After being away from home for the holidays, I went food shopping on Friday to stock up for meals for the coming week. I pretty much plan my menu based on what looks good in the produce section of the supermarket or the farmer’s market.
The greens this week were gorgeous as were several other vegetables. Each of the posts will show a few photos of some of the items I bought and I will share with you throughout the week what I made with these great looking veggies.
I have also discovered a new type of pasta and my blog readers who are carb conscious may be interested. It is called Fiber Pasta and it is made in Italy but distributed by an American company in CA. Fiber Pasta products are low glycemic, reduced in carbs, high in fiber, high in protein and non-GMO with a traditional taste and texture. For more information visit their website: https://fiberpasta.us/
Broccoli Rabe And Fiber Pasta
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large bunch broccoli rabe, about 1 1/2 lb., ends trimmed
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 lb ziti pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Cut off the broccoli rabe florets and coarsely chop the leaves and tender stems.
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook until al dente.
While the pasta water is heating, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil.
Add the onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes.
Stir in half of the broccoli rabe, including the florets, coating them with the oil.
Cook until the wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining broccoli rabe and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Pour in the broth and reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the broccoli rabe is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more.
Stir in the 1/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper.
When the pasta is ready, drain and place the pasta in a serving bowl. Top with the broccoli rabe sauce and add the cheese. Mix well and serve.
Roasted Italian Sausage and Red Bell Peppers
1.5 lbs Italian sweet fennel rope sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 red bell peppers, cut into one-inch cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the peppers, garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil in a baking dish.
Place the whole sausage rope on top and bake for 30 minutes.
Turn the sausages and peppers over and return the dish to the oven for an additional 30 minutes or until the sausages are golden brown.
To serve, cut the sausage into pieces and serve with the peppers.
The Mediterranean countries include France, Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal along the north; Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Israel on the east; and the African countries of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia on the south. The Mediterranean countries utilize many of the same ingredients but each country has a unique way of creating recipes with those same ingredients. So far in this series, I have written about Mediterranean cuisine in general and about the countries of Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Syria. This series continues with the country of Lebanon.
Stretching along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Lebanon’s length is almost three times its width. As it stretches from north to south, the width of its terrain becomes narrower. Lebanon has a Mediterranean climate characterized by a long, semi-hot, and dry summer, and a cold, rainy and snowy winter.
The country’s role in the region was shaped by trade. Lebanon is named “the pearl of the middle east.” It serves as a link between the Mediterranean world and India and East Asia. The merchants of the region exported oil, grain, textiles, metalwork, and pottery through the port cities to Western markets.
Lebanon was heavily forested in ancient and medieval times, and its timber, especially cedar, was exported for building and shipbuilding. Although Lebanon’s diverse and abundant plant and animal life suffered a heavy toll during the country’s lengthy civil war, the post-civil war period was marked by the rise of fledgling environmental groups and movements that worked toward the creation of protected areas and parks in Lebanon’s ecological areas.
Lebanon has a heterogeneous society composed of numerous ethnic and religious groups. Ethnically, the Lebanese compose a mixture Phoenicians, Greeks, Armenians and Arabs.
The cuisine of Lebanon is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet. It includes an abundance of grains, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood; animal fats are consumed sparingly. Poultry is eaten more often than red meat, and when red meat is eaten, it is usually lamb.
Many dishes in the Lebanese cuisine can be traced back thousands of years to eras of Roman and Phoenician rule. More recently, Lebanese cuisine was influenced by the different foreign civilizations that held power. From 1516 to 1918, the Ottoman Turks controlled Lebanon and introduced a variety of foods that have become staples in the Lebanese diet, such as cooking with lamb. After the Ottomans were defeated in World War I (1914–1918), France took control of Lebanon until 1943, when the country achieved its independence. The French introduced foods such as flan, a caramel custard dessert dating back to the 16th century AD, and croissants.
Most often foods are grilled, baked or sautéed in olive oil and vegetables are often eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. Herbs and spices are used in large quantities. Like most Mediterranean countries, much of what the Lebanese eat is dictated by the seasons and what is available. In Lebanon, very rarely are drinks served without being accompanied by food. Similar to the tapas of Spain and aperitivo of Italy, mezze is an array of small dishes placed before the guests. Mezze may be as simple as raw or pickled vegetables, hummus, baba ghanouj and bread, or it may become an entire meal consisting of grilled marinated seafood, skewered meats, a variety of cooked and raw salads and an arrangement of desserts.
Salads may include tabbouleh, fattoush and kebbeh. Patties such as the Sambusac and stuffed grape leaves are often included. Family cuisine offers also a range of dishes, such as stews, which can be cooked in many forms depending on the ingredients used and are usually served with meat and rice vermicelli. Lebanese flat bread, called pita, is a staple at every Lebanese meal and can be used in place of a fork. Although simple fresh fruits are often served towards the end of a Lebanese meal, there are also desserts, such as baklava. Although baklava is the most internationally known dessert, there is a great variety of Lebanese desserts.
Lebanese Dishes To Make At Home
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading/forming
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 cup and 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in 1⁄2 cup of warm water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the salt in 1 cup of warm water. Add the flour and turn the mixer on.
Slowly add the yeast mixture and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Mix until the dough combines (it will be sticky), about 2 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball and place on a lightly greased sheet pan. Coat lightly with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 (5 oz.) pieces and roll each piece into a ball.
Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Cover the balls with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the plastic wrap stick to the balls (you can do this by placing coffee mugs or short glasses on the sheet pan). Let the balls proof for 15 minutes.
Lightly dust one piece of dough at a time on both sides with flour.
Push the dough out with your fingers in a circular motion to create a disk that is approximately 5″ in diameter and 1⁄2″ thick.
Using a lightly floured rolling-pin, roll the dough in a clockwise motion to get it to 7″ in diameter and 1⁄8″ thick.
Transfer the dough to an inverted lightly floured sheet pan. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 3 minutes.
Flip the bread over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Place a second piece of parchment paper on top of the bread and cover with a damp towel. Let the bread sit for 10 minutes, or until cooled.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
When ready to serve, lightly brush the pitas with the remaining olive oil and grill for 1-1 1⁄2 minutes on each side.
It should be warm but still pliable. Cut the bread into wedges and serve.
Thick, tart, and creamy yogurt-like cheese, is eaten with olive oil, pita bread and za’atar.
8 cups whole milk
1 cup plain yogurt
Kosher salt, to taste
Olive oil, for serving
Bring milk to a boil in a 4-quart nonreactive saucepan fitted with a deep-fry thermometer.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool until the thermometer reads 118°F.
Transfer 1 cup of the milk to a bowl; whisk in yogurt until combined.
Add yogurt mixture to the saucepan and whisk until smooth; cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (ideally 70°F-75°F) until thickened, 6-8 hours.
Line a fine-mesh strainer with 3 layers of cheesecloth; set over a bowl. Transfer yogurt to the strainer; let drain at least 8 hours or overnight.
Transfer to a serving dish. Season with salt and drizzle with oil. Add olives and za’atar, if desired.
Spiced Chicken And Tomato Kebabs
1 cup plain yogurt
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons crushed saffron
1 teaspoon ground coriander
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 plum tomatoes, cored
Ground sumac, to garnish
2 limes, halved
Pita, for serving
Stir together the yogurt, juice, oil, zest, cumin, salt, pepper, saffron, coriander, garlic and onions in a large bowl; add chicken and toss to coat.
Chill for 4 hours.
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, heat a gas grill to medium-high or a heat broiler to high.
Skewer chicken on 4 metal skewers and skewer tomatoes lengthwise on another skewer.
Grill chicken and tomatoes, turning often, until the tomatoes are soft and charred, about 7 minutes, and the chicken is cooked through and slightly charred, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle skewers with sumac; serve with limes and pita.
Garlicky Lentil Salad
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon minced flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring lentils and 3 cups of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan.
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until the lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in an 8” skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft, 7–8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining oil, lemon juice, cumin and allspice. Pour the garlic mixture over the lentils.
Add parsley. mint and season the lentils with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve lentils at room temperature.
Scallops In A Leek And Lemon Butter Sauce
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 large leek (white and pale green part only), thinly sliced
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dry white wine
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 fresh thyme sprig
6 large sea fresh scallops
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter for the sauce, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
For the spinach
10 oz package of frozen spinach, defrosted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the leeks:
Wash the leeks well to rid them of sand. Drain.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet with a cover over medium low heat. Add the sliced leeks and water.
Cover and simmer until the leeks are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the leeks to a bowl and cover while the other ingredients are being prepared.
For the sauce:
In a small saucepan boil the white wine, shallots, lemon juice and fresh thyme sprig until the mixture is reduced to half.
Strain the sauce into a measuring cup. Reserve the pot.
For the scallops:
Remove the side muscle from the scallops and dry the scallops well on a paper towel. Sprinkle the scallops with salt and pepper.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet that the leeks were cooked in over medium-high heat.
Add the scallops and saute until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Place the scallops on a plate and cover with foil.
Pour the wine sauce into the skillet and bring to simmer. Gradually add the cold butter cubes to the sauce, whisking just until melted.
Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the leeks and warm the mixture.
For the spinach:
Heat the olive oil and garlic in the small saucepan that the sauce was made in and add the spinach. Cook just until the spinach is hot.
Remove the pan from the heat.
To assemble the dish:
Divide the leek sauce in half and pour into the center of two round individual pasta bowls.
Place 3 scallops over the leek sauce in each dish.
Arrange the cooked spinach around the scallops in each dish and serve.
We have salmon for dinner on a regular basis because we like and appreciate that it is a healthy food option. I am not a fan of cooking something the same way all the time, so I am always trying new ways to prepare this fish. I experimented with some different spices and seasoning, added nuts and came up with the recipe below. We really liked this version. We are also trying to incorporate more seasonal vegetables in our meals and trying to prepare them in healthier ways. Oven baked zucchini fries were delicious and turned out crispy with the Parmesan coating. Spaghetti Squash is in season and makes a delicious side dish with Italian flavors.
2 salmon fillets, about 6 oz. each
Seafood seasoning ( such as Old Bay)
4 tablespoons finely chopped raw pecans
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
Thaw salmon overnight in the refrigerator, if it is frozen.
At least 30 minutes before you plan to cook, take the salmon out of the refrigerator.
Coat a small baking dish with olive oil cooking spray, place the fish in this dish and let the fish come to room temperature.
Sprinkle the fish lightly with the seafood seasoning.
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to reach a 425F/220C temperature a half hour before you plan to cook.
Mix together the Dijon mustard and mayonnaise in a small bowl and use a rubber scraper to spread it over the surface of the salmon.
Press the pecans onto the top of the fish with a little pressure so they stick to the topping.
Roast the salmon for about 15 minutes. (Don’t overcook; the fish will continue to cook for a few minutes when you take it out of the oven.)
Zucchini Parmesan Oven Fries
2 medium zucchini
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cut each zucchini in half and each half into quarters.
Place the zucchini in a plastic zip-lock bag and add a little salt. Seal and shake the bag to coat the zucchini pieces.
Place them on paper towels to drain for several hours. Reserve the plastic bag.
Oil a large baking sheet with sides. Use the same oven temperature as the salmon.
Place the egg in a shallow dish and the Parmesan cheese in the bag that held the zucchini quarters.
Dip the zucchini in the egg and place in the bag with the cheese. Shake the bag and place the zucchini on the prepared baking sheet.
Repeat with all the zucchini.
Place the pan in the oven 10 minutes before the salmon will need to go in the oven.
Bake 10 minutes and turn the squash over when you place the salmon in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until they are crispy.
Spaghetti Squash Aglio e Olio
Spaghetti squash makes an excellent substitute for thin noodles. It is best to cook the squash earlier in the day or the day before.
1 spaghetti squash, about 3 lbs.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and halve the squash lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds from the middle of each half.
Arrange the squash in a baking dish, cut sides down. Pour 1 cup of water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes.
Run a fork through the flesh to separate the spaghetti like strands. Turn them into a storage container.
When ready to cook:
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and add 2 crushed garlic cloves.
When the garlic turns golden, remove it from the pan and discard.
Add the spaghetti squash and toss in the oil. Add crushed red chili flakes, black pepper and salt to taste. Serve immediately.
While most peppers start out green, depending on the variety, they will mature into a variety of colors, such as red, orange, yellow and sometimes even purple. Bell peppers are abundant in the summer and these colorful vegetables have a sweet flavor. When choosing bell peppers, make sure to pick those with shiny, blemish-free skin. No wrinkles or soft spots either. Their size and shape will vary greatly so don’t use that as an indicator of age or taste. Packed with vitamins and low in calories, bell peppers can be added to a variety of dishes to bring both color and flavor to your diet. Use them raw or roasted or grilled. Freeze them if you end up with more than you can use. Here are some ideas for using bell peppers:
Add peppers to your favorite kebabs for late summer grilling. This is when it’s a great idea to get one of each color.
Add chopped pepper to your favorite tuna or chicken salad for extra crunch.
Make a colorful pepper slaw. Thinly slice peppers and toss with green onions, cider vinegar and just enough mayonnaise to coat the mixture. Let sit in the refrigerator for several hours to soften the peppers slightly.
Make a bell pepper pizza. Brush a rolled out pizza crust with extra-virgin olive oil. Top with thinly sliced red, orange and yellow peppers and add tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and bake. Add fresh basil leaves just before the pizza finishes cooking.
Bell peppers make excellent appetizer dippers. Cut wide strips and use for hummus, salsa or other dips.
Grilled Stuffed Italian Peppers
This appetizer recipe is a healthy, fresh alternative to the popular breaded and fried versions.
Yield: 10 peppers
10 Italian (long) frying peppers
- 8 ounces low-fat cream cheese with chives and onion, softened
- 2 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grill grates.
Cut a thin slice off the top of the peppers. Carefully remove the seeds so you not tear the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring well to combine. Using a small spoon fill the peppers. Coat the outside of the peppers with olive oil cooking spray.
Place the peppers on the grill, close the cover and grill the peppers 5 minutes. Turn the peppers over and grill for 5 more minutes.
Southern Style Stuffed Peppers
Ingredients for every 2 peppers
- 2 whole bell peppers
- 2 teaspoons butter
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons diced sweet onion
- 2 tablespoons diced celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tomato
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 3/4 cups grated Cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking dish deep enough to stand the peppers upright.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Save the tops. Lightly salt the inside of the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season with black pepper. Stuff the peppers with the filling, packing it in tightly. Place 1 teaspoon of butter on top.
Replace the pepper tops and set them in the prepared dish. Add water to the dish, about one inch deep, cover, and bake until the peppers are completely cooked, about 45-50 minutes.
Sautéed Peppers and Onions (Peperonata)
Peperonata recipes come in many versions; some get stewed, some are cooked with potatoes or with tomatoes. I prefer to lightly saute them, so they retain a slight crunch. This dish is perfect to serve with grilled steak, chicken cutlets, sausage or fish. They are also good in a sandwich, especially an Italian pepper and egg sandwich.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 6 sweet bell peppers or 20 Italian frying peppers, seeded, sliced into 2 1/2 to 3-inch long strips
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano or 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, the peppers, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, salt and pepper and cook for about 10 minutes, until crisp tender.
Add 4 Roma or other plum tomatoes, seeded and diced with the peppers in the skillet
Add ½ cup sliced basil leaves, instead of oregano
Add 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar with the peppers to the skillet
Add 2 boiled potatoes, sliced, to the onions in the skillet
Steak Pizzaiola with Peppers and Onions
The loin is actually two subprime cuts—the strip loin and the tenderloin—and contains the most tender and prized cuts of meat. The strip loin, the larger of the two, is a cylindrical muscle running along the spine. The tenderloin is a smaller, snake-shaped muscle running parallel to and beneath the strip loin. Steaks cut from the boneless strip loin are known as New York Strip Steaks. The tenderloin may be sold in roast-sized chunks for Chateaubriand, or sliced into individual steaks known as filet mignon. A steak cut that includes both the strip and the filet separated by a t-shaped bone between them is called a T-bone steak. When a T-bone steak is cut from farther back on the short loin, where the tenderloin is thicker, it is known as a porterhouse. Loin is not as marbled (fatty) as the rib eye, nor is it among the leanest cuts. All loin cuts are best dry-heat cooked.
- 1 boneless strip loin steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices and fat trimmed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Half of the sautéed Pepper and Onion recipe – from above
- 2 cups Marinara (tomato) sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
Sprinkle the 1 teaspoon salt on the steaks and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the steaks and sear them on one side for 2 minutes. Turn the steaks over.
Top each steak with about 1/2 cup of the sautéed peppers and onions. Cover the peppers and onions on each steak with 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Sprinkle each with some red pepper flakes, black pepper and herbs.
Cover the skillet and cook until warmed, about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Delmonico steak refers to one of several cuts of beef (typically the rib cut) and the method of preparation, that was made by Delmonico’s Restaurant, a steakhouse in New York City, during the mid-19th century. According to some sources, the original Delmonico steak was a boneless top sirloin, almost two inches thick with delicate marbling and cooked to the preference of the diner
Delmonico’s steak may, now, refer to other cuts and various preparations in different parts of the USA. These wider variety of beef cuts may be broiled, fried or grilled. Some of the steak cuts commonly referred to as Delmonico steak include:
Boneless rib-eye steak: A Delmonico cut rib-eye consists of two heart cuts of rib-eye tied together with butcher’s twine. It resembles a filet mignon in appearance, but is quite large. The Delmonico Steak served by the current Delmonico’s in New York is a boneless rib-eye.
Bone-in top loin steak: (a triangular-shaped, short loin cut, the first cut of the top loin next to the rib end) also known as a club steak, country club steak, shell steak or strip loin steak).
Boneless top loin strip steak: (also known as a New York strip steak, Kansas City steak, strip loin, ambassador, boneless club or hotel steak)
- 2 (8-10 ounce) Delmonico (rib-eye) steaks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
- 1 tablespoon steak sauce (e.g. A-1)
Combine the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, onion, rosemary, steak seasoning and steak sauce in a glass dish. Add the steaks and marinate several hours in the refrigerator.
Let the steak sit at room temperature for an hour before grilling.
Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat or light charcoal and wait until coals are completely white.
Remove the steaks from the marinade and discard the marinade. Lightly oil the grilling surface and place the steaks on the grill. Cover and grill the steaks for about 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.
It is best to use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. A rare steak will be at about 125 to 130 F. Medium rare is 130 to 140 degrees. For medium, you want a temperature of 140 to 150 degrees. Medium well is 150 to 160 degrees and well done is 160 to 170 degrees. Cover the meat with an aluminum foil tent for 5 minutes before slicing.
Blue Cheese Sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 6 ounces crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese
- Pinch of cayenne
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Minced fresh parsley
Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; after the butter melts, add the shallots and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add vinegar, stir and cook until it is just about evaporated, 1 or 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and stir in the cheese, cayenne and a few grindings of black pepper. Stir occasionally until the cheese melts.
Keep warm while the steaks grill.
Porcini and Truffle Butter
A small pat of this butter is outstanding on top of your grilled steak.
Use the flavored butter on grilled meats and fish, under the skin of poultry before you roast it or on steamed or grilled vegetables. It can easily be substituted for butter in most savory recipes.
Because the flavor difference between white and black truffles is subtle, white and black truffle oil may be used interchangeably in recipes. Use truffle oil in small amounts. Drizzle it, do not pour it. Cooking with truffle oil is not a good idea. High heat will compromise the truffle flavor, therefore, truffle oil should be added to cooked dishes or sauces at the end of the cooking process just before serving.
Since truffles are very difficult to find and very expensive, I use dried porcini mushrooms in the butter to enhance its flavor. Truffle butter freezes very well and can be stored for a year or more frozen. Once thawed it should remain refrigerated and should be used within about 3 weeks.
- 2 tablespoons dried Porcini mushrooms
- 8 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon white or black truffle oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Be sure to use boiling water since the mushrooms will not receive any additional cooking.
Allow the mushrooms to stand for 15 minutes, then drain and chop coarsely.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter and truffle oil. Add the salt.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap, about 12 x 12, and lay it flat. Using a spatula, place the butter onto the plastic wrap and form into a log, about 1 inch thick.
Roll the butter up in the plastic wrap so it forms an even log or sausage shape. Twist the ends tightly.
Place the rolled up butter into the refrigerator to chill until firm. Store the log in a plastic zip top bag in the refrigerator until ready to use. The log may also be frozen.
Tomatoes, Red Onion and Balsamic Sauce
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (oregano, basil or parsley)
- ¼ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
Heat the oil in a small skillet and add the onions. Cook until softened. Add the tomatoes and simmer until the tomatoes are cooked and become saucy.
Stir in the herbs, salt and pepper and heat for a minute or two. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar.
Set aside until the steak is cooked. Serve the sauce over the sliced grilled steak.
Peppers and Onion Topping
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 large sweet onions, halved and sliced
- 4 large green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- 2 large red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a skillet and add the garlic. After a minute add the onions, peppers, oregano and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Slice the steaks thinly and serve with the peppers and onions.
Olive and Herb Topping
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves; pressed or grated
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 7-8 oz jar Kalamata olives, drained and halved
- 7-8 oz jar Sicilian green olives, drained and halved
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cover and let marinate for several hours before serving. The olive salad can be made a day before and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving. Serve over sliced grilled steak.
I oven roasted 1 lb of small new potatoes last week. I used half of the potatoes as a side for dinner and saved the remainder to make a potato salad for another meal. See the recipe below.
I also sautéed one pound of green beans (they are in season here where I live) and served half with the potatoes for dinner and saved half for a green bean salad later in the week. I prefer to saute green beans rather than boil them and the recipe is below.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
- 1 pound small potatoes (about 1 3/4-inch diameter), scrubbed
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the potatoes into a heavy large baking dish. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the herbs, garlic and oil together until blended and then pour over the potatoes.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes, spacing them evenly apart, in a single layer.
Roast the potatoes until they are tender and golden, turning them occasionally with tongs, for about 45 minutes.
Sautéed Green Beans
- 1 lb green beans, trimmed
- 1 garlic clove, sliced thin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet with a cover, heat the oil and garlic. Add the green beans and seasonings. cover the pan.
Simmer the beans, turning occasionally until crisp tender, about 10 minutes. Serve half for dinner and refrigerate the remaining beans for the salad recipe below.
Oven Fried Chicken
This chicken tastes even better cold the next day.
- 4 chicken thighs, skin removed
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Panko crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cover a rimmed baking pan with heavy-duty foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
Melt the butter and add the garlic. Set aside to cool.
On a sheet of wax paper, combine the flour, panko crumbs, paprika and salt and pepper.
Dip the chicken in the meted butter and then press the chicken in the crumb mixture. Place the breaded chicken pieces on the prepared pan.
Drizzle any remaining butter over the chicken. (Chicken can be prepared in advance of cooking and refrigerated until cooking time.)
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until crispy, brown and cooked to at least 165 degrees F.
- ½ lb leftover oven roasted new potatoes (about 8), sliced thin
- ¼ cup finely diced onion
- ¼ cup finely diced celery
- ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup finely diced bread and butter pickles
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
Combine all the ingredients together in a serving bowl. Cover and chill until dinner time.
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
- Half a pound of sautéed green beans, chilled
- Half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the mustard, vinegar and olive oil in a serving bowl. Cut the green beans into 2 inch pieces. Add the green beans and cherry tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving.