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Here are the tastingspoons players. I’m in the middle (Carolyn). Daughter Sara on the right, and daughter-in-law Karen on the left. I started the blog in 2007, as a way to share recipes with my family. Now in 2022, I’m still doing 99% of the blogging and holding out hope that these two lovely and excellent cooks will participate. They both lead very busy lives, so we’ll see.

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BOOK READING (from Carolyn):

Have only begun Geraldine Brooks’ brand new book, Horse. Oh my, is it a page turner. Loving it so far. It’s a fictional creation but based on a real racehorse owned by a black man, back in the 1850s. Technically, the story is about a painting of the horse but there are many twists and turns. If you’ve ever enjoyed Brooks’ books in the past, this one won’t disappoint.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel (no, not Hannah). Certainly a little-known chunk of history about a woman who becomes a master forger during WWII to help get Jewish children out of France. Not easy to read, meaning the difficulty of anyone finding the means and place to DO the forgery and right under the noses of the Nazis. Really good read.

Liane Moriarty’s first novel, Three Wishes, follows the travails of adult triplets, so different, yet similar in many ways. Two are identical, the third is not. So alike, and so not. It takes you through a series of heart-wrenching events, seemingly unrelated, but ones that could bring a family to its breaking point and test the bonds of love and strength.

Recently I’ve read both of Erin French’s books, her cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, and since then her memoir, Finding Freedom. About her life growing up (difficult) about her coming of age mostly working in the family diner, flipper burgers and fries (and learning how much she liked to cook). Now she’s a very successful restaurant entrepreneur (The Lost Kitchen is also the name of her restaurant) in the miniscule town of Freedom, Maine. She’s not a classically trained chef, but she’s terrifically creative. See her TV series on Discover+ if you subscribe.

Migrations, by Charlotte McConaghy. To say that this book stretched my comfort zone is the least of it . . .think about a time in the not very distant future, when global warming has done it’s worst and nearly all animals are extinct. No bird song in the air or fish in the sea. There’s this woman, Franny, who is on a quest to follow the very small, but last migration of arctic terns, who fly from pole to pole each year. She somehow sees this migration as a paean to her own life (of many travails). Is this book a foretelling of what our world will be like?  There’s a lot of angst going on here in this book, with her marriage, with her career, with her perpetual need for travel . . . always needing to go somewhere else other than staying at home and finding peace and happiness there. Then this final, gritty, illegal at-sea voyage trying to find the terns. Very much worth reading if you can stomach the sadness in it. Soul-searching is a common denominator here, but then aren’t a lot of books?

Jo Jo Moyes has a bunch of books to her credit. And she writes well, with riveting stories. Everything I’ve read of hers has been good. This book, The Girl You Left Behind, is so different, so intriguing, so controversial and a fascinating historical story. There are two timelines here, one during WWI, in France, when a relatively unknown painter (in the style of Matisse) paints a picture of his wife. The war intervenes for both the husband and the wife. A German Kommandant enters the picture in this tiny berg in France. Knowing her husband is in a camp, most likely a death camp, she compromises her morals to save the picture and possibly save her husband’s life. Jump to somewhat current day and the painting, which has survived all these years, and is in the hands of a young widow who has an extraordinary connection with the painting. A lawsuit ensues having to do with art stolen by the Nazis and a convoluted trail of how the painting traveled in the intervening years. Even though this was WWI, not WWII, but the law encompasses the past. It’s a heart-wrenching story. There’s a love interest too. Well worth reading. Would make a good book club read.

Memoirs are such fun, especially if you really enjoy/love the author. This was the case as I read Rachael Ray 50, an ode to  her age. So I read online, Rachael discloses more about her personal life in this book than she has done in her many other cookbooks. I really enjoyed reading the book, as she told stories about her growing up, including some of her mother’s recipes and from other family members. She and her family eat tons of pasta, so lots of the recipes I probably won’t prepare, but okay, I still enjoyed reading all the stories.

Eli Shafak’s Island of Missing Trees. This book was just a page turner. If you’ve never read anything about the conflict in Cyprus (the island) between the Turks and the Greeks, you’re in for a big history lesson here. But, the entire story centers around a fig tree. You get into the head/brain/feelings of this big fig tree which plays a very central part of the story. You’ll learn a lot about animals, insects (ants, mosquitos, butterflies) and other flora and fauna of Cyprus. I’m not a gardener at all, but I found the story just fascinating. It chronicles the love story between a young couple, human ones, not trees, one a Greek, one a Turk and their relationship (verboten back in the 70s). It goes back and forth between the 70s (when the real conflict was going on) and current day (2010ish). Loved this book from page one to the last.

If you’re a fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, you’ll find his newest book a league apart. Klara and the Sun. It takes place in the near future when we humans can go to a store and buy an AF (artificial friend). These robotic humanoid “things” have knowledge and personalities. The book follows along as a family buys Klara, an AF with perhaps a better personality than some. She has feelings, but not very many needs. The reader never really “sees” Klara except for a few descriptions of her human-type shape. You get into Klara’s brain (her PC chip) and know how she feels about her family. Her main job is to be a friend to the daughter, Josie, who has some kind of unnamed illness. The AF must spend a part of every day in the sunshine (some kind of hidden solar unit must be within Klara). There are any number of other characters in the story (mostly human, not AFs) which add dimension. I was quite mesmerized by the story and am in awe at the creativity of this author. Loved the book. May not be for everyone. I’m not a science fiction fan at all, but this was believable. And you’ll fall in love with Klara who wants so much to be wanted and loved.

Also read Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty. Ohhh my, such a good book. I couldn’t put it down. Whatever you do, do not read the ending before you start the book. I’ve never understood people who do this. The book chronicles the day a mom just ups and disappears. The grown children come back home, in panic. The dad isn’t much help, and he becomes the prime suspect of foul play. There is no body, however. The husband and wife own a tennis school (this takes place in Australia) and the children grow up surrounded by tennis everything. The children don’t necessarily get along. The parents haven’t always gotten along, either, although through many years the parents were quite besotted with each other, to the detriment of the parenting. Much travail from all the family members. But oh what a story. It had me riveted and wondering, until the last 5 pages of so when the resolution occurs. Big surprise.

Amor Towles’ new book, The Lincoln Highway: A Novel. Literally it’s a page turner. I think it’s still on the best seller list. A young man, Emmett, is released from a youth work camp (back in the day) and is returned home (by the camp warden) following the death of his father, to find that the home they’d lived in was in foreclosure. His mother abandoned them years before. His intent is to pick up his 8-year old brother and they will head off for Texas, but then he discovers two of his work-camp-mates had hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Oh my goodness, such a tangled web. Fascinating, and Amor Towles has such a way with words. His sentences are like blooming flower vines, with metaphors in nearly every sentence. Such a gifted writer.

If you’d like a mystery read, try Dete Meserve’s The Space Between. It’s just the kind of page-turner I enjoy – a wife returns to her home after being away on business for a few days, to find her husband missing and what he’s left for her is an unexplained bank deposit of a million dollars, a loaded Glock in the nightstand, and a video security system that’s been wiped clean. Oh there are plenty of twists and turns. Couldn’t put it down.

Read Alyson Richman’s historical novel called The Velvet Hours. Most of the book takes place in Paris, with a young woman and her grandmother, a very wealthy (but aging) woman who led a life of a semi-courtesan. Or at least a kept woman. But this grandmother was very astute and found ways to invest her money, to grow her money, and to buy very expensive goods. Then WWII intervenes, and the granddaughter has to close up her grandmother’s apartment, leaving it much the way it had been throughout her grandmother’s life, to escape the Nazis. Years go by, and finally answers are sought and found. An intriguing book, based on the author’s experience with an apartment that had been locked up similarly for decades, also in Paris.

Susan Meissner is one of my favorite authors. This book, The Nature of Fragile Things tells a very unusual story. About a young Irish immigrant, desperate to find a way out of poverty, answers an ad for a mail order bride. She moves to San Francisco and becomes the bride, and mother to the man’s young child. But all is not right with the world. Sophie senses an undercurrent about her husband’s life. He’s elusive, leaves her alone for days on end, doesn’t share her bed, and she begins to feel the only reason he wanted a wife was to care for the child. Then the world turns upside down with the 1906 earthquake. And then there’s more. . . and more. . . very gripping read.

Also read Rachel Hauck’s The Writing Desk. You could call this a romance. A young professional, a writer of one successful book, has writer’s block. Then she’s asked to go to Florida to help her mother (from whom she’s mostly estranged) through chemo. She goes, hoping she can find new inspiration. Oh the various twists this book can give you. There’s a guy she meets, but she’s keeping her boyfriend at home on the string, sort of. Then there’s the desk itself, that has history. Oh my, does it have history. Really interesting story, light reading.

One of my book clubs has us reading Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library: A Novel. What a premise for a book. About a library you can whiz to in the middle of the night and discover other lives you could have lived. And experience them. To find out the answers to those questions we ask ourselves sometimes, “I wonder what would have happened if I’d . . . .” taken that other job, gone out with that guy, taken that trip. That kind of thing. You’ll find out what happened to one particular woman who thought she had nothing left to live for. Good read. Very different. A bit space-agey. Sort of time travel, but not really. But yes, maybe.

James Shipman has written an intriguing book, It Is Well: A Novel, about a man who has lost his wife. And about a woman who has lost her husband. But their relationship stalls, big time, because the guy made a promise to his wife, and he feels duty-bound to honor it. There is much angst about it all. Much wringing of hands, some tears on her part. Nice book; good read.

I wrote up a post about this book: Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York by Tom Roston. Go read the full write-up if you’re interested. The book is a complete history of the famous restaurant on the 107th floor of one of the Twin Towers.

Also recently finished The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish. The book goes backwards and forwards in time, from the 1600s in London with the day-to-day lives of a group of Jews (who had to be very careful about how they worshiped) to current day as an old house is discovered to hold a treasure-trove of historical papers. The story is mostly about a young woman, educated, a Jew, who is the scribe (in secret) to an aging religious leader (in a time when women would have been verboten to hold such a position). And about her own curiosity about her religion and how she eventually begins writing letters (using a male pseudonym) to various Jewish leaders abroad, questioning their religious beliefs. The book is extraordinarily long – not that that kept me from turning a single page! – and complex with the cast of characters from the 1600s and the cast in today’s world of highly competitive experts analyzing the ancient papers. Altogether riveting book. Loved it from beginning to end.

I’m forever reading historical novels. The Lost Jewels: A Novel by Kirsty Manning is a mystery of sorts, going back in time in London in the time of aristocrats and their jewels (pearls, diamonds, gems of all kinds) sometimes made it into the hands of the digger or a maid. Then to current time as a young woman tries to ferret her family history and particularly about some old-old jewelry that they can’t quite figure out – how the grandmother came to have them. Fascinating tale.

Not for the faint of heart, Boat of Stone: A Novel by Maureen Earl tells the true tale of some misplaced Jews at the tale-end of WWII who ended up on Mauritius.

Colleen Hoover has written quite a book, It Ends with Us: A Novel, with a love story being the central theme, but again, this book is not for everyone – it can be an awakening for any reader not acquainted with domestic violence and how such injury can emerge as innocent (sort of) but then becomes something else. There is graphic detail here.

Erin Bartels wrote quite a complex story in The Words between Us: A Novel. We go alongside a young girl as she goes to high school, trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to be anonymous (because her mother and father are both in prison), taking on a fake name. She meets a guy and they share a bond of reading and some romance. Years go by and she’s now owner of a failing independent bookstore (and married, or separated) and suddenly begins receiving a used book (that she recognizes) every day from a different place in the country. A message for sure, but where will it lead? Yes, it’s a romance. Lots of introspection going on. Enjoyed it.

Nicolas Barreau’s novel Love Letters from Montmartre: A Novel  is very poignant, very sweet book. Seems like I’ve read several books lately about grieving; this one has a charming ending, but as anyone who has gone through a grave loss of someone dear knows, you can’t predict day to day, week to week. “Snap out of it,” people say, thinking they’re helping.

Another very quirky book, that happens to contain a lot of historical truth is The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World: A Novel by Harry N. Abrams. Set in Japan just after the tsunami 10 years ago when 18,000 people died. At a private park miles away, some very special people installed a phone booth, with a phone (that didn’t work) at the edge of the park, and the survivors of the tsunami began wending their way there to “talk” to their deceased loved ones. Very poignant story.

No question, the most quirky book I’ve read of late, a recommendation from my friend Karen, West with Giraffes: A Novel by Lynda Rutledge. Back in the 1930s a small group of giraffes were brought across the Atlantic from Africa to New York, destined for the then-growing San Diego Zoo. The story is of their journey across the United States in the care of two oh-so-different people, both with a mission.

Riveting story of post-WWII- Japan in Ana Johns novel, The Woman in the White Kimono: A Novel. About a young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American serviceman.

Also read Rishi Reddi’s novel, Passage West: A Novel with a very different take on the migration of Indians (East India) to the California agricultural lands east of San Diego during the 1920s and 30s.

Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but the Mary Morris book, A Very Private Diary: A Nurse in Wartime tells the true day to day life of a young Irish girl who becomes a nurse, in England, France and Belgium in the midst of WWII and immediately after the war.

Could hardly put down Krueger’s book, This Tender Land: A Novel. Tells the harrowing story of a young boy, Odie, (and his brother Albert) who became orphans back in the 30s. At first there is a boarding school, part of an Indian (Native American) agreement, though they are not Indian. They escape, and they are “on the run.”

Just finished Kristin Hannah’s latest book, The Four Winds: A Novel. What a story. One I’ve never read about, although I certainly have heard about the “dust bowl” years when there was a steady migration of down-and-out farmers from the Midwest, to California, for what they hoped to be the American Dream. It tells the story of one particular family, the Martinellis, the grandparents, their son, his wife, and their two children.

Brit Bennett has written quite a book, The Vanishing Half: A Novel. It’s a novel, yet I’m sure there are such real-life situations. Twin girls are born to a young black woman in the South. Into a town (that probably doesn’t exist) that prides itself on being light-skinned blacks.

What a book. The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict. A novelized biography of Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress.  Very much worth reading.

Also read The Secret of the Chateau: Gripping and heartbreaking historical fiction with a mystery at its heart by Kathleen McGurl. There are two stories here. The historical part is just prior to and up to the French Revolution, and the second in current day as a group of friends purchase a crumbling chateau. Very interesting. I love historical novels like this, and this one in particular does have quite a mystery involved, too.

Also finished reading Sue Monk Kidd’s recent book, The Book of Longings: A Novel. It is a book that might challenge some Christian readers, as it tells the tale of Jesus marrying a woman named Mary. I loved the book from the first word to the last one. The book is believable to me, even though the Bible never says one way or the other that Jesus ever married. It’s been presumed he never did. But maybe he did?

Jeanine Cummins has written an eye-opener, American Dirt. A must read. Oh my goodness. I will never, ever, ever look at Mexican (and further southern) migrants, particularly those who are victims of the vicious cartels, without sympathy. It tells the story of a woman and her young son, who were lucky enough to hide when the cartel murdered every member of her family – her husband, her mother, and many others. It’s about her journey and escape to America.

Also read JoJo Moyes’ book, The Giver of Stars. Oh gosh, what a GREAT book. Alice joins the Horseback Librarians in the rural south.

Frances Liardet has written a blockbuster tale, We Must Be Brave. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. Although the scene is WWII England, this book is not really about the war. It’s about the people at home, waiting it out, struggling with enough food, clothing and enough heat.

William Kent Krueger wrote Ordinary Grace. From amazon: a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God. It’s a coming of age story.

Follow the River: A Novel by James Alexander Thom. This one is also based on the history of a woman (married, pregnant) who was captured by the Shawnee, during the early settlement days east of the Ohio River, about 1755. And her eventual escape.

A Column of Fire: A Novel by Ken Follett. It takes place in the 1500s, in England, and has everything to do with the war between the Catholics and the Protestants, that raged throughout Europe during that time, culminating in the Spanish Inquisition.

My Name Is Resolute by Nancy Turner. She’s the author of another book of some renown, These is my Words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 (P.S.). Resolute is what I’m discussing here. It’s fiction, but based some on a true story. Resolute, as a young girl from a privileged life on a plantation in Jamaica, was taken captive by slavers, eventually ended up in Colonial America.

The Shepherd’s Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape by James Rebanks. This is a memoir, so a true story, of a young man growing up in the Lake District of Northern England, who becomes a shepherd. Not just any-old shepherd – actually a well educated one. He knows how to weave a story.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Beef, Grilling, on August 26th, 2022.

What do you think about tri-tip? Like it? Not? Too gristly? Flavor? 

A post from Carolyn.  I’ve not ever been a big fan of tri-tip. Too tough, usually. The flavor was always good – good, strong, beefy flavor; but the texture was chewy; usually too chewy for my taste. I mean, I love-me a good ribeye. That’s my fav. But I was feeding a crowd and served grilled Italian sausage and this tri-tip. My friend Dianne fixed this beef a few weeks ago when she invited Taylor and me to dinner, and I really liked it. It happened that the slices I had contained next to no fat or gristle. Not so much when I made it myself (above). But the flavor was great. I liked the marinade. The tri-tip happened to be on sale at one of my local markets . . . now I suppose I could have gotten one that wasn’t trimmed as well . . . I don’t know.

You do need to trim the meat of visible fat and gristle. And there’s a piece of silver skin on one side that also needs to be removed. That takes a bit of hand labor. But worth the effort. Marinate the meat for 24 hours if time permits. This recipe came from an ancient Sunset Magazine and is still available online. Dianne had a copy of the faded page from the magazine as she’s been making this for a bunch of years.

As I type this, I’m serving it again this week to a different gathering – my granddaughter’s nursing school graduation party. I’m expecting 18 people – some family and a bunch of my friends who have gotten to know (and love) Taylor since she’s lived with me. It’s been hot-hot here in our neck of the woods, so we may be eating inside (I don’t know where I’ll seat 18 people – it’ll take some ingenuity). I’m doing another coil of sausage (see cooked sausage coil at left), this tri-tip and also a full slab of slow-roasted salmon with a garlic vinaigrette on top. Then with tons of sides and salads. And daughter Sara is bringing a cheesecake (lemon strawberry is what Taylor requested). A few people are bringing something to help out.

So I read, tri-tip isn’t a cut of meat available in all areas of our country. A lot here in California. But in other places, they’ve never heard of it. It’s from the bottom sirloin and has a triangular shape with a long tapered end, hence tri – – tip(s). Most people dry roast it but it can also be marinated and grilled like a steak. That’s what we did. My son barbecued the meat for me as I was busy in the kitchen. He also grilled a complete round (coil) of Italian sausage with Mozzarella cheese in it. SO SO good. We have a good Italian restaurant in Newport Beach (Sabatino’s) that has a butcher department attached to the restaurant. The coil was $42 – probably about 2 1/2 pounds. Not sure, I didn’t weigh it.

Back to this tri-tip. It’s marinated in a very simple solution – reduced sodium soy sauce, dried oregano, garlic, a jot of liquid smoke, pepper and a bunch of fresh cilantro. But first, you cut some long 1/2″ deep slits in the roast so the marinade can get into the crevices. Next time I’ll poke it all over with a fork, too. Into a plastic bag it’ll go, and several times over the 24 hours turn the bag over and over. There really isn’t much marinade, so you need to continue to flip it over in the frig numerous times. Let is sit out for 30 minutes or so, then it goes onto a medium-high grill for about 10 minutes per side, or until it gets to 125°F in the center, to get that meat a lovely medium-rare. It needs to rest for about 5 minutes (foil-covered) then you slice it SUPER-THIN across the grain. If people prefer more well done, the tapered end will be more well cooked. I served it with an ancho chili dip/sauce (posting in a few days).

What’s GOOD: Good, beefy flavor, needs marinating so don’t skimp on the 24-hour time. Cut into super-thin slices, it’s a very nice steak type entrée. Some people prefer a more chewy beef texture – this is it. Love the flavor from the marinade. The meat would like a sauce to go with it.

What’s NOT: making time for the marinating is about it. Don’t expect this to taste like ribeye, though, because it’s far from it. If you don’t live in California you might have trouble getting the cut of meat – you’d have to ask a butcher to cut it.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Grilled Tri-Tip Roast with Cilantro

Recipe By: Tanya Newgent, San Diego, via Sunset Magazine
Servings: 8

2 1/2 pounds beef tri-tip roast
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons liquid smoke — optional
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic — minced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cilantro sprigs

1. Trim and discard excess fat from beef and remove any silver skin. Cut 1-inch-long slits about 1/2 inch deep and about 1 inch apart over top and bottom of roast.
2. Mix soy sauce, chopped cilantro, liquid smoke, oregano, garlic, and pepper in a heavy-duty plastic bag.
3. Add meat and spoon soy mixture into slits. Spoon remaining mixture over meat. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the roast every 3-4 hours or as often as possible.
4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat (you can hold your hand at grill level only 3 to 4 seconds). Cover gas grill. Cook roast, turning once, until a thermometer inserted in center of thickest part registers 125° for rare, 20 to 25 minutes total (so about 10 minutes per side) for a 1 1/2- to 2-inch-thick piece. Tapered end will cook faster, so try to place it away from heat.
5. Transfer meat to a board and let rest about 5 minutes. Cut across the grain in very thin slices. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serve with a sauce of some kind: try an ancho chili and sour cream mixture.
Per Serving: 241 Calories; 12g Fat (46.8% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 94mg Cholesterol; 330mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 45mg Calcium; 2mg Iron; 487mg Potassium; 282mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, on August 18th, 2022.

This may be my new favorite way to fix fish.

A post from Carolyn. A few weeks ago I was watching Ina Garten’s new TV show, Be My Guest (I think that’s what it’s called), and she had Julianna Margulies visit her, in Ina’s lovely Long Island kitchen. I’ve been such a fan of Julianna Margulies since she was on The Good Wife. So sorry that show ended. I didn’t know that Julianna loves to cook, and she prepared halibut for Ina.

Julianna explained that this is her signature company dinner entrée. With that kind of a recommendation, I knew before she started that it would be something I’d prepare. They had the most beautiful 1-inch thick halibut steaks, probably the kind you can’t get unless you go to a fish market or caught the fish yourself and asked for 1-inch thick slices. My Costco has fresh halibut right now, so that was the impetus for making it. And let me tell you, this preparation is so very EASY! The down side is that halibut is ferociously expensive. I bought a small piece (that I was able to get 4 small servings out of) and after making this, I vacuum-sealed the other three portions – with a little plastic wrap packet of the herb butter stuck on top of the halibut.

First you make up an herb butter. What I had (fresh) was sage and chives (both survived last winter and continue to provide this summer) and Italian parsley. You also add garlic to the mix.

There at left you can see the various components. Sage leaves have such a different texture to them.

The butter needs to be at room temp and you carefully chop up the herbs and garlic and add it to the butter. With a bit of lemon zest too. Mix it well and set it aside. If time permits, do this an hour or so before you’re ready to begin cooking the halibut.

The halibut is salted and peppered before starting. And a note of caution – the rest of your meal needs to be completely ready to go and serve. You’ll have no time for other kitchen prep once you start the halibut. The stovetop grill pan is heated to high/medium-high and you drizzle a bit of EVOO on it before laying on the halibut steaks. At that point set a timer. My halibut steaks were about 3/4″ thick (not the 1-inch called for) so I knew they would cook in less time. Do set a timer – I know I said this before – but it’s worth repeating. The recipe indicates you melt the herb butter at this point – I didn’t, as the herb butter was so soft it was almost melted in the bowl! Once the fish is turned over (it should have a beautiful golden glow on it) you turn OFF the heat and slather on, or pour most of the herb butter on top of the halibut. If you used the soft butter, it melts in seconds. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of foil and set a timer again. This time you set it for 3 minutes (if your steaks are 1″ thick). I set mine for 2 minutes. Everything else was ready to plate, so I slid the halibut off onto a plate (or heated platter if you’re doing several) and poured what little herb butter was in the pan itself (my grill pan does have a handle) and the remainder I had set aside. It melted immediately. Sprinkle with lemon zest, the little curl-type. Serve.

What’s GOOD: oh my, so good. But then, I love the lovely big flakes of fish that come from halibut. The fish was beautiful to look at and serve, (the lemon zest on top adds a lot – that happened to be something Ina added to the recipe) and so tender and moist. This cooking method is genius. I’d serve this to guests anytime. Just know you’ll be making a big dent in your wallet to buy several hunks of 1″ halibut steaks.

What’s NOT: only that you want to make this with halibut (or maybe sea bass). All expensive. I’ll try it with cod too – it might be nice.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Halibut with Herbed Butter and Lemon Zest

Recipe By: Ina Garten’s show, Be My Guest, from Julianna Margulies
Servings: 4

HERB BUTTER:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter — softened
2 garlic cloves — minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves — minced fine
1 tablespoon Italian parsley — minced, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh chives — minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme — minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage — minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest — grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
HALIBUT:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds halibut fillets — (6 to 8-ounces each) about 1″ thick, skinless
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon zest — for garnish

NOTE:  If your halibut is less than 1″ thick, adjust cooking time down so it won’t overcook (i.e., 3/4″ would need 2 minutes each side)
1. HERB BUTTER (if time permits, prepare butter one hour ahead): in a small bowl, combine the butter, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon zest plus salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to a small saucepan and set aside.
2. HALIBUT: Heat the olive oil in a grill pan over high heat. Sprinkle the halibut generously on both sides with salt and pepper. When the grill pan is hot, place the fish on the pan, and cook for about 3 minutes on one side. Do not move the fish.
3. Meanwhile, heat the herb butter just until melted.
4. Turn the fish over, lower the heat to medium, and pour most of the melted herb butter over the fish. Cover the pan with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil, turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 3 minutes.
5. SERVE: place the fish on a heated serving platter, spoon the herb butter from the pan over the fish, then add any reserved herb butter you set aside, sprinkle with extra parsley and lemon zest. Serve hot.
Per Serving: 476 Calories; 33g Fat (62.4% calories from fat); 43g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 172mg Cholesterol; 159mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 11mcg Vitamin D; 45mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 1026mg Potassium; 548mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, Miscellaneous, on July 9th, 2022.


A post from Karen. Between late spring and early summer our farmer’s market briefly provides a delectable treat if you know how to use it. Green flower shoots of garlic, referred to as garlic ramps or garlic scapes. Farmers remove these flowers so the hard neck garlic plant can put more energy into producing larger bulbs of garlic. And instead of tossing them into the compost pile, they are much better served in our kitchens in any number of delectable ways.

I like to create a Pesto that I can then use in a number of ways. Do taste test a bit of raw Garlic Scape before you begin. They can really vary in how sharp or mellow their flavor is. You can adjust how much oil, salt and spices (Za’atar) you use accordingly. Pouring olive oil (a thin layer) over the top of the finished pesto helps to “seal” the pesto to prevent spoiling.

An example of how I used the pesto – try some Copper River king salmon filets. We slathered on some of the pesto to coat the top of the fish which was set on a cedar plank. I sprinkled some red pepper flakes, and a little additional salt and fresh ground pepper on top. My DH (Powell) did his magic with it on the BBQ and pulled it off when it was 120°. The finished salmon temp will continue to rise a few more degrees as it rests, before serving. I topped it with a few red onions I had pickled for about 20 minutes in rice wine vinegar and enjoyed this combo too.

Other uses – change up your Caprese salad with a scoop of garlic ramp pesto as a base for your dressing. Add a generous amount to your next batch of Colcannon (Irish mashed potatoes). I had three dear friends who don’t normally eat mashed potatoes go back for seconds and thirds of these! Melt a spoonful in your skillet before making scrambled eggs or sautéed veggies. Use as a base for gremolata or green Chimichurri sauce. I’d love to hear what you come up with!

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Garlic Scape Pesto

Recipe By: Created by Karen T
Servings: 8

10 ounces garlic scapes — cleaned and cut into 1″ pieces
1 cup EVOO — approximate
1/2 tablespoon Himalayan red salt, or substitute other salt
1 tablespoon za’atar — or substitute red pepper flakes, cumin, ground coriander, thyme and paprika
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
zest from one large lemon

1. Add garlic scapes and salt to a food processor or blender and pulse until finely chopped.
2. Drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice to create a paste. Mine was pretty thick.
3. At this point, store half of the mixture in a glass jar and top it with olive oil. You could also freeze this mixture. With the remaining mixture, add spices and lemon zest and pulse to combine. Store in another glass jar and top with olive oil. Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Per Serving: 240 Calories; 27g Fat (99.2% calories from fat); trace Protein; trace Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 389mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 1mg Calcium; trace Iron; 6mg Potassium; trace Phosphorus.

Posted in Chicken, Grilling, on February 20th, 2022.

:

Do you ever wish you could make something that is just bursting with lemon flavor? And garlic too? Throw in rosemary as well?

A post from Carolyn. Since I didn’t name this recipe, I guess I really shouldn’t re-name it; even so, it would be difficult to do, because these three flavors (lemon, garlic, rosemary) are just all there. Equally so. I think the lemon is predominant, however.

My friend Dianne made this chicken for the luncheon I told you about in my last post (for the classic rice pilaf – that went with this chicken). She told me that a few years ago her grown kids and grandkids were visiting and her daughter said “what’s for dinner,” and Dianne suggested they try one of the recipes from Zov’s (a local restaurant). It’s since become a favorite in her family and whenever they visit, it’s a regular on the menu. The recipe comes from Zov’s cookbook, Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart. It was published in 2005, (also updated in 2008) but it’s still available. Zov is Armenian by heritage and her recipes certainly reflect the Mediterranean and beyond culture and cuisine.

So, the recipe uses boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. Dianne pounds them to an even thickness (so you get even cooking on the grill). Then they’re marinated for about 24 hours. The recipe indicates you can marinate them a shorter period, or even longer, but Dianne likes the 24 hours as a regular benchmark. They are patted dry with paper towels, then grilled swiftly over a medium-high grill heat. Then she carefully slices them on the diagonal (so you get slightly wider slices than when cutting straight down). Put them onto a heated platter (because they cool very quickly) and serve immediately. Do put some fresh rosemary and a wedge or two of lemon on the platter when serving  – it looks so pretty.

Dianne made more than enough of this, so when we were divvying up the leftovers, she generously let me have a bunch. My granddaughter Taylor and I had two dinner meals with the leftovers, and still had more for some evening dinner salads with the chopped up cold chicken on top.

What’s GOOD: the flavors are, as I mentioned, just bursting through. Does that tell you enough – the lemon, the garlic and the rosemary. Absolutely delicious. So worth making.

What’s NOT: only that you must plan ahead at least 24 hours to get the most out of the marinating.

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Rosemary Garlic Chicken with Lemon

Recipe By: Zov Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro
Serving Size: 8

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme — chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Italian parsley or rosemary sprigs, for garnish lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Place chicken breast (firm side up) on a piece of plastic wrap and cover with a second piece. Gently pound chicken with a flat pounder until chicken is an even thickness. Repeat for remaining chicken pieces.
2. Whisk lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and oil in a large bowl to blend. Add chicken and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate, tossing occasionally, for at least one hour or up to two days.
3. Prepare barbecue for medium-high heat. Grill chicken breasts until they are just cooked through and golden brown, about 3 minutes on the first side, and about 1 minute on the 2nd side. Test the interior temperature with an instant read thermometer – it should not exceed 160°F. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and slice chicken on a slant into long strips then transfer chicken to a heated platter. Ganish with parsley or rosemary and lemon wedges.
Per Serving: 350 Calories; 17g Fat (44.0% calories from fat); 48g Protein; 1g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 151mg Cholesterol; 1277mg Sodium; trace Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 19mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 804mg Potassium; 472mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Fish, Grilling, on January 14th, 2021.

broiled_bourbon_orange_glazed_salmon

Looking for an easy weeknight salmon? Try it.

This recipe was so easy to prepare – the salmon just needed 30-90 minutes to hang out in a marinade. (Don’t marinate overnight or the acidity in the marinade will “cook” the fish, something you don’t want.) And the marinade was very easy to make too: bourbon, some orange juice, soy sauce, a tad of brown sugar, green onions, chives, garlic and lemon juice. Easy peasy. My file says I put this recipe in my file in 1999, from Cooking Light.

It was a cold night (well, cold is relative; here in California anything under about 50 is cold for us, and it was about that temp. I didn’t want to fire up the grill outside, so I made this in my toaster oven on the broil setting. Very easy.

After draining the fish, I put it on a piece of foil and onto a small baking pan that fits in the toaster oven. I preheated the oven for about 10 minutes and stuck the pan in there. The fillet I had wasn’t all that thick, so first I did 4 minutes, then removed it, turned the salmon fillet over and broiled it another 2 minutes. Done. You can brush the fish with the marinade during the broiling or grilling process. If your salmon is thicker, it might take another minute on each side.

Onto a heated plate it went. The green onions and chives were sprinkled on top and I added some cilantro too as a garnish, although cilantro wasn’t in the original recipe.  I had the cilantro out to go with the green beans you can see in the photo.

What’s GOOD: how easy this was. You do need to marinate the salmon for an hour or so, but am sure it would be fine with less time if you don’t have it. The fish was so moist and flaky. Loved it. Liked the pretty garnish too. I try to keep cilantro in my frig all the time. I had green onions, and I found some chives in my garden. Altogether delicious.

What’s NOT: only that you should marinate it for 30-90 minutes. Otherwise, this salmon is very easy to do. I can’t say that I could taste the bourbon as the other citrus juices seem to be the predominant flavor.

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Grilled or Broiled Orange Bourbon Salmon

Recipe By: Cooking Light June 1999
Serving Size: 4

4 tablespoons bourbon
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar — packed
4 tablespoons chopped green onions
9 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
6 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves — chopped
24 ounces salmon fillets — 4 pieces, 6 ounces each
Cooking spray or foil
Green onions and chives as garnish

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag, and add salmon to bag. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning bag occasionally.
2. Prepare grill or broiler.
3. Remove salmon from bag, reserving marinade. Place salmon on a grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray or lined with foil. Cook 4-6 minutes on first side (depending on the thickness of the fish), turn fillet over and continue cooking for another 1-3 minutes or JUST until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade. A thinner piece of salmon took 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second side.
4. Serve on heated platter and garnish with green onions and chives.
Per Serving : 294 Calories; 7g Fat (23.3% calories from fat); 36g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 126mg Cholesterol; 600mg Sodium; 11g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 40mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 850mg Potassium; 514mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, Grilling, on August 2nd, 2020.

grilled_lemon_pound_cake_grilled_peaches

Another recipe from Sara.

Some weeks ago I spent the day with daughter Sara and her family. In her backyard. Social distanced. It was a beautiful sunny Southern California day – the kind that makes you glad you live in California. Sara had made two new dishes – I’ve already posted the Italian Meatball Sub Sandwiches (which were SO good). For dessert she made this lemon pound cake. She’d baked it the evening before, and her family went so NUTS over it, they ate the whole thing. So the next morning she had to bake another one. Her words: this is the best pound cake I’ve ever made. What it is, is VERY lemony. It’s a pound cake – dense like a pound cake is, but so tender. SO tender.

lemon_pound_cake_ready_to_grillThe  cake comprises the usual ingredients – eggs, butter and sugar, but what was different was cake flour. Which always makes baked goods lighter in texture. That’s not to say it’s like a normal cake – no. It’s a pound cake, meaning more dense. And it is all lemon – there’s 1/4 CUP of lemon zest in this pound cake. I wonder if there’s ever too much lemon zest in things?

Do use ripe, but not overly ripe peaches. And get everything in place when you begin the grilling. Have the serving platter or dishes handy. Grill the pound cake so you get pretty grill marks, remove them, then start on the peaches. If you have a big grill, put the pound cake on the unheated side while you do the peaches. That way the pound cake will stay warm. This could be served with ice cream (vanilla) or whipped cream. grilling_peaches

Years ago I posted a recipe for grilled pound cake with grilled peaches, but the cake didn’t have the lemon in it. That makes this recipe much more interesting to me. Everybody loved it.

What’s GOOD: what bring summer to mind any more than fresh, juicy peaches? The pound cake would be good any time of  year, but the lemon aspect of this is off the charts delicious. And the combination of pound cake and peaches is sublime.

What’s NOT: can’t think of anything. Great for an outdoor barbecue.

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Grilled Lemon Pound Cake with Peaches and Cream

Recipe By: Bryan Calvert, James (restaurant), Brooklyn
Serving Size: 10

2 cups cake flour
1/4 cup lemon zest — finely grated, from about 3 lemons
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter — at room temperature
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs — at room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vegetable oil — for brushing the grill
4 large peaches — sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
Lightly sweetened whipped cream

1 Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a 9 1/2-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
2 In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, lemon juice and vanilla, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
3 Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool for 20 minutes. Unmold the cake and let cool completely, about 3 hours.
4 Light a grill. Using a serrated knife, cut the pound cake into 10 slices. Lightly oil the grate and grill the slices over moderate heat, turning once, until toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to plates. Lightly oil the grate again. Grill the peaches over moderately high heat until lightly browned and tender, about 2 minutes. Spoon the peaches over the cake, dollop with whipped cream and serve.
Per Serving: 490 Calories; 22g Fat (39.3% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 69g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 161mg Cholesterol; 201mg Sodium; 46g Total Sugars; 1mcg Vitamin D; 75mg Calcium; 3mg Iron; 209mg Potassium; 152mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Desserts, Grilling, on July 27th, 2020.

roasted_tomatoes_before_roasting

That’s a photo BEFORE roasting. SO good afterwards. See that photo below.

You’ve heard me mention my best friend Cherrie. She’s an avid cook, and prepares fabulous meals for herself and her husband Bud on a daily basis. Even before the pandemic, they rarely went out to eat. During the pandemic she’s been preparing a monstrous dish of some kind about once a week, dividing it up into four boxes and taking it to four friends – all of them don’t like to cook. One afternoon each week she and Bud go on a driving trip to deliver the meals to these four friends. Who have come to depend on their weekly delivery! She doesn’t stop at my house because she knows that I DO cook.

Some weeks ago she tried this recipe for Roasted Tomatoes from Ina Garten. I think Cherrie served them with some nice, soft fresh mozzarella cheese and made a salad. Then she began incorporating them in several of her casserole dishes she was making for friends. Then they bought a 25 pound box of Roma tomatoes to make even more of them. She was swimming in Roma tomatoes! They would be wonderful chopped up into pasta, if you’re inclined. Anyway, Cherrie was raving to me about these tomatoes. So I decided I’d best try them myself.

My neighbor did buy 12 Roma (plum) tomatoes for me a week ago, and I had some fresh thyme from my veggie delivery box. I had garlic, EVOO and balsamic. That’s all it needs except for some salt and pepper. Ina’s original recipe didn’t call for thyme, so you can eliminate that if you’d prefer. The tomatoes are halved (and I clipped out the little stem part), placed on parchment , cut side up on a sheet pan, then you begin the layering – salt, pepper, EVOO, garlic and then the thyme laid gently on the top. Roast in the oven until the tomatoes have slumped. The recipe said 20-25 minutes, but mine didn’t “slump” until about 50 minutes, probably because they were quite large tomatoes. Once roasted and cooled slight, gently strip the thyme sprigs off onto the tomatoes and discard those twigs.

roasted_tomatoes_ina_gartenMany nights I’ve been eating just vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, onions in some manner, summer squashes and mushrooms. Sometimes in combination, but usually on their own. That night I made green beans, with onions and bacon, and put a couple of these tomatoes on my plate. I didn’t take a picture of that . . . sorry.

What’s GOOD: well, what can I tell you . . . one of those tomatoes popped into your mouth is like eating candy. Truly. I think they’d be best at room temp or warmed. They’d be good with fresh mozzarella. Or chopped up and served alongside a burger or steak. Or chicken. Chopped up with green onions and lime juice, they’d be good on a piece of grilled fish.

What’s NOT: nothing other than you do need to use Roma (plum) tomatoes. I suppose you could try it with other varieties, even cherry tomatoes.

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Roasted Tomatoes with Thyme

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from Ina Garten
Serving Size: 4

12 plum tomatoes — halved lengthwise, cores and seeds removed
4 tablespoons EVOO
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large garlic cloves — minced
2 teaspoons sugar — optional
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
10 sprigs fresh thyme

NOTE: I generally don’t add sugar – ripe tomatoes have plenty of sweetness.
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place a piece of parchment paper in a large roasting pan and bend up the edges if possible so the juices don’t ooze out onto your pan (the juices will burn something fierce on the super-hot metal). You may also use foil, but parchment works better.
2. Arrange the tomatoes on the lined sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar (if using), salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Spread the thyme sprigs across the tops of the tomatoes.
3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to slump down and caramelize (which may take up to 45-55 minutes). Remove from oven, cool, then carefully, over the tomatoes, strip the thyme sprigs of their leaves, and discard the stems.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Can be used in a salad with mozzarella cheese, or ricotta, chopped up on top of a block of cream cheese with crackers, or eaten straight, warm or at room temp, for a delicious sugar bomb in your mouth!
Per Serving: 170 Calories; 14g Fat (70.5% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 879mg Sodium; 8g Total Sugars; 0mcg Vitamin D; 29mg Calcium; 1mg Iron; 464mg Potassium; 50mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Beef, Grilling, on July 21st, 2020.

grilled_ital_meatball_sandwich

Such a colorful photo, isn’t it? There’s a toasted piece of bread on the bottom, some mozzarella cheese, a kind of Italian meatball, the some marinara sauce on top.

Some weeks ago I went to my daughter Sara’s backyard – Sara, who partly (occasionally) participates on my blog. She’s so busy – she and her husband own a small business, they’re short handed, work long hours – 5, sometimes 6 days a week, and both of their kids are home now. The older one, Sabrina, just graduated from Clemson University and is applying to med school. She’s having to take a gap year but hasn’t yet found a job to fill in between now and fall 2021, that would be an asset to her medical career. She’s hoping. Her brother John is in summer school at Virginia Tech (online, that is), and he helps out most days at the family business. Sara cooks dinner at least 5 nights a week. The two kids each do dinner one night a week.

grilled_ital_meatballs_rawExcept to visit the powder room, I stayed outside the whole time. It was a lovely day. Not too hot, thank goodness. Sara made dinner (I’m posting this recipe for her, also the dessert in a few days). We had such a nice visit – it was so good to see the whole family although we couldn’t hug, of course. I wanted so much to hug my grandchildren! And everybody, really, but no, we can’t. We stayed socially distanced.

grilled_ital_meatball_bread_grillingAnyway, Sara made these open-faced Italian meatball sandwiches. She’d found the recipe on the web, but altered a bit by using chicken Italian sausage instead of pork. She’d purchased those kind of flat rolls – I don’t know what they’re called, she halved them, spread with a bit of olive oil, grilled them so they had lovely grill marks and were just barely crispy. Meanwhile she’d mixed up the meat – she used extra lean ground beef and some chicken Italian sausage and made the meatballs. The recipe indicated making round balls, but Sara tried to flatten them out some so they’d kind of fill the top of the piece of toasted bread. As you know, meat shrinks up when it’s cooked, and sure enough, these did, so they ended up more like round meatballs. The bread had some nice fresh mozzarella cheese draped over them (see photo), then the sizzling meat was put on top. They were garnished with a goodly amount of marinara sauce and decorated with some fresh basil.

grilled_ital_meatball_sandwiches_off_grill

There they are fresh off the grill, sizzling hot. Since I wasn’t doing the cooking, it was pretty easy for me to take ample photos. Some of us ate them with our hands – I ate it with a knife and fork. I knew some of that bright red, stain-worthy sauce would end up on my blouse.

What’s GOOD: loved everything about these. Partly because I hardly ever eat a sandwich of any kind these days. The meat was juicy; the mozzarella cheese gave it a nice oozy feel in the mouth. The sauce added lots of flavor, and then the fresh basil added a delicious fillip to each bite. This is a keeper.

What’s NOT: nothing, really. Not all that difficult  – make up the meatball mixture a few hours ahead.

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Italian Meatball Sub Sandwich

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from The Modern Proper food blog
Serving Size: 6

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound italian sausage — bulk ground (or use chicken Italian sausage)
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley — finely chopped
3 cloves garlic — finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs — Italian style, flavored
1 large egg
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — freshly grated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper — freshly ground
1 small focaccia — cut into 6 rectangular shapes (halved)
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices mozzarella cheese slices — use fresh style
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce — use a “good” brand
Fresh basil for garnish

1. Place the beef, sausage, parsley, garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt & pepper in a large bowl. It is important to not over mix the meat, so use your hands to combine the meatball ingredients. Once all ingredients are combined, roll into 1.5 inch balls, flatten them some so they’re kind of a flat oval and thread onto 4 skewers.
2. Preheat grill. When it’s hot, grease the grill (pour some oil onto a folded paper towel, grab with tongs and brush on the grates), then place the meatball skewers on the grill. Using tongs, rotate the meatballs until cooked through and evenly browned on all sides about 8-10 minutes total, depending on grill temperature.
3. Cut the baguette crosswise, split each piece horizontally and brush with olive oil. Place the bread face down in the grill. Flip the bread over when it is crispy and grill marks have appeared.
4. Top each baguette with mozzarella and wait for it to melt before removing it from the grill.
5. Place grilled meatballs onto the cheesy bread, drizzle with ample sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil.
Per Serving: 509 Calories; 33g Fat (59.5% calories from fat); 34g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 135mg Cholesterol; 1207mg Sodium; 4g Total Sugars; trace Vitamin D; 251mg Calcium; 4mg Iron; 616mg Potassium; 398mg Phosphorus.

Posted in Chicken, Grilling, on July 31st, 2019.

balsamic_grilled_chix_italian_street_corn

Corn is in season – get yourself some – and make this delicious topping for grilled chicken.

Remember, I went to a cooking class a week or so ago and came home with 3 chicken recipes. One more to go after this one. Phillis Carey did a riff on Mexican Street Corn, a recipe I have here on my blog. In this version she Italianized it with different herbs – she also cut it off the cobs and used it as a side/topping/relish.

The chicken breasts, cut and pounded to an even 1/2” thickness, are marinated in an Italian-style mixture with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme and a little bit of brown sugar. Some of the marinade is removed and set aside to use on the chicken as it’s grilling. The chicken can be marinated for a max of 3 hours, but 30 minutes is fine too.

The corn – it’s grilled while it’s still on the cob – then cut off the cobs and mixed while it’s still slightly warm with olive oil, mayo, rosemary, thyme and some grated Parm. Meanwhile, the chicken gets grilled until just cooked through – don’t overcook it or no one will be happy – and serve with the corn mixture on top.

Easy. Delicious.

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Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Italian Herb Street Corn

Recipe By: Cooking class with Phillis Carey, July, 2019
Serving Size: 4

CHICKEN:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar — use Swerve brown sugar if possible
3 cloves garlic — minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary — minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme — minced
salt and pepper to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
CORN:
3 corn on cob, whole
2 tablespoons olive oil — divided use
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary — minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme — minced
3 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese — grated
fresh salt and pepper to taste

1. CHICKEN: cut chicken breasts in half, crosswise, then cut thicker end in half horizontally and pound to even thickness, about 1/2″. Combine balsamic, oil, sugar, garlic, rosemary and thyme. Season marinade with salt and pepper. Remove 1/4 cup marinade and set aside.
2. Add marinade, turning to coat well. Let stand at room temp for 30 minutes or refrigerate up to 3 hours.
3. Preheat grill. Brush corn with 1 T olive oil and grill until charred over most of the surface. Remove and cut kernels off the cobs. Place corn in a bowl and once cooled some, add mayonnaise, herbs, Parm and remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Remove chicken from marinade and grill, prettier side down, for 4 minutes. Turn over and grill for 4-6 minutes or until cooked through. Brush with reserved marinade during last 2 minutes of cooking. Serve with corn on top or each piece, or on the side.
Per Serving: 402 Calories; 25g Fat (54.7% calories from fat); 30g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 71mg Cholesterol; 129mg Sodium.

Posted in Chicken, Grilling, on July 23rd, 2019.

salsa_verde_chix_onion_relish

Bet you thought you wouldn’t hear from me again. Gotcha! Carolyn here. After attending a cooking class last night. Had to share a few recipes with you. There will be two more chicken recipes plus a dessert coming up in a bit.

That photo may not be the best representation – brown food never looks that photogenic – it’s a red onion (grilled) with Cotija cheese crumbled in it set atop a grilled (marinated) chicken breast. Oh gosh, was it good! Phillis Carey said we’d all likely want to have the whole bowl of onion relish. Yes. My hand would have poked in the air begging for an extra serving. There weren’t any leftovers at the class, alas. Hence I’m going to have to make this dish sometime soon.

What makes this is the onion relish, for sure, but the marinade gives the chicken lovely flavor and I know for sure the fresh lime juice squeezed over the top just before serving added a whole lot of extra piquancy. But I could have eaten several servings of the red onion relish.

So first you marinate the chicken in jarred (Trader Joe’s) salsa verde along with oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder and cumin. The chicken breasts were given the royal Phillis Carey treatment (she being the queen of the myriad uses of chicken breasts and the pounding of them). She has a new technique, however. Since so many chicken breasts are SO big, she first cuts each breast in half crosswise in about half. Note, crosswise, not lengthwise. The thinner end is probably already thin enough, you don’t need to pound it at all – if any, just the thicker end a tiny bit. The other piece she cuts horizontally in half which gives you two equally sized pieces and those two get pounded just slightly (put the pretty side down, cover with plastic wrap and gently pound to equal thickness). So each big chicken breast = 3 nice sized entrée serving pieces. And all will cook evenly.

The onions are oiled and grilled until soft and caramelized, then removed. They’re chopped up coarsely (see photo) and some of the reserved salsa is added plus some Cotija (a dry, Mexican style salty cheese, similar to Feta) that’s crumbled up into it. The chicken is grilled as well and taken off before they overcook. Some salsa is put on the flipped over side, then you serve it with the onion piled on top. Done. You’ll hear raves, I just know it. Oh, don’t forget the grilled lime half that you grill also and squeeze that over each person’s serving. Grilled limes look so pretty – let each person squeeze their own.

What’s GOOD: the onion relish, tender, juicy chicken, everything.

What’s NOT: nothing.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file

Salsa Verde Chicken with Grilled Onion and Cotija Cheese Relish

Recipe By: Cooking class with Phillis Carey, July, 2019
Serving Size: 4

12 ounces salsa verde — Trader Joe’s, jarred, divided use
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic — minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves Salt and pepper to taste
2 whole red onions — cut in thick slices
2 whole limes — halved (for grilling)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano — chopped
1/2 cup Cotija cheese — crumbled (or use Romano, or Parmesan)

1. Remove 1 cup of salsa from the jar and set aside. Combine remaining salsa, 2 T. oil, lime juice, garlic chili powder and cumin.
2. Trim chicken and pound to an even thickness or about 1/2″. You’ll probably want to cut the chicken breast into 2 or even 3 pieces. Place chicken in non-reactive dish, season with salt and pepper to taste then pour the salsa mixture on top of the chicken, turning to coat the pieces well. Let stand at room temp for no more than 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours (no longer or the chicken will begin to “cook” in the acidic salsa).
3. Preheat grill. Brush sliced onions with oil and grill until soft and brown. Remove to a cutting board and stir in the 1/2 cup reserved salsa and the fresh oregano; set aside to cool and then toss in the Cotija cheese. Grill lime halves until browned to a medium color on the cut sides.
4. Remove chicken from marinade and grill about 4 minutes on the prettier side. Do NOT overcook. Turn over and spoon about 2 T. salsa on each chicken breast. Close lid and grill about 4 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken topped with onion cheese relish and with a grilled lime half to be squeezed over the chicken.
Per Serving: 298 Calories; 12g Fat (36.9% calories from fat); 29g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 69mg Cholesterol; 367mg Sodium.

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