops. Using maple syrup as a sweetener in place of sugar contributed viscosity, enhancing cling, and an attractive glossiness. Plump raisins, or dried figs add pleasing texture, and minced shallot and red pepper flakes amp up the savoriness, keeping the sauce from becoming cloying.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallot
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped golden raisins OR dried figs, chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Pinch table salt

Directions

  1. Bring all ingredients to boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until reduced and slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes (sauce will continue to thicken as it cools).
  2. Serve. (If not using right away, cover to keep warm.)

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

We try as often as possible to include super foods, and in this recipe it’s cabbage. In fact, according to Wiki studies, cabbage has protective effects against colon cancer amongst many other diseases. Cabbage is also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and folate. That sounded like good enough reason to try this recipe.

It’s best to season the mixture with what you and your family prefer. I made the cumin and red pepper flakes as part of the ingredients and NOT optional. But if you feel on the adventurous side, you may want to consider including a little brown sugar, celery seed and/or add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.

Another one-pot wonder… The original recipe called for a small head of cabbage, but after making it, we both felt it could use a large head for a better meat to veggie ratio. A slice of toasted crusty bread with a garlic-butter sauce was a perfect compliment to the goulash.

Note: It may seem like you don’t have enough liquid at first but when the cabbage cooks down it will be perfect.

Ground Turkey Unstuffed Cabbage Roll Goulash

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground turkey, (or pork, or lamb, or beef)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 14.5 oz. cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 6 oz. vegetable or chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 to 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • A few leaves of chopped fresh basil

Directions

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or extra large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil and cook the onions until translucent. Cook beef or turkey meat and onion in the hot Dutch oven until browned.
  3. Drain and discard grease.
  4. Add the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, garlic, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, cumin, and fresh basil. Use fire roasted or flavored diced tomatoes for more flavor.
  5. Bring the ingredients to a boil.
  6. Cover Dutch oven, reduce heat and simmer until cabbage is tender. This will take about 30 minutes.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Loosely adapted from a recipe on isavea2z.com

Jamaican-Style Ginger-Chili Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

This Instant Pot take on a Jamaican-style Sunday meal was in a recent issue of Milk Street Magazine. It is adapted from “Caribbean Cooking Made Easy” by British-Jamaican reggae musician and chef Levi Roots.

Changes that Milk Street made included swapping in flavor-packed beef chuck and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, bolstered by bright chilies and ginger, savory scallions and earthy thyme. Then tomato paste and soy sauce added umami-rich depth, while brown sugar and warm allspice rounded everything out.

For faster, more even cooking, divide the chuck roast into two pieces by pulling it apart at its natural seams and trimming away excess fat. Tying both pieces with kitchen twine compacts the meat, allowing the roast to fit comfortably in the pot. You can pressure cook the beef quickly or slow cook it for a hands-off, all-day affair—regardless, it will emerge fragrant and fork tender. We did the fast method which took about 2 hours and 45 minutes, all said and done.

It’s difficult at best to find a 5-pound chuck roast, so if you have the same experience, just purchase two 2 1⁄2 pound roasts. Break each one down along the seam, remove large deposits of fat, then tie the two strips back together with kitchen twine.

Our habaneros were on the large size and I was a bit concerned they might be overwhelming. However, when the meal was ready for plating and we tasted the stew, the chili kick was mild and added a perfect depth of flavor.

Probably one of the few people on earth who don’t own an Instant Pot, we used our large pressure cooker which worked just as well. We both agreed, this was one wonderful pot roast, and the tender sweet potato chunks and velvety sauce just enhanced the meal even more! Full of fruity, sweet and spicy notes, this roast is great garnished with scallion greens or cilantro and served with a crisp, green salad.

Jamaican-Style Ginger-Chili Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately (reserve some greens as a garnish)
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 2 habanero chilies, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 5 lb. boneless beef chuck roast, separated at the seams into 2 pieces, trimmed of fat, the 2 pieces tied with kitchen twine at intervals
  • 1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice

Directions

  1. On a 6-quart Instant Pot, select More/High Sauté. Heat the oil until shimmering, then add the sugar, tomato paste, scallion whites, ginger, chilies and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce, thyme, allspice and ½ cup water, then nestle in the beef.
  2. Lock the lid in place and move the pressure valve to Sealing. Press Cancel, then press Pressure Cook or Manual; make sure the pressure level is set to High. Set the cooking time for 1 hour.
  3. When pressure cooking is complete, allow the pressure to reduce naturally for 25 minutes, then release the remaining steam by moving the pressure valve to Venting. Press Cancel, then carefully open the pot.
  4. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and tent with foil.
  5. Skim off and discard the fat from the cooking liquid. Stir in the sweet potatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Select Normal/Medium Sauté and cook until the potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Transfer the potatoes to a platter.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with 3 tablespoons water, then whisk the mixture into the cooking liquid. Add the scallion greens and simmer, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Press Cancel to turn off the pot.
  8. Remove and discard the thyme, then stir in the lime juice. Slice the beef and arrange on the platter, then pour on some sauce. Garnish the platter with some scallion greens or chopped cilantro, and serve the remaining sauce on the side.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from Milk Street Magazine

Herbed Roast Turkey with Gravy

Arguably, the most anticipated feasting day of the year in the U.S. is Thanksgiving. With just a few short weeks away, it’s time to start planning the meal(s). If turkey is at the bottom of your must-have meats because you think it is dry and tasteless, then you need to rethink your stance on the poultry subject with this recipe.

Not often (ever?) have we thought of serving a whole turkey with gravy on Super Bowl Sunday. But this recipe was under development and was intended for America’s Test Kitchen, Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country recipe testers only. That’s us, and we were under a deadline to get it done.

The meal was ready to eat just as half-time started… not bad timing… There are three options for the herb paste and we chose the Thyme-Fennel Paste. Keep in mind you need to make the paste and rub it under the skin of the turkey, and refrigerate the bird uncovered anywhere from 24 to 48 hours before you start cooking, so it takes a bit of planning on your end. We are debating which rub to make for this coming Thanksgiving. (List of rubs follows recipe.)

This process also requires a baking stone, and the success of the recipe is dependent on saturating the baking stone and roasting pan with heat. Luckily The Hubs received a rectangular one for Christmas a few months prior that fit perfectly under the roasting pan.

And don’t omit making the fabulous gravy, it brings everything on your plate altogether, and is so good you may be tempted to drink it…

Herbed Roast Turkey with Gravy

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 recipe herb paste (recipes follow)
  • 4 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 (12- to 14-lb.) turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for gravy
  • 2½ Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 carrot, sliced thin
  • 5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 5 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions

  1. Combine ¼ cup herb paste, 4 tablespoons salt, and 4 teaspoons sugar in bowl. Place turkey, breast side up, on counter. Using your fingers, carefully loosen skin covering breast and legs. Rub 2 tablespoons herb mixture under skin of each breast, 4 teaspoons under skin of each leg, and remaining herb mixture inside cavity. Tuck wings behind back and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Place turkey on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 to 48 hours.
  2. At least 30 minutes before roasting turkey, adjust oven rack to lowest position, set baking stone on rack, set roasting pan on baking stone, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
  3. Combine 1½ teaspoons oil and baking powder in small bowl. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Rub oil mixture evenly over turkey. Cover turkey breast with double layer of aluminum foil.
  4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil into roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, in pan and return pan to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and roast for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir 1 tablespoon herb paste into melted butter.
  6. Remove turkey from oven. Discard foil and brush herb butter evenly over turkey. Return turkey to oven, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and continue to roast until breast registers 160 degrees and drumsticks/thighs register 175 degrees, 1 to 1½ hours longer.
  7. Using a spatula, loosen turkey from roasting pan; transfer to carving board and let rest, uncovered, for 45 minutes. While turkey rests, using wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits from bottom of roasting pan. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Transfer drippings to fat separator and let rest for 10 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons fat and defatted liquid (you should have 1 cup; add water if necessary). Discard remaining fat.
  8. Heat reserved fat in large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add reserved neck and giblets and cook until well browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer neck and giblets to large plate. Reduce heat to medium; add onion and carrot, and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour is well coated with fat, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in reserved defatted liquid and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.
  9. Whisk in water, wine, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves. Return neck and giblets to pan and bring to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Discard neck. Strain gravy through fine-mesh strainer, discarding solids. Stir in remaining herb paste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl.
  10. Carve turkey and arrange on serving platter. Serve with gravy.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Herb Paste Options

Herbes de Provence-Lemon Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup herbes de Provence
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Thyme-Fennel Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground fennel
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Sage-Fenugreek Paste
Makes about 1/3 cup

→ Whole fenugreek seeds can be difficult to grind, it is strongly recommended to purchase the spice already ground.

  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1½ tablespoons ground fenugreek
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. pepper

Process all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides as necessary, until finely ground, about 30 seconds.

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Over the course of nearly 9 years writing this blog, I have posted numerous meatball recipes from many different cultures. Until The Hubs recently came across this one from The Mediterranean Dish, we had never heard of Soutzoukakia, football-shaped Greek meatballs.

Soutzoukakia is not an easy word to enunciate, so try this “soot-zoo-KAH-kee-ah”. Flavor-packed meatballs with loads of aromatics, fresh parsley, and a special blend of spices, including ground cumin and a touch of cinnamon baked in a rich tomato sauce.

Soutzoukakia are delicious meatballs made with ground beef, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and a unique spice combination, the star of which is cumin. The cumin’s warm and distinctive flavor with bitter, lemony undertones provides a great earthy base here. Adding to the flavor is the epic tomato sauce scented with bay, garlic and a touch of cinnamon.

The meatballs are baked in the sauce to create a dish that is comfort food at it’s finest. The secret to making great meatballs that are extra tender and juicy? Add pieces of milk-soaked bread and use a light hand when mixing and forming the meatballs. (With no whole wheat bread slices on hand, we incorporated a toasted hamburger roll.)

When you first eyeball all of the ingredients, you may say “No way!” But if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that 4 of those ingredients repeat in both the meatballs and in the sauce. Plus, there is no need to brown the meatballs, which is a time-saver in itself.

To make ahead, you can prep both the sauce and meatball mixture the day before. Mix the meatball mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to one day in advance. When you’re ready, form the meat into oblong shapes, place them in an oiled baking dish, and pour the sauce over. Bake and serve. Quickly cook up some rice or orzo and heap meatballs and sauce atop them. Dinner done.

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: Yields 16 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For Meatballs

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toast-size, toasted to a medium-brown (or use gluten free bread if you need)
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1½ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to grease the baking dish

For Red Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 30 oz. canned tomato sauce, that’s 2, 15-oz. cans of sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, place the toasted bread and cover with milk (or water) to soak. When bread is soft and well-soaked, squeeze the liquid out completely and discard remaining milk if any.
  2. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl. Add round beef and remaining meatball ingredients. Knead well until well-combined. Cover the meat mixture and rest in the fridge for now.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. While oven is heating, prepare the sauce. In a sauce pan or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring regularly.
  5. Now add red wine and cook to reduce by about ½, then add tomato sauce, bay leaf and remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Prepare a large baking dish and lightly oil the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Take the meat mixture out of the fridge. Wet your hands and scoop portions of about 2 ½ tablespoons of the meat mixture and form into large elongated meatballs (football-shaped). You should have 12 to 16 meatballs or so. Arrange meatballs in the papered baking dish and top with the sauce. Be sure to have removed the bay leaf from the sauce.
  8. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meatballs are well cooked through. Check part-way through to make sure sauce is not dry, and if needed, add a little bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Remove from oven and add another drizzle of EVOO. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or orzo.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted recipe from Suzy Karadsheh

Veggie-Forward Moussaka

“The classic rendering of moussaka with its plush eggplant; dense, earthy potatoes; meat sauce that’s warmed by spices; and satiny béchamel lavished across the top, add up to cozy yet sumptuous festival food for indulging family and friends.” And who doesn’t like to do that every now and again?

Yes, there are many versions, but no matter how it is made, it is a bit of a project. Back in late December 2021, we opted to make a test recipe sent to us from America’s Test Kitchen. It featured a vegetable-forward moussaka, and after we made it we had to fill out a survey regarding the pluses and minuses of making and tasting the dish.

When the article was finally published in the September/October issue of Cook’s Illustrated (CI), the ingredients, and amounts of each hadn’t changed at all.

One issue we mentioned in the survey, was the placing all of the potatoes in the dish and then shingling them. It was cumbersome at best. And in the recent article, CI did not make any changes to that particular step. In our opinion, taken from experience, is to place the spud slices in another bowl, and then when cool enough to handle, start shingling them into the prepared casserole dish.

Here are some notes worth reading prior to making the dish:

→ *Kasseri is a semi firm sheep’s-milk cheese from Greece. If it’s unavailable, substitute a mix of 3 ounces (¾ cup) grated provolone cheese and 1 ½ ounces (¾ cup) grated Pecorino Romano.
→ We like the richness of whole milk for this dish, but you can substitute 2 percent low-fat milk, if desired. Do not use skim milk.
→ Using a mandoline makes quick work of slicing the potatoes.
→ To accommodate all the components, use a baking dish that is at least 2¼ inches tall.

Final verdict? Distinct layers of velvety-firm potatoes; eggplant that was plush and savory; concentrated, fragrant sauce; and béchamel that baked up like a creamy, cheesy cloud! So find an afternoon and treat yourself…

Veggie-Forward Moussaka

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

Vegetables 

  • 3 ½ lbs. eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 
  • ½ cup, plus 2 tsp., plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 2 tsp. table salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 1 ½ lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, sliced crosswise ¼-inch thick 

Meat Sauce

  • 1 Tsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp. table salt 
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 lb. 80 percent lean ground beef 
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Béchamel

  • 6 Tbsp.unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • 4 oz. Kasseri* cheese, shredded (1 cup) 
  • ¼ tsp. table salt 
  • ⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten 

Directions

  1. FOR THE VEGETABLES: Adjust oven racks to middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Divide eggplant evenly among baking sheets. Toss each batch with ¼ cup oil, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, until evenly coated and spread eggplant into single layer. Roast until eggplant is softened and lightly browned, about 30 minutes, switching and rotating pans halfway through cooking. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
  2. While eggplant is cooking, grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish with 2 teaspoons oil. In medium bowl, toss potatoes with remaining 3 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and microwave until potatoes can be easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through microwaving. Transfer potatoes, along with any accumulated liquid, to prepared baking dish and let rest until cool enough to handle, 15 minutes. Shingle evenly in baking dish.
  3. FOR THE MEAT SAUCE: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally until just starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until paste darkens, about 2 minutes. Stir in wine, scraping up any browned bits from pan. Add paprika, oregano, pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and cook, stirring frequently until wine is almost completely evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add beef, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, breaking up pieces with spoon, until no pink remains, 4 to 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has almost completely evaporated and spoon leaves trail when dragged through sauce, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar, cover, and remove from heat.
  4. FOR THE BÉCHAMEL: Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick, smooth, and comes to boil, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cheese, ¼ teaspoon salt, and nutmeg. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in egg yolks and cover to keep warm.
  5. LAYERING: Cover potatoes with eggplant, lightly pressing into even layer. Spread meat sauce in even layer over eggplant. Top with Bechamel.
  6. Bake on middle rack until top of moussaka is deeply browned in spots and is bubbling at edges, about 30 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

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Original recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Pork Loin Roast with Gravy

Pork loin roasts up beautifully and finishing it with a little gravy made with the pan drippings adds that much more flavor. Such a perfect meal for cooler weather; make sure to have some mashed potatoes or noodles to ladle the fabulous gravy over. Given the simplicity of effort and the relatively few amount of ingredients, the depth of flavor is incredible!

A few notable tips for a perfect roast: It’s helpful to dry first with paper towels to remove extra moisture from exterior so it browns better. Don’t skip searing the pork loin for that extra added layer of flavor. It also seasons the drippings.

A pork loin should be cooked to 145 degrees in the center of the loin with a slightly pink color. Test temperature with a thermometer for doneness rather than guessing or basing it off color.; and be careful not to over-cook or it starts to dry. Finally, let rest before carving to allow juices to evenly distribute so they don’t just end up on the carving board.

To shorten the cooking time, if you have a convention oven option, lower the oven temp to 300°, and cook the meat in about 25% less time. An internal thermometer will let you know exactly when it’s done.

Pork Loin Roast

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Roast

  • 3 – 4 lb. pork loin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest or orange zest, optional

Gravy

  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • Pan drippings from roasting pan
  • 1 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use cast iron for nice browning).
  2. Dab pork loin dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet and brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes per side, including end caps, about 12 minutes total.
  4. Transfer pork to a plate. Let cool a few minutes so it’s not too hot to handle.
  5. Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic and citrus zest.
  6. Using hands spread mixture over roast (on all sides, note it doesn’t stick perfectly well and that’s ok if some falls from the sides, just sneak it under the roast to season it). Place meat back into skillet and roast with fat side up.
  7. Insert an oven probe thermometer into center of middle area of pork loin (if you don’t have one use a standard probe thermometer to test temperature occasionally).
  8. Bake pork in preheated oven until center registers 145 degrees on thermometer, about 50 to 70 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven, transfer to carving board. Tent roast with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare gravy in the same skillet.

For the gravy

  1. In previously used skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  2. While whisking slowly pour in chicken broth and drippings from roasting pan (you should have a few tablespoons, scrape up browned bits). Let cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir heavy cream in at the end if using.
  4. Slice roast to desired thickness (I like to slice somewhat thin). Serve with gravy atop slices.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for cookingclassy.com

Citrus Rosemary Chicken

Citrusy roast chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy are my go-to comfort food, especially on a cool Sunday afternoon. The meal conjures up fond memories from my formative years growing up in Michigan. According to chef/author Suzy Karadsheh, this simple twist on roast chicken makes a dish that is at once crisp and succulent, with the perfect balance of savory, tangy, and warm flavors! Delicious and impressive with a modicum of work involved. You had me at “roast chicken.”

I say bring it on with crisp, tangy, and succulent citrus rosemary chicken, seasoned Mediterranean-style with garlic, rosemary, and oregano, and covered in a bold wine and orange marinade. It is preferable to use split chicken or chicken pieces of similar size for even cooking. We used a whole chicken split in half for this recipe, but you can also use chicken breast or thighs, and you may have to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

As wine pairings go, many people choose white wine to serve next to chicken dinners. But roast chicken is one of those rustic meals that pairs incredibly well with certain red wines, such as Pinot Noir. The beautiful red fruit notes in Pinot compliment the rosemary and citrus flavors in the chicken without overwhelming the palate. And the smooth, lengthy finish is just perfection! To elevate the flavor even more, Suzy also uses some of the wine in the chicken marinade. 

The citrus marinade in this recipe is made of a combination of wine, orange juice, lime juice, olive oil, tomato paste for color and umami, and fresh garlic, onions, rosemary, and other Mediterranean spices. The key to great flavor here is to allow the chicken a good 1 to 2 hours in the marinade (refrigerated), and make sure to lift up the chicken skin to spoon some of the garlicky, citrus marinade underneath.

When the chicken was done, we plated it and the onions on a platter covered with foil. The remaining juices were added with a quart of homemade chicken stock to a pot; then thickened with a corn starch slurry when the liquids began to boil. To complete the meal, we made Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Butter Sauce and garlicky mashed potatoes with gravy.

Please note: Since the pan will go under the broiler at the end, make sure to use a broiler-proof pan such as enameled cast iron.

Citrus Rosemary Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 ½ lbs.), split in half through the backbone
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup Pinot Noir
  • 1 orange zested and juiced plus 1 sliced orange
  • 1 lime juiced, plus 1 sliced lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. Aleppo pepper
  • 7 to 8 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. honey

Directions

  1. Season the chicken with kosher salt on all sides, making sure to season underneath the skin as well. (You can do this one night ahead of time and keep the chicken in the fridge to air-chill uncovered).
  2. Prepare the citrus marinade. In a large bowl, add the wine, orange juice and zest, lime juice, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, tomato paste, spices, and a good dash of kosher salt. Add the garlic and onion. Whisk to combine.
  3. Add the chicken and toss to coat, making sure to lift the skin up and spoon some of the marinade underneath (this will give you more flavor). Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. Alternatively, cover and refrigerate for an hour or two (for best results, take it out of the fridge and leave the chicken at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before cooking).
  4. Preheat the oven to 425° F and adjust a rack in the middle.
  5. Transfer the chicken and the marinade to a braising pan. Roast for 30 minutes, then carefully turn the pan 180 degrees and roast for another 15 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender, with an internal temperature of the breast meat at 165°.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the honey with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Carefully remove the chicken from the oven and brush the top with the honey and olive oil mixture.
  7. Switch the oven to the broil function. Return the chicken back to the oven about 6 inches away from the broiler and cook briefly for 3 to 4 minutes, watching for the skin to turn a nice golden brown.
  8. Remove from the heat. Move chicken and onions to platter. Garnish with slices of fresh orange, wedges of lime and fresh herbs. Allow chicken 10 minutes to rest before slicing and serving.
  9. If desired, while the chicken rests, bring 1 quart of chicken stock and the pan juices to a boil, then add a cornstarch slurry to thicken the gravy.

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Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh for The Mediterranean Dish

Easy Eggplant Parm for Two

This is an incredibly tasty Eggplant Parm dish that has been streamlined not only for the number of people it feeds, but in its simplicity and amount of time it takes from start to finish. Some of the time-consuming steps have been omitted, such as salting the eggplant slices to reduce bitterness and peeling the outer skin. We were both bowled over by how flavorful it was!

To be honest, our eggplant was about 1 1⁄2 pounds, so we slightly deviated the recipe to accommodate for the larger size. For instance, we were able to carve out three 3⁄4″ slices, which after cutting crosswise made 6 planks. To compensate, we needed another egg in Step 2, and used an extra can of tomatoes.

Some of our other changes included increasing the amount of cheese (because that’s the way we roll 🙂 ), adjusting some of the cooking times, and frying the planks in two separate batches, otherwise, we kept everything else pretty much the same. With our changes, the finished dish easily feeds 3 people.

Recipe Notes: 1. Using a sharp knife, slice off one side of eggplant (reserve) and cut two 3/4-inch planks from the center. 2. Cut planks in half crosswise so they’ll neatly fit into the pan for frying in a single batch. 3. Chop reserved side pieces into strips, then into ½-inch cubes and set aside for building the tomato pan sauce.

Easy Eggplant Parm for Two

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1-lb. eggplant
  • 14 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 34 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 14 salt
  • 14 tsp. pepper
  • 12 cup olive oil, plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 1⁄2 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 14 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 12 cup shredded provolone cheese

Directions

  1. Bread Eggplant: Cut two 3/4-inch planks lengthwise from center of eggplant, halve each plank crosswise. Cut remaining eggplant into 1/2-inch dice and set aside.
  2. Place flour in shallow dish. Beat egg in second shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs, 1/4-cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in third shallow dish. One at a time, coat eggplant slices lightly with flour, dip them in egg and dredge in bread crumb mixture, pressing to adhere.
  3. Transfer to wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet and let sit 5 minutes (or refrigerate up to 1 hour).
  4. Cook Eggplant: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F.
  5. Heat 1/2 cup oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook eggplant slices until lightly golden browned, about 1 minute per side.
  6. Transfer to wire rack set inside baking sheet and bake until eggplant is tender and deep golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes.
  7. Make Sauce: Meanwhile, pour off oil and wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  8. Add the reserved chopped eggplant and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  9. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until eggplant is tender and sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper; cover and keep warm.
  10. Assemble: Combine remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and provolone in medium bowl. Top browned eggplant slices with cheese mixture and bake until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes (or longer if you increase the amount of cheese like we did).
  11. Transfer half of sauce to platter and top with eggplant slices. Spoon remaining sauce over eggplant. Serve.

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Adapted from a recipe for Cook’s Country

Youvetsi: Greek Lamb Stew with Orzo

Youvetsi is a popular and comforting Greek stew made with tender bits of lamb or beef and cooked with small noodles such as orzo. Red meat is the more typical choice, however you may also make it with chicken.

For this easy, modern riff from The Mediterranean Dish, they instruct to use a large, heavy ceramic braising dish with a lid. In it, the tender pieces of lamb (or beef) and orzo will cook together in an aromatic tomato sauce with garlic, oregano, and other comforting Greek flavors.

Keep in mind, this is not a quick weeknight meal. This Greek lamb stew is best enjoyed straight from the pan, when the orzo is perfectly cooked. However, any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. And once you taste it, you’ll hope to have leftovers to reheat during the week. The recipe can easily be cut in half if you are so inclined.

Youvetsi: Greek Lamb Stew with Orzo

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. lamb shoulder (boneless, or lamb leg, trimmed of fat and cut into small 1-inch chunks)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large onions, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cup dry red wine (and a glass for yourself 😉
  • 2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 2, 28 oz. cans whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Feta cheese for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Pat the lamb dry and season with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. In a large, ceramic braising pan or heavy pan with a lid, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add the lamb and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, tossing regularly, until browned. Transfer the lamb to a large plate for now.
  3. In the same pan, add the onions and garlic. Season with kosher salt. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened.
  4. Return the lamb to the pan. Add the red wine, oregano, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg and bay leaf. Cook until the wine has reduced by at least ½, then add 1 cup of water and the tomatoes. Break the tomatoes up using a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the lamb is cooked through.
  5. Stir in the orzo and cover the pan. Let cook for another 20 minutes or until the orzo has cooked through and most of the moister has been absorbed. Move off the heat and let sit another 5-10 minutes so that the orzo absorbs more moisture.
  6. Garnish with parsley and crumbled feta, if you like, before serving.

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Adapted from a recipe for MediterraneanDish.com

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Flank Steak

With the end of summer holiday on the horizon, a grilled steak is always a fan favorite. While there are some steaks that need nothing more than a little salt and pepper to bring out their beefy goodness, flank steak is not one of them.

This bold marinade is just the sort of seasoning the brawny cut begs for: lime juice and zest add brightness, brown sugar sweetness, and jalapeño and sriracha a complex heat. Just whiz it all together in a food processor and slather it on the meat.

Marinate overnight preferably, or a minimum of 2 hours, before tossing it on the grill. Lastly, always make more flank steak that you think you want. Leftovers are the best part—we used ours as part of a steak salad. For an extra boost of flavor, try adding 1/4 cup of bourbon and a little Worcestershire.

Sweet and Spicy Grilled Flank Steak

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. sriracha, or other hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs. flank steak

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse together scallions, ginger, jalapeno, garlic, sugar, lime zest and juice, and sriracha. With the motor running, pour in oil until smooth
  2. Season steak with salt. Place in a large bowl and pour marinade over meat. Turn to coat well with the mixture. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. When ready to cook the steak, heat the grill to medium-high heat. Transfer the meat to the grill and cook, covered, until it reaches the desired doneness (about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare). Let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes, then slice thinly.

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Original recipe from NYTimes Cooking

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

Two rotisserie chickens on sale for $10, a bargain I couldn’t pass up. I had gone to the store for one bird to make Enchiladas Verdes, but when I saw the sale, it was a no-brainer. When I got home and the poultry cooled off, I stripped off the skin then harvested all of the white and dark meat. The skin and bones I bagged for the freezer for The Hubs to make his delicious stock.

This couldn’t be any easier. If you happen to have some leftover cooked chicken on hand, you could certainly use that and save yourself a trip to the grocer.

Rotisserie Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 small rotisserie chicken
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 green onions (green and white parts), sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 large lemon, juiced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bibb lettuce leaves
  • Red bell pepper strips, optional

Directions

  1. When rotisserie chicken is cool enough to handle, pull off the chicken, then strip all white and dark meat from the bones. Discard skin and bones, or save to make stock at a later date.
  2. Chop the chicken meat into about a 1/2-inch dice. Place into a large bowl.
  3. Slice and dice the celery, green onion, grapes, parsley and tarragon. Add those ingredients to the mixing bowl along with the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve on a couple of Bibb lettuce leaves and garnish with bell pepper strips, if using.

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Summer Pasta with Grilled Eggplant Sauce

Eggplants, also known as aubergines or brinjals, grow all over the world. They are fruits — though, like tomatoes, they are treated more in cooking like a vegetable. In fact, they’re closely related to tomatoes and peppers. Purple eggplants are the most common cultivar in American grocery stores. Some purple fruits appear almost black due to their rich pigments. 

And these coveted nightshade plants are currently in abundance from your garden, the local farmer’s market, or perhaps some friendly neighbors. With so many recipes to choose from, this particular one from Food Network uses the eggplant in a clever way.

Even though the exterior of eggplant is a gorgeous deep purple color; the beauty of this vegetable lies on the inside. This recipe takes advantage of the fact that the flesh of grilled eggplant transforms into a luscious creamy sauce that’s perfect for dressing up little tubes of rigatoni. To make the most of summer’s bounty, cherry tomatoes are grilled alongside the eggplant until bursting with juices, then mixed into this summer vegetable pasta.

Health Facts: Eggplant is rich in fiber, protein, manganese, and nutrients like potassium and vitamins C and K. It is a great source of antioxidants, which make it effective in guarding your body against future ailments. Being so rich in fiber, eggplants are also great for keeping your blood sugar levels intact. 

Summer Pasta with Grilled Eggplant Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grated zest (about 1 tsp.) and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 lb. mezze rigatoni
  • 1 large eggplant, about 1 1/4 lbs.
  • 11 oz. cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups), halved (quartered if large)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves, chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for serving
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Prepare a grill for high heat.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lemon juice to the boiling water and cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot; set aside.
  3. Pierce the eggplant a few times with a fork or knife. Place on the grill, cover and cook, turning every 8 to 10 minutes, until completely charred all over and the flesh is soft when pressed, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool slightly for 10 minutes.
  5. While the eggplant cooks, prepare 2 sheets of foil, each 12-by-12-inches, and stack them together. Place the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in the center of the foil. Fold over 2 opposite sides of the foil then fold in the remaining sides to create a tight seal.
  6. When 15 minutes of cooking time remain for the eggplant, add the foil pack to the grill and cook until juices start to bubble out of the top (this means the tomatoes and garlic are sufficiently cooked without having to open the pack), 13 to 15 minutes.
  7. Remove the eggplant to a cutting board (keeping any juices that accumulated in the bowl) and squeeze gently to crack the skin and expose the flesh. Use a spoon to remove the flesh, transfer to the large bowl and mash lightly with the spoon or a potato masher (you should have about 1 cup of flesh); discard the skin.
  8. Stir in the ricotta and Pecorino Romano until smooth then pour into the pot with the pasta and mix until combined. Fold in the contents of the foil pack (including any juices that accumulated), the basil, parsley, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper; stir until combined, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin out the sauce if needed.
  9. Serve with more basil, parsley, Pecorino Romano and crushed red pepper flakes if using.

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Recipe Courtesy of Emily Weinberger for Food Network Kitchen