Tag Archives: weeknight

Roasted Butternut Squash with Hoisin and Chives

Hands down, our favorite new roast squash recipe! Here, hoisin mixed with rice vinegar and sesame oil makes a salty-sweet-tangy-nutty dressing for tender chunks of roasted butternut squash that provides a creamy and tasty mouthful.

You can purchase already peeled and cut squash from the grocery store, but keep in mind that if the pieces are smaller or larger than specified here, you may need to adjust the cooking time. Use a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet, as the squash chars for about 10 minutes under the broiler.

Peeling squash was never a favorite prep step. But our new Milk Street Precision Peeler makes it so easy! Few peelers actually do what they are designed to do: shave away the skins and peels from fruits and vegetables. At a cost of $29.95, it is pricey, but so well worth it.

The ovoid shape fills the palm for comfort when gripping tight and the graceful pinch grip provides a precision hold for controlled peeling even the toughest peels, skins and zest. The blade has a wide pivot to accommodate ingredients of all shapes and size, from butternut squash and eggplant to Parmesan and chocolate. Comes with extra blades.

The weight of our two butternut squash exceeded the required 3 pounds. We decided to roast all of it (in two baking sheets) and use the remainder to accompany another meal, and make butternut squash soup. Don’t crowd the baking sheets with squash flesh otherwise it will steam and not obtain the light char that is preferable.

As far as cooking time, our sheet of squash chunks roasted in the hot oven for 15 minutes instead of 10. Then a total of 15 minutes under the broiler while turning and moving the baking sheet a few times—even so, some squash obtained more a of a char than others.

With cooler temps rolling in for the autumn and winter months, this side dish is a welcome accompaniment to grilled meats, braised dishes, vegetarian meals, and roasted poultry.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Hoisin and Chives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. peeled and seeded butternut squash, cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 2 tsp. packed brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives OR 3 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack 6 inches from the element.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the neutral oil, sugar, 1 tablespoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until just shy of tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Turn the oven to broil and broil until charred and fully tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the hoisin, vinegar and sesame oil. When the squash is done, immediately add it and the chives to the bowl, then toss.

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Recipe courtesy of Milk Street

Salmon with Barigoule

As a Milk Street article informed us, barigoule is a Provençal braise of fresh artichokes in white wine, with aromatics such as garlic and thyme. The name “barigoule” comes from a type of mushroom once said to be a part of the dish; the moniker stuck even though the fungi no longer are added to modern versions.

Here, cremini mushrooms are added for their earthy depth and meaty texture that balance the acidity of the wine and complement the mildness of the artichokes. To make this doable on a weeknight, use canned artichokes rather than fresh, but to keep their flavor as bright as possible, cook them in the broth only for as long as it takes to heat them through.

Our changes? Instead of four, 6-ounce filets, we bought a 1 1⁄2-pound single filet and cut it into 3 strips, which gave each of us an 8-ounce portion. Similarly, 4 ounces of mushrooms just didn’t float our boat, so we doubled that amount to 8 ounces.

Another alteration was cutting the artichoke hearts in half instead of quartered, because they were on the small side to begin with. Finally, because our salmon filets were a bit larger, and the fact that prefer ours less translucent, we simmered them until they reached an internal temperature of 130°. All changes are noted below.

Don’t forget to turn down the heat after adding the salmon to the skillet. Gentle poaching ensures the fillets cook evenly and stay moist. Don’t cover the skillet while cooking the salmon; too much heat will be trapped inside, resulting in overcooked fillets.

Salmon with Barigoule

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 6-oz. salmon fillets, each about 1 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium shallots, chopped
  • 1 sprig tarragon, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained, cut into halves or quarters if whole
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Directions

  1. Season the salmon all over with salt. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture released by the mushrooms has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, shallots, tarragon sprig and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, until the garlic is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Place the salmon boned side down in the pan, reduce to low and cook at a very gentle simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Flip the fillets and cook until the thickest parts reach 130°F or are slightly translucent when cut into, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the salmon to wide, shallow serving bowls.
  6. Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high, then add the artichokes and butter; cook, stirring, until the artichokes are heated through and the butter is emulsified into the sauce, about 1 minute.
  7. Off heat, taste and season with salt. Remove and discard the tarragon sprig, then spoon the mixture over and around the salmon and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon.

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Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato

Prepared Mediterranean-style, this nutty Toasted Orzo Pasta Recipe with Garlic, Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomatoes will steal the show next to your favorite protein. You can even serve it as a quick and easy vegetarian meal on its own; it will feed 4 people as a vegetarian main and about 6 or so as a side dish. 

It was a superb complement to our top sirloin and veggie kebabs. In fact, this orzo recipe jumped to the top of the list and one we’ll make time and again!

Leftovers? Lucky you. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days in a tightly closed container. Warm over medium heat.

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oregano, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, or more to your liking

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add the orzo and cook, tossing around, until toasted to a beautiful golden brown.
  2. Add at least 7 cups of boiling water to the saucepan and season well with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook the pasta in boiling water to al dente according to the package instructions (about 7 to 8 minutes).
  3. Just before the pasta is fully cooked (after about 5 minutes), remove 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and set it aside.
  4. In a large pan, warm 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and season with a pinch of kosher salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, tossing regularly, until just fragrant. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Raise the heat if needed to bring to a boil. Add the parsley and oregano.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the pan and toss to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and a 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan. Toss to combine. If needed, add a little more of the pasta cooking water.
  6. Finish with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if you like.

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Adapted from a recipe for MediterraneanDish.com

Top Sirloin and Veggie Kebabs

When selecting the type of beef to make your kebabs, you have unlimited choices but ultimately you want your beef on the skewer to be tasty, tender and not bust your wallet. For those looking for great flavor on a budget, sirloin tips work well if they are marinated ahead to make them more flavorful. 

Sirloin steaks are usually cut about an inch thick to begin with, have little fat, and have a beefy flavor a little more delicate than other cuts. This allows you to get the full flavor of the marinade with a nice underlying beefiness that isn’t over powering. Top sirloin is the perfect steak for these kebabs.

Therefore, we recommend sticking with top sirlion or New York Strip since it’s more lean than some other steaks leaving you with nice uniform cubes and not a lot of excess fat. It has great flavor and comes out tender when marinated and properly cooked.

Because the meat and the veggies need different amounts of time to cook, we thread them onto to separate skewers. If at all possible, use metal skewers because they contribute to cooking the meat from the center as they pick up heat from the exposed parts and conduct it throughout.

It is a good idea not to crowd your metal skewers with pieces of food to expose more surface area for the food to caramelize. Doing this on a wooden skewer runs the risk of burning the skewers and losing food into the grill.

Want the perfect side dish to compliment your kebabs? Try Toasted Orzo Pasta Recipe with Garlic, Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomatoes.

Top Sirloin and Veggie Kebabs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 3⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 1⁄2 lbs. top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1⁄2″ cubes
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
  • 10 cocktail tomatoes
  • 1 each red and yellow pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1 1⁄2 pieces
  • 1 large red onion, root intact, sliced into 12 wedges

Directions

  1. Whisk oil, vinegar, mustard, and rosemary into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add steak to ziploc bag, pour in half of the marinade, mix to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
  2. In another ziploc bag, add all of the vegetables and the remaining half of the marinade. Transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. If using bamboo skewers, soak 16 in water for at least an hour.
  4. To assemble vegetable skewers: Start with a piece of red bell pepper, onion wedge, yellow pepper, mushroom, and so on until the vegetables are used up.
  5. On the meat skewers: Thread 7 pieces of beef onto 4 metal skewers (more if needed).
  6. Preheat the grill on high for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and clean and then oil grates. Add vegetable skewers and cook for 4 minutes and then flip skewers.
  7. Add the meat skewers, cook for another 4 minutes, then turn.
  8. Baste all skewers a few times with the leftover marinade as you cook.
  9. Continue cooking for additional 2-3 minutes until an instant thermometer registers 130° on the meat.
  10. Transfer to serving plate. Garnish with fresh rosemary if desired.

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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

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing

With the last gasps of the unofficial summer calendar closing in on us, let the season’s bounty shine on the plate. And to that end, this lively salad of corn, scallions, jalapeño and avocado tossed with a tangy buttermilk-feta dressing is like summer on a plate. The sweetness of peak-summer corn and the richness of creamy avocado balance out the tartness of the dressing.

While this recipe from NYTimes Cooking could be a side dish or a vegetarian main, we opted to add a protein to give it more heft as an entrée. In that vein, we grilled some chicken breasts with a Japanese 7-spice rub, but grilled shrimp or salmon would work wonderfully also. And to save time on dinner day, we grilled the chicken the day before while barbecuing other items.

The directions below are for the full recipe which allows for 4 to 6 portions. But with just the two of us, we cut most of the recipe in half, while altering quantities of other ingredients as we saw fit. After eating two healthy servings, we still had some leftover for lunch the following day.

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, rubbed with spices of your choice (optional)
  • 6 ears corn (about 3 lbs.), shucked and silk removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp.olive oil
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2 avocados, sliced

Directions

  1. If a protein is desired, grill chicken (or shrimp, salmon) until done. This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Brush corn, scallions and jalapeño with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until corn kernels are browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, and the scallions and jalapeño are charred all over and tender, 9 to 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
  5. In a medium bowl, using a whisk (I used a pestle), mash the feta into a coarse paste. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest and juice and garlic, then stir in chives and parsley.
  6. Finely chop the charred jalapeño and stir it into the feta dressing; season with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with half the feta dressing and arrange on a platter. Cut corn kernels off the cob and slice scallions into bite-size pieces. Arrange avocado slices, corn and scallions on top of the lettuce.
  8. Serve with remaining dressing.

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Adapted from a recipe by Sue Li for NYTimes Cooking

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

Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

Local tomatoes are king this time of year so we try to use them in a variety of ways almost everyday during the season. Here’s a simple summer tomato salad recipe that makes the most of—and uses up—some of the tomato bounty from your garden or local farm market.

America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) discovered that salting the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad brings out their juices, which make a great base for the dressing. Another discovery was there’s no need to peel homegrown tomatoes for a tomato salad recipe, because their skins are usually thin and unobtrusive.

The amounts of the ingredients are subjective to your own preferences. If you prefer tuna packed in oil, go ahead and use it; in fact, save the drained oil from the tuna and use it instead of, or with, the remaining olive oil. No blanching or cooking needed here!

The olives, red onions and capers are boldly flavored Mediterranean standbys, typically a healthy diet to follow. It’s a great option to bring on a picnic or to enjoy lunch at your community pool.

While we are on the subject of great tomato recipes, I have to give a shout out to the Heirloom Tomato Tart (shown above) that I blogged about 4 years ago. If you are also interested in that recipe just click on the link. The tomato salad recipe is below.

Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. capers, chopped
  • 12 large black olives, such as Kalamata or other brine-cured variety, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 6-oz. can solid white tuna in water, or oil-packed if preferred

Directions

  1. Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 1/2″ thick wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, capers, olives, onion, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Crumble tuna over tomatoes; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

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Spicy Chinese Beef Skewers

Spice it twice—the mantra for this flavorful beef skewer. After skewering but before going on the grill, the meat is dusted generously with the spices. Those spices toast, their flavors deepening during cooking. Once the meat comes off the heat, it’s seasoned a second time with the same spice blend, creating multiple layers of nuanced flavors from the same few ingredients.

What did we do different? In place of flat iron steak, we substituted flap meat because it was already in our freezer and it’s easier to source than the aforementioned flat iron cut. In keeping with the Asian theme, we also grilled bok choy right along with the meat skewers. They benefited from a chili oil sauce that complimented the meat rub.

Don’t trim the fat from the beef before cooking. The fat adds flavor and helps keep the meat succulent. If you’re using a gas grill, make sure to give it at least 10 to 15 minutes to heat before cooking the skewers. This ensures the meat gets a nice surface char without overcooking the interior.

Spicy Chinese Beef Skewers

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. beef flat iron steak, sliced against the grain into ¼-inch-thick strips
  • 1 Tbsp. dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, plus more for grill grate
  • 2½ Tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 2½ tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1½ tsp. sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • chili oil, to serve (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, sherry, soy sauce and oil. Let stand at room temperature while preparing the spice mix and the grill.
  2. In a small skillet over medium-low, toast the cumin, fennel and Sichuan peppercorns until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and add the pepper flakes. Process until coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1¾ teaspoons salt. Measure out 1 tablespoon of the mix and set aside to use as garnish.
  3. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct, high-heat cooking. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals and let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents and the lid vent. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate.
  4. While the grill heats, thread the beef onto ten 8- to 10-inch metal skewers, evenly dividing the meat and pushing the pieces together. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture evenly over both sides of the meat, patting gently to adhere.
  5. Grill until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and grill until the second sides are lightly charred, another 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkling both sides of the skewers with the reserved spice mix, then drizzle with chili oil (if using).

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Adapted from a recipe by Laura Russell for Milk Street

Sautéed Cod with Zhoug

Zhoug, a spicy pesto-like condiment with a base of cilantro and often parsley, is popular throughout the Levant and Middle East regions. Its zip and pungency comes from fresh chilies, a small handful of spices and fresh garlic. Olive oil supplies fruity richness.

Milk Street claims zhoug is just the thing to add bold, bracing flavor to mild-tasting fillets of white fish. Readily available cod works well in this recipe, but snapper and tilapia are also good substitutes. Whichever you choose, for quick, even cooking, look for fillets no thicker than about 1 inch. Be sure to dry the fish well by patting it with paper towels, especially if it was previously frozen; removing excess moisture helps ensure they brown well in the pan.

Unable to source Serrano chiles, a jalapeño and a Fresno were substituted. Cod was the fish of choice because it was the most economical of the options—and we like it. To complete the meal, we made sides of steamed green beans lightly dressed in a flavored olive oil, salt and pepper; and whole wheat pearled couscous in homemade seafood stock (instead of water), then finished with sautéed shallot and minced parsley.

NOTE: Don’t leave the cilantro wet after rinsing. Be sure to dry it well so there’s no residual water to cause sogginess during processing. Also, don’t move the fish around once it’s in the skillet, and don’t worry if it releases a little a liquid during cooking. The skinless fillets are delicate, so minimal maneuvering is best to keep them intact, as well as for best browning.

Sautéed Cod with Zhoug

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems (about 1 large bunch), roughly chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies, stemmed, halved and seeded
  • 1½ tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 6-oz. skinless cod, snapper or tilapia fillets, each about 1 inch thick, patted dry
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions

  1. In a food processor, combine the cilantro, garlic, chilies, coriander, cumin, cardamom, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Process until roughly chopped, about 20 seconds.
  2. Add the ¼ cup oil and process until smooth, about another 30 seconds. Transfer ¼ cup zhoug to a small bowl; set aside for serving.
  3. Season the fish all over with salt and pepper, then brush the one side with half of the remaining zhoug. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering.
  4. Add the fillets zhoug-side down, brush the tops with the remaining zhoug and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on the bottoms, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully flip the fillets. Cook until golden brown on the second sides and the fillets are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Using the spatula, transfer the fillets to a platter. Serve with the reserved zhoug and lemon wedges.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Caprese Salad with a Twist

Large, juicy, ripe heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes and fresh picked corn on the cob are two heavy hitters that shine from mid- to late-summer in our neck of the woods. For those few fleeting months we try to take advantage of the produce preparing them in a myriad of different ways. Often, the simple approach is just as tasty as a more complicated recipe such as a corn sauté or an heirloom tomato tart.

You may have enjoyed Caprese Salad before, but have you ever topped it with some grated lemon zest? This twist on the preparations adds a wonderful bright note that compliments the other flavors. Sun-ripened farmers market tomatoes are layered with creamy mozzarella and topped with aromatic fresh basil, sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar, and that aforementioned floral lemon zest.

To complete the meal, we boiled fresh ears of corn, and grilled a cedar-planked salmon with a North African spice rub—both of which took about the same amount of time to cook. Deliscioso!

Caprese Salad with Lemon Zest

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large heirloom or beefsteak locally grown tomatoes
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh basil strips
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. high quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • Cracked black pepper

Directions

  1. Cut tomatoes and mozzarella in even slices. Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt.
  2. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Sprinkle evenly with basil strips.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Using a microplane grater, grate lemon zest directly over tomato platter.
  5. Garnish with cracked black pepper.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Bulgur Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms

To bring more diversity to grain sides, Milk Street swapped out rice for bulgur, a form of wheat grain that’s been parboiled and dried so it cooks fast yet still retains all the benefits of whole grains. Earthy mushrooms pair well with the hearty grain and packs even more of a nutritional punch. For big mushroom flavor, choose widely available cremini mushrooms plus a ¼ ounce of dried porcini, to add nice depth.

Just a dash of soy sauce boosts the mushroom’s umami flavor even further and gives the dish a rich mahogany color. Sauté the mushrooms with an onion, then add the bulgur and the cooking liquid (a combination of water and broth) and simmer it until tender.

After removing the pot from the heat, place a dish towel underneath the lid (which helps absorb moisture) and let the bulgur steam gently for 10 minutes, which results in perfectly tender, chewy grains.

NOTES: When shopping, don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which has a much longer cooking time and will not work in this recipe. Use vegetable or mushroom broth instead of chicken stock if you want to keep it vegetarian.

Bulgur Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ oz. (7grams) dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. cremini mushroom, stemmed and quartered if small or cut into 6 pieces if large
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed
  • ¾ cup homemade chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Our bulgur pilaf became the companion dish for Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, porcini mushrooms, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in cremini mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until cremini mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in bulgur, broth, water, and soy sauce and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until bulgur is tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat, lay clean folded dish towel underneath lid, and let bulgur sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff bulgur with fork, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from Americas Test Kitchen

Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs

These luscious kebabs are an adaptation of the mishkaki from “Feast: Food of the Islamic World” by Anissa Helou, reinterpreted by Milk Street. Mishkaki are grilled skewers of marinated meat from Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. So transport yourself to another land while in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a laid-back feast of Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.

Zanzibar’s cuisine represents a fusion of the people and cultures—Persian, Portuguese, Arabic—that once colonized or settled in the area. Chunks of chicken are marinated in an aromatic mixture of their spices including ginger, garlic, tomato paste and lemon juice before they’re skewered and grilled.

Don’t worry if the cut pieces of chicken are irregularly shaped. As long as they’re similarly sized, shape isn’t important. Don’t crowd the skewers on the grill grate. Allow some space between them so heat circulates and the chicken cooks quickly and without steaming.

While it was suggested to serve with warm naan and plain yogurt for drizzling; we paired ours in combo with another Mediterranean dish Bulgar Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms. Suffice it to say, we fell in love with this tasty meal. And the leftovers were just as good!

Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Add the chicken and mix with your hands, rubbing the seasonings into the meat, until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  3. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
  4. While the grill heats, thread the chicken, alternating with the pepper and onion pieces, onto 6 to 8 metal skewers. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook without disturbing until lightly charred on the bottom and the meat releases easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Flip the skewers and cook, turning every few minutes, until charred all over and the chicken is no longer pink when cut into, another 8 to 9 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

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Recipe compliments of Milk Street

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

This light, delicate weeknight curry comes together in less than 30 minutes and is defined by its deep miso flavor. Miso is typically whisked into soups toward the end of the recipe, but sweating it directly in the pot with ginger, garlic and a little oil early on helps the paste caramelize, intensifying its earthy sweetness.

Unfortunately, I misread the instructions and didn’t add the miso until after the coconut milk had been boiling for several minutes, missing out on the nice caramelization—mea culpa. While the overall flavor is on the mild side, adding a tablespoon of red Thai curry paste at the same time as introducing the miso to the pot, will provide a more pronounced touch of heat and deepen the overall color.

Adding coconut milk creates a rich broth that works with a wide range of seafood. Salmon is used here, but flaky white fish, shrimp or scallops would all benefit from this quick poaching method. A squeeze of lime and a flurry of fresh herbs keep this curry bright and citrusy. For a hit of heat, garnish with sliced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile peppers.

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. safflower or canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup white miso
  • ½ cup unsweetened, full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2-lb. salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 oz. baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  •  Steamed rice, such as jasmine or basmati, for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion, ginger and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add miso and cook, stirring frequently, until miso is lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in salmon, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in spinach and lime juice.
  5. Divide rice among bowls. Top with salmon curry, basil and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top.

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Adapted from a recipe by Kay Chun for NYTimes Cooking

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

Based on a classic Mexican fish dish pescado en salsa poblano, or fish in poblano sauce, this recipe is a shrimp version. To make the creamy, vibrantly hued sauce that cloaks plump, gently cooked shrimp, poblano chilies, with their earthy flavor and moderate heat, are puréed with cilantro, alliums and Mexican crema, a rich cultured cream similar to, but milder than sour cream.

If crema isn’t available—and it wasn’t for us—sour cream works in its place. To make a more substantial meal, serve with warmed tortillas and rice and beans; over steamed rice; or as in our case, polenta cooked in shrimp stock.

Don’t be afraid to use the cilantro stems. Unlike parsley, cilantro has stems that are tender and will readily break down in the blender.

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 medium poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tTbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
  • 3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the garlic, onion, ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  2. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender; reserve the skillet. To the blender, add the cilantro, crema and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the puree into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
  4. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced onion; serve with lime wedges.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street