Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

For a great summer lunch try this chilled asparagus with some salmon poached in wine. I usually do the salmon with cold green beans (blanched), but not having found any at Costco, I went for using asparagus, which I believe you northerners are seeing IN SEASON. We started the meal with a cold strawberry soup ( which is somewhere on this blog if you do a search). The great thing about this meal is that you can easily prepare it all in the morning and just plate it up when company arrives.

Chilled Asparagus with Citrus Dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 1-pound asparagus, woody ends cut off
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Juice of an orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2. Add in the asparagus and cook for 2 minutes.

3. Immediately remove the asparagus from the boiling water and place it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

4. Once the asparagus has cooled remove it from the water, blot it dry with a towel, and place it in a large bowl.

5. In a glass measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients (everything from zest down to pepper) and whisk together to form the citrus vinaigrette.

6. Pour the desired amount of vinaigrette over the asparagus and toss to coat.

7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, then top with a little more salt and pepper.

Zucchini Noodle Pesto for Two

My spouse bought three medium sized zucchini at the grocery store with which I made this wonderful pesto dish. Meatless! Unlike most pesto dishes, this one I made with no pesto sauce, as you will see below. It was all his idea and turned out perfectly!

Zucchini Noodle ‘Pesto” for Two

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchinis (ends trimmed) unpeeled
  • 2 cups fresh packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 T. cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese+
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Use a spiralizer to make strands of zucchini noodles(zoodles). I chose the thinner setting.
  2. Shred the basil leaves by rolling them together like a cigar and slicing across the roll. This is called chiffonading.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a small pan until slightly brown and remove from heat.
  4. Sauté the zucchini noodles in 1 tablespoon of cooking olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan for two minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the fresh basil leaves to the noodles and stir to mix well.
  6. Add pine nuts and cherry tomatoes. Salt and pepper to preference.
  7. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the noodles and serve.
  8. Top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Garnish with more basil leaves.

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Tired of the same old green salads? No lettuce in the house? Greek salad is the answer – minus lettuce, which is not even normally found in a true Greek salad.

Start with a freshmade dressing, refrigerated while you chop up the salad ingredientes. This is one of our new favorites, for sure! And it looks beautiful as well.

You won’t find a better Greek salad anywhere…

Greek Salad and Dressing for Two

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove garlic finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Measure all ingredients into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until well-blended and emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

(Alternatively, you may whisk the ingredients together in a bowl, process the ingredients in a mini food processor, or blend them together in a blender.) Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature and shake well before using.

Greek Salad

  • 1 Roma tomato diced
  • ¼ red onion diced
  • ½ English seedless cucumber large dice
  • ½ red pepper diced
  • ½ cup whole black olives
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Mix all salad ingredients in a bowl. Toss with dressing and refrigerate 15 minutes.

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Hope you will love this recipe as much as we did! Our spinach was not looking good, so I needed to cook it up! Pinterest to the rescue AGAIN! Fortuitously, we had purchased some smoked paprika when we were in Budapest years back and I had never used it. Since I only had chicken breasts I used them and it turned out fine. as you can see below. I cooked up some wonderful Parmesan and garlic green beans with pine nuts to accompany the dish.

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika (for seasoning chicken)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper (each for seasoning chicken)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Creamy Paprika Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (sodium free)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (juice of squeezed lemon)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp paprika

1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing it evenly over both sides.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet (I used cast iron skillet) over medium high heat and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes. Flip, and turn the heat down to medium and cook for another three minutes. Remove and set chicken aside on separate plate.

Making Creamy Sauce:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the now empty skillet. Add garlic and cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes. Add flour using a sifter until well mixed. Add wine next and cook for 1-2 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate.

 Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream and lemon juice. Add salt and paprika. Mix well. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning (if necessary) at this point.

Spinach:

Add in the spinach and cook for additional 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Return the chicken to the skillet and cook covered for 2-3 minutes if your chicken breasts are thin; or for 5-7 minutes, if they are thick.

Serve immediately.

Classic Cobb Salad + Dressing

Just in case you are wondering about the difference between  a Chef’s Salad and a Cobb Salad, here is what I found in Wikipedia

A Chef Salad and Cobb Salad both have lettuce, cheese and meats such as bacon, chicken breast, and ham, plus hard boiled eggs. But a Cobb salad usually has a mixture of lettuces, and also has avocado and tomatoes. It was named after Robert Cobb who was the owner of the famous Hollywood Brown Derby and created by his chef in 1937.

This is the Pinterest version I was able to locate. Cobb Salad Dressing.

Cobb Salad

Classic Cobb Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast or leftover baked ham, chopped
  • 3/4 head iceberg lettuce (or salad greens blend)
  • 8 grape tomatoes (I chopped up a Roma tomato)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 1/2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
  • 3 ounces ranch dressing (or blue cheese dressing) OR Cobb Dressing below*
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lay out bacon strips on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until is crispy. Removed from oven and transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  2. Heat grill or a skillet over medium-high heat). Cook chicken, flipping once, for about 3-4 minute per side. Make sure chicken reaches 165 degrees F internal temp and is no longer pink. Remove to a plate to rest. (Substitute chopped ham in place of chicken).
  3. Rinse and dry lettuce, then remove outer leaves and core. Cut into bite-sized pieces and place on a platter or shallow serving bowl.
  4. Rinse and halve tomatoes. Place on top of the lettuce to one side of the bowl. Slice eggs and place next to the tomatoes in a line. Cut avocado in half, remove from skin and then chop or slice. Add next to eggs.
  5. Slice or dice chicken and place on salad next to avocado. Crumble bacon and place next to the chicken/ham. Crumble blue cheese and place next to bacon.
  6. Serve with the ORIGINAL dressing! 

Cobb Salad Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup salad oil
  1. Place all ingredients in a blend and blend together until well mixed.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

A Little Taste of Brazil!!

One of the most desired cuts of beef in Brazil is called (picanha) . It is also very common in higher end restaurants in Yucatan these days. What is it?

Picanha is a cut of beef called sirloin cap in the United States or the rump cap in the United Kingdom, that is popular in Portugal and Brazil. In the United States, it is little known, but referred to as the rump cover, rump cap, or culotte.

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In a Brazilian restaurant it is often served on large skewers…

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I chose to roast it whole.

There are THREE steps to the recipe, which involves marinating overnight in the refrigerator (see below) with a citrus-herb salt rub.

Simple Roasted Picanha Recipe

Step One – Citrus-Herb Salt Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • Zest of one small lemon, approximately 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Score the fatty blanket on the picanha by making criss-crossing cuts into the fatty blanket covering one side of the picanha.  Fat behaves differently than meat when cooked.  It loses more liquid and therefore shrinks more.  By scoring the fat, you can prevent the piece from curling and dis-forming while it grills.  

Rub the salt mixture into the cross cuts of the fat. Refrigerate overnight.

Step Two – Preheat oven to 400 degrees, letting the picana come to room temperature.

Prepare the chimichurri sauce by mixing the following ingredients…

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili pepper flakes (less for milder flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons minced oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Step Three – Sear and Roast the picana as follows

Heat a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour in a few tablespoons of olive oil.

Sear the beef until browned on both sides,approximately 2 minutes per side.Transfer the skillet to the oven with the fatty side of the piranha facing up.

Cook the roast for 35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 128-130° for medium-rare. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting!!

Slice against the grain for tender cuts.    

Here is my recent attempt to duplicate that restaurant experience in our oven…in case there is too much snow to fire up the Barbie, mates. Sliced after resting with chimichurri sauce.

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Roasted Parmesan Garlic Shrimp

“Honey, I’m home!” (for all of those familiar with that old greeting from some TV show?) Welcome back former followers. Your encouragement is appreciated. A recent house sitter left behind some really nice frozen shrimp and (Pinterest to the rescue) I decided to thaw them out- 24 beautiful specimens which only required peeling and deveining. Once done, I put them in some cold water with a little salt and put them back in the refrigerator awaiting dinner prep.  Some fresh asparagus was also waiting to be used. Everything came together with very little prepping…

  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Cocktail sauce for dipping (1/2 cup ketchup + 2 tablespoons horseradish)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with oil.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on the sheet. Evenly distribute olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss together with your hands and spread out again.

*Place the pan in the oven and roast the shrimp until just pink, firm and cooked. This should take 9 minutes. When done sprinkle with lemon juice and serve with whatever side you have chosen.

*NOTE…since the oven was on I also roasted the asparagus which was drizzled with olive oil, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan. If you choose to do the asparagus, put it in the oven 10 minutes before the shrimp and leave them in until the shrimp are done.

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Best Chicken Marinade Ever!

Well maybe an overstatement, as I am still looking for the BEST one…LOL. In the interim I tried this one and was quite happy with it overall. Any suggestions you might have would be greatly appreciated as I approach 14000 views on this blog!! Thanks to all of you have stopped by… here is the result with chicken thighs…

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Best Chicken Marinade Ever

Ingredients

  • 6 Chicken breasts or 3.5 lb. chicken
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Rosemary, dried
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard
  • 1/8 cup Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Black pepper, ground
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar ( I cut this back to 1/4 cup so not so sweet)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Olive oil, extra virgin

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for chicken, in a large Pyrex measuring cupor mixing bowl and whisk together.
  2. Remove a half a cup of marinade and reserve for basting the chicken later.
  3. Place chicken in a large, Ziploc bagand pour marinade over the top. Close securely.
  4. Marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

To grill

  1. Preheat grill to medium high heat and lightly oil the grates.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off.
  3. Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  4. Baste the chicken occasionally with the reserved marinade.
  5. Remove chicken from grill and tent with foil. Let chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving

 

 

Green Beans with Lemon and Feta

This is a great and easy accompaniment to a great steak and maybe a potato! Can you tell this by the photo?

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Great for BBQ season as well…

GREEN BEANS WITH LEMON AND FETA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of fresh green beans (stem end snipped off), washed
  • 4 heaping tablespoons feta cheese
  • juice of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add about 1/2 inch of water to a medium-sized sauté pan. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. Add beans, cover and continue to cook on medium-high for 4-5 minutes or until fork tender but still crispy.
  3. Drain and return to pan. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss to coat. Place green beans on a plate and sprinkle with feta, then lemon juice, then pepper (and salt if desired).
  4. Serve immediately. (But they are also pretty great cold!)

 

 

Marinated Red Onions

This is an older recipe which I did not realize I had never posted before. I served this with my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork which was posted last year I believe. I served the pork on a ciabatta bun topped with a little sauce, the red onions and slices of avocados. Hope you might try this semi-Mexican dish. FYI…this recipe will last a couple of weeks in the fridge. Drain off the liquid before serving.

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And here is the recipe…

Marinated Red Onions (LCBO Food and Drink)

1 lb. red onions sliced (2 large)

2 cups white wine vinegar

¼ cup cilantro sprigs

½ cup lemon OR lime juice

½ cup orange juice

½ tsp. salt

 Put all of the ingredients together and marinade for at least 24 hours. The acid cooks down the onions… remember to drain it off before serving.

Serve with my Slow Cooked Pulled Pork!!