Monday, December 18, 2017

Seven Layer Taco DIp

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.
Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.

Top with a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce. 
Next add Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives and cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups cauliflower florets
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 lemon wedges

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Combine olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add cauliflower florets; toss well to coat. Arrange cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; bake at 450°F for 18 to 20 minutes or until cauliflower is browned and tender. Combine the cauliflower mixture, cilantro, raisins, and lemon juice in a bowl; toss gently to combine.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Grilled Garlic and Black Pepper Shrimp

1 fresh red chile (such as Fresno), seeds removed, finely grated
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for grill
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
Kosher salt
Lime wedges and Kashmiri chili powder or paprika (for serving)

Whisk chile, garlic, pepper, lime juice, and 2 Tbsp. oil in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat; season with salt. Thread shrimp onto skewers.

Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; clean grates well, then oil. Grill shrimp, turning once, until cooked through and lightly charred, about 5 minutes total. Serve with lime wedges dipped in chili powder.

Homemade Chicken Ramen

4 chicken thighs (boneless, skin-on)
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to season
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tsp fresh garlic, minced
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp mirin
5 cups rich chicken stock
1 oz dried shitake mushrooms (or 1/2 cup fresh)
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup scallions, sliced
2 (3 oz) packs dried ramen noodles
optional: fresh jalapeño slices, for serving

Cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until golden. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven, transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil until ready to serve.

Let the chicken cool and then slice into thin pieces.

Make the ramen broth: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add the soy sauce and mirin, and stir to combine. Cook for another minute. Add the stock, cover, and bring to boil. Remove the lid, and let simmer uncovered for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Simmer gently for another 10 minutes, and season with salt, to taste.

Make the soft-boiled eggs: Fill a pot with enough water to cover the eggs, and bring to a boil. Gently lower the eggs (still cold from the fridge) into the boiling water, and let simmer for 7 minutes (for a slightly-runny yoke) or 8 minutes (for a soft, but set-up yoke).

When the eggs finish cooking, add the ramen noodles to the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until soft,

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. When the timer finishes, transfer the eggs to the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Wait at least 5 minutes, or until cool enough to handle, then carefully peel away the shell and slice in half, lengthwise. Set aside until ready to serve.

Assemble the ramen bowls: Divide the noodles into two large bowls. Add the sliced chicken and the ramen broth. Top with the fresh scallions, jalapeño and the soft boiled egg. Serve immediately.

** Makes only 2-3 servings.  Consider doubling **

Salmon Crudo with Chives

1 pound salmon, halibut, yellowtail, or any other sushi-quality fish
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives or slivered scallions

Slice the fish across the grain into 16 thin slices. Arrange on a chilled platter. Season each slice with salt and pepper.
Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, olive oil, and chives or scallions. Spoon over the fish, and serve.

Note – Made it once, a bit too much lemon flavor. 

Salmon Crudo with Dill and Capers

1 lb piece sashimi-grade salmon fillet, pin-boned
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice of 2
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon baby capers
2 tablespoons chopped dill

Rinse the salmon, then pat dry with paper towel. Enclose in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour (this makes slicing easier).

Meanwhile, place lemon zest and juice, shallot, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in oil to combine. Set aside.

Just before serving, use a very sharp knife to cut very thin salmon slices. Spread on a platter, drizzling with dressing as you go. Scatter with capers and dill. Serve immediately

Snapper Crudo

2 Fresno chiles or jalapeños, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt
8 ounces sashimi-grade snapper or sea bream fillet, skin removed, halved lengthwise, bones and bloodline removed, very thinly sliced
Fresh cilantro leaves (for serving)
Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Pulse chiles, orange zest, orange juice, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor until very finely chopped; season chile paste with kosher salt.

Arrange snapper on chilled plates. Top with chile paste and cilantro, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds and sea salt.

DO AHEAD: Chile paste can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Breaded Oysters

8 ounces fresh select oysters

Egg Dip
1 large eggs, slightly beaten or 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon club soda or 1 tablespoon skim milk

Flour Coating
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon morton nature seasoning

3⁄4 cup breadcrumbs
1⁄2 teaspoon italian seasoning

Hot Sauce
1⁄4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (we like it spicy)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄8 teaspoon sugar
1⁄2-1 teaspoon hot sauce


Line colander with two layers of paper towel.  Rinse oysters, drain and put in colander, patting to dry.

Mix all ingredients together.  To allow flavors to blend, refrigerate several hours.  Hot Sauce will keep several days in the refrigerator.

In small bowl, add egg and milk; whisk to blend well.  If using only egg whites, do not whisk enough to be dry/frothy.

Put all ingredients in small plastic bag and shake to mix well.

In a small bowl, add ingredients and mix well.

1) Dip 2 or 3 oysters in Egg Dip, letting any excess drain off.
2) Place them in Flour Coating, shaking to completely coat oysters. Remove from Flour Mixture.
3) Repeat step 1.
4) Place them in Panko Coating bowl.  Roll them over and get them completely coated with bread crumbs.   With tongs, gently remove them from breadcrumbs and place in a single layer on a baking tray lined with plastic wrap.
5) Repeat Steps 1-4 until all oysters are breaded.

Cover breaded oysters with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or more.  This breading can be done up to 8 hours ahead.

Heat frying oil in deep pan to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  With tongs, gently remove oysters from baking sheet and gently drop them into the hot oil.  Fry the oysters in small (6-8 oysters each) batches to keep from lowering the temperature of the oil too much.  Fry about 2 minutes or until golden brown on one side, turn and brown other side (about 1-2 minutes).  Remove from oil and drain on layers of paper towels.

Serve immediately with Hot Sauce.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Thai Balls

For meatballs:

 2 Tbsp olive oil
 1 lb ground pork
 1 lb shrimp, shelled, deveined, and roughly chopped
 2 large eggs
 ¾ cup fresh thai basil(or italian basil), roughly chopped
 ¾ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
 ½ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
 2 thai chiles, shelled, deveined, and roughly chopped stemmed, seeded, and minced
 ½ cup bread crumbs
 2 Tbsp minced lemongrass (or lemongrass paste)
 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
 2 garlic cloves, minced
 Juice of 1 lime
 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
 2 Tbsp fish sauce

For garnish:
 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
 1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
 2 large carrots, julienned or grated
 10 fresh Thai basil (or Italian basil) leaves, roughly chopped
 ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro (including stems)
 10 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
 ¼ cup roasted peanuts, chopped
 1 tsp sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle the olive oil into a 9 x 13- inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.

Combine the ground pork, shrimp, eggs, basil, cilantro, mint, chiles, bread crumbs, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

Roll the mixture into round, golf ball–size meatballs (about 1½ inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. The meatballs should be touching one another.

Roast for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. A meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish.

Meanwhile, place the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, carrots, basil, cilantro, mint, peanuts, and sesame seeds in a bowl and toss to combine.

Spoon the garnish over the top of the meatballs and serve.

Lamb Burgers with Lemon-Caper Aioli and Fennel Slaw



¼ cup rinsed salt-packed capers
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons (or more) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt

1½ pounds ground lamb, preferably grass-fed
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced; plus ¼ cup chopped fennel fronds (optional)
¼ large sweet onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons crushed dried mint
Freshly ground black pepper
4 potato or ciabatta rolls, toasted
Boquerones (marinated white anchovies, for serving, optional)

Place capers in a small bowl and pour in warm water to cover. Let soak 20 minutes. Drain, rinse, and pat dry. Coarsely chop.

Whisk capers, mayonnaise, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, and garlic in a medium bowl; taste and season with salt and more lemon juice, if desired.  Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Toss celery, fennel, fennel fronds (if using), onion, lemon juice, dried mint, and remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium bowl. Season slaw with salt and pepper.

Shape lamb into 4 patties about 1" thick, season with salt, and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes.

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet, ideally cast iron, over medium. Cook lamb patties, working in batches if needed, until browned (they won’t take on as much color as a beef burger), 5–7 minutes. Turn and cook until browned on second side, about 5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer patties to a plate and let rest 10 minutes.

Generously spread aioli on cut sides of buns and build each burger with a lamb patty, 3 or 4 boquerones, and a mound of slaw. 

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Schmaltzy Vinaigrette


1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
4 (6-oz.) skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lb.)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups halved Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and potatoes in a bowl; toss to coat. Spread potato mixture on prepared pan; bake at 450°F for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Remove pan from oven; keep warm.

Meanwhile, place a wire rack on a baking sheet. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to skillet, skin side down; cook 8 minutes. Flip, and cook 2 minutes (chicken will not be cooked through). Place chicken on wire rack (reserve drippings in skillet). Bake chicken at 450°F for 20+ minutes or until done.

Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, halved Brussels sprouts, and carrots to drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Remove vegetables from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside (do not wipe out pan).

Place shallots in a small bowl. Add vinegar to skillet, scraping to loosen browned bits. Add vinegar mixture, remaining oil, and brown sugar to shallots, stirring to combine. Place 1 cup potatoes and 1/2 cup vegetable mixture on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 chicken thigh and about 1 1/2 tablespoons shallot mixture.

Quick Chicken or Pork Picatta with Parslied Orzo


1 cup uncooked whole-wheat orzo
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 (4-oz.) boneless skinless chicken thighs or pork chops
1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
8 thin lemon slices, seeds removed
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain but reserve 1 cup of pasta water Spread orzo on a baking sheet; cool 10 minutes. Place orzo in a bowl; add 1 tablespoon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, parsley, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring to combine.

Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken / pork with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Dredge meat in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add meat to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Place meat on a platter (do not wipe out pan).

Add shallot and garlic to pan; cook2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons juice and lemon slices, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to low; add capers and butter, stirring until butter melts. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you want it saucier.  Spoon lemon mixture over chicken. Serve with orzo.

Chicken Escabeche


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 bay leaf
⅔ cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 chicken legs, thighs and drumsticks separated, patted dry
1 serrano chile, very thinly sliced
½ cup golden raisins
¾ cup mint leaves

Preheat oven to 400°. Toast cumin and coriander seeds in a dry medium saucepan over medium heat, tossing, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add ¼ cup oil, followed by onion, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent but hasn’t taken on any color, about 5 minutes. Add bay leaf, vinegar, and ½ cup water and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 1 minute. Remove marinade from heat; season with salt and pepper.

Season chicken generously all over with salt and pepper. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Working in batches if needed, cook chicken, skin side down, in a single layer until skin is well browned and very crisp, 8–12 minutes. Turn pieces over and cook on the other side 1 minute (if cooking in batches, transfer pieces to a plate as they’re done). Chicken will not yet be cooked through. Return chicken to pot, arranging skin side up and nestling pieces side by side to form as even a layer as possible. Pour in marinade (meat should be mostly submerged, but you want the skin still exposed). Scatter chile and raisins over top.

Transfer pot to oven and bake, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through, 10–15 minutes (an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh should register 165°). Let rest 10–15 minutes, then top with mint.