Friday, June 25, 2010

Tyler Florence's Grilled Leg of Lamb

I made this saturday night for some friends. I didn't make the mache and mint salad. I added a big hit of fresh rosemary to the marinade for the lamb. I made Greek potato salad to go with it, and Connie made a squash casserole that was delicious. It would also be good with orzo with tomato sauce  and a big Greek salad.


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) boneless leg of lamb, butterflied but not tied
  • 2 cups mache or mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 bunch mint, leaves only
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions

To make the vinaigrette:


To a blender, add: the oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, thyme, lemon juice, and Dijon mustard, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Blend until thoroughly combined. Pat the lamb dry and put it on a shallow platter. Season all over with salt and pepper. Pour half of the vinaigrette over the lamb, turning the meat to get it well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Remove the marinated meat from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling.
Heat the grill (or large cast iron skillet) and oil it lightly. Remove the lamb from the marinade and grill for about 15 to 20 minutes per side for medium-rare. (Adjust the time accordingly for other degrees of doneness.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Toss the mache (or mixed baby greens), mint leaves, and scallions in a bowl and dress the salad with about 3 tablespoons of the reserved vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the lamb into thick slices and serve with greens.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Paella from The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine

I think that my sister recommended this recipe to me. It's not an authentic Spanish paella, but it's darn good. I've changed it a little over time, and I definitely do not use all the seafood the recipe calls for.  I often make it just with shrimp because they're readily available, and I like them. You could use chunks of fish or whatever mild seafood that looks good. Also, I usually use a cut up chicken, but if you only like white meat, use only chicken breasts.  Make sure you use Spanish chorizo, not Mexican. The Spanish sausage is dried and keeps a really long time.  Mexican chorizo is fresh and completely changes the dish. If you can't find Spanish chorizo, you can substitute smoked paprika.

If you are doing this for a party, you can do everything up to adding the stock in advance.

Serves 6-8

1/2 cup olive oil
2 lbs chicken parts
2 small Spanish chorizos, cut into rounds
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 pound smoked ham, diced
2 ripe tomatoes, diced (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
2 cups Uncle Ben's converted rice
3 cups chicken stock
big pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon paprika (smoked if you can't find chorizo)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 box frozen peas
2 red sweet bell peppers, cut into rings or strips
1 10 oz box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds clams, in the shell, rinsed (discard any clams that aren't closed or won't close when tapped.)
1 cup dry white wine

Heat a large frying pan. Add 1/4 cup of the oil and brown the chicken. Remove from pan.  Add the onions, garlic, ham, chorizo saute until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add remaining oil and add the rice, stirring until the rice begins to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the stock with the saffron, paprika, red pepper flakes, thyme, salt, & black pepper. Bring to a boil.

If your frying pan isn't very large, transfer everything to a large Dutch oven, otherwise put everything into the frying pan and place the chicken on top. Add the defrosted artichoke hearts and arrange the red pepper slices on top. Add the wine and the stock. Cover and cook 20 minutes. Uncover & add shrimp, clams, and peas and cover. Cook another 5-10 minutes or until the shrimp are done and the clams have opened.  Discard any clams that don't open.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Category - Summer

 I created this category because I wanted a quick way to see all the recipes that I tend to use in the summer. So this category consists of grilled dishes, salads and other light dishes, and a lot of seafood.  Enjoy the summer!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rachel Ray's Grilled Ceasar Salad w Avocado Dressing

We were at the beach with my husband's family this past week and his brother's wife suggested a grilled ceasar salad that Rachel Ray had made on her show. It was fabulous. Dressing was really yummy!!

1 small avocado, pitted
Juice of 2 lemons
2 teaspoons anchovy paste [or you can whole anchovies from small can since you are placing in food processor, adjust to taste]
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 large romaine hearts, split in half through the core [do not slice off core, slicing throught the core allows the leaves to remain together while cooking]
Nonstick cooking spray
Yields: 4 servings
Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the avocado, lemon juice, anchovy paste, garlic, Worcestershire, cheese, salt and lots of pepper. Pulse the machine to chop everything up then leave it on and stream about 1/4 cup EVOO into the mixture until a thick dressing forms. Reserve. [ We had way more dressing than needed, in fact, used two more heads the next night and still had plenty of dressing]
Pat the romaine hearts dry, spray the cut sides and grill, cut side-down, until marked, about 2 minutes. [we found that on our grill it took longer for the romaine hearts to cook to get grill marks and some wilting, more like 5-8 minutes] Serve the grilled romaine topped with the Caesar-cado dressing.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Camarones al mojo de ajo (shrimp with garlic) from Rick Bayless

We would always go to Soberanis on the Paseo de Montejo in Merida to eat Camarones al mojo de ajo. Rick Bayless's recipe seems to come close to the way Soberanis made them.Rick's recipe calls for chile de arbol in the mojo, but in Yucatan the salsa picante is always served on the side to be added to taste.  I would also have the fish market shell and devein the shrimp in order to make this a quick and easy recipe.  Serve this with rice and a salad.

Serves 6 generously
Working ahead: Since the mojo de ajo keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator (the oil will become solid but will liquefy again at room temperature), it makes sense to cook a large amount. Mojo in the refrigerator holds great potential for a quick wonderful meal. Heat cold mojo slowly before using. For the best texture, cook shrimp immediately before serving. Or cook several hours ahead, douse with garlic mojo and serve at room temperature.

¾ cup peeled whole garlic cloves (about 2 large heads)
1 cup good-quality oil, preferably extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
3 limes
2 pounds (about 48) medium-large shrimp, peeled (leaving the last joint and tail intact if you wish)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (optional)
To make mojo de ajo
  1. Either chop garlic with a sharp knife into 1/8-inch bits or drop cloves through feed tube of a running food processor and process until pieces are roughly 1/8 inch. You should have about ½ cup chopped garlic.
  2. Scoop into a small (1-quart) saucepan, measure in oil (use all of it for even cooking) and ½ teaspoon salt, and set over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as mixture comes barely to a simmer (there should be just a hint of movement on the surface of the oil). Adjust the heat to very lowest possible setting to keep mixture at that very gentle simmer (bubbles will rise in the pot like mineral water).
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is a soft and pale golden (the color of light brown sugar), about 30 minutes (the slower the cooking, the sweeter the garlic).
  4. Squeeze juice of 1 of the limes into the pan and simmer until most of the juice has evaporated or been absorbed into the garlic, about 5 minutes. Taste the mojo de ajo and add a little more salt to taste.
  5. Keep pan over low heat, so garlic will be warm when shrimp are ready. Cut remaining limes into wedges, scoop into a serving bowl and set on the table.
To make shrimp
  1. Devein shrimp if desired (lay the shrimp one by one on your work surface, make a shallow incision down the back, scrape out the usually dark intestinal track and discard).
  2. Over medium-high heat, set a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet and spoon in 1½ tablespoons of oil (but not the garlic) from the mojo. Add half of the shrimp to the skillet, sprinkle generously with salt, then stir gently and continuously until shrimp are just cooked through, 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in cilantro or parsley if desired.
  3. Scoop cooked shrimp onto deep serving platter. Repeat steps for cooking shrimp with the remaining half and another 1½ tablespoons of the garlicky oil. When all the shrimp are cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the warm bits of garlic and chiles from the pan, and douse them over shrimp. (You may have as much as 1/3 cup of the oil leftover, for which you'll be grateful -- it's wonderful for sautéeing practically anything).
  4. If you're a garlic lover, you're about to have the treat of your life. Serve with lime wedges to add sparkle.


This recipe is from Cooks County TV. I made it in the fall and cut the recipe in half for just Ken and I. I served it with mashed potato's and a salad. When I do it again, I think I will cut the recipe by 1/3 as I wanted more gravy to put on the mashed potato's. These pork chops were scrumptious. Also, they braise in the oven and are really easy. Anyone that likes pork and apples together should try this. Also, do have the butcher cut you blade cut pork chops as described below. Far Superior!

From the episode: Perfect Pork

Do not use chops thinner than 1 inch. In step 3, a fat separator makes quick work of defatting the sauce.

Serves 6.


6bone-in blade-cut pork chops , about 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2tablespoons vegetable oil
1onion , chopped
3garlic cloves , minced
2tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4cup apple butter
1cup apple cider
1sprig fresh thyme
1teaspoon cider vinegar
1tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chops in two batches, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to plate.

  2. 2. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, flour, and 2 tablespoons apple butter and cook until onions are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cider and thyme, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and bring to boil. Add browned chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise until chops are completely tender, about 1½ hours.

  3. 3. Transfer chops to serving platter. Strain sauce, then use a shallow spoon to skim off fat. Whisk in vinegar, parsley, and remaining apple butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table.

  4. Make Ahead: Chops and sauce can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. To serve, heat sauce and chops together over medium heat until chops are warmed through.

Mango salsa

The mangos have been so beautiful lately that I've been using them in all kinds of ways.  I made this salsa last week.  It would be delicious with any grilled meats. Be careful with the chipotle chile powder.  It may look like chile powder, but it is much hotter. 

3-4 servings 

1 mango diced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 small red onion, sliced finely
big handful of cilantro,chopped
big handful of mint, chopped
grated rind of 1 lime
juice of 1 lime
2 tbl fresh orange juice
1/8 tsp (or to taste) chipotle chile powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together, taste and correct seasonings.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Shrimp Ceviche

Yesterday, I was talking to my fantastic manicurists Ann and Steve at Odyssey Pedispa about the delicious shrimp ceviche at Don Gallo's.  Ann loves it and so do I. After a little research I adapted my Yucatecan ceviche to shrimp.  I hope Ann likes it.   In Yucatan we always used habanero chiles, but a fresh jalapeno would work just as well. If you want the chile to be milder, remove the seeds and veins. Adjust the amount of chile to your personal tolerance for heat. You might want to start with 1/2 or even a 1/4 of an habanero.  They're really hot.
Tip:  Chop the habanero chile, using a fork and knife.  It's best not to touch it with your fingers because, even if you wash your hands, the oil from the chile doesn't come off.  Later when you rub your eyes, you will be sooo sorry that you didn't follow this advice.
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lemon
3-4  Limes
1 oranges
1 large Tomato  or 2 roma tomates
1/2 red onion, diced finely
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1/2 tsp Salt 
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 Chile Habanero, finely chopped
Add the lemon to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Add the shrimp,stir, and as soon as the water returns to the boil, drain the shrimp. (If you use larger shrimp, boil them a little longer.) Plunge the shrimp into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and drain again.  Dice the shrimp and place in a bowl.

Add the lime and orange juices, salt, and pepper.  Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours, turning occasionally.
Add the tomato, onion, cilantro, chile, and olive oil.  Mix to combine.
Serve with crackers or taco chips and cold beer.