Tip: Did you know you can freeze whole lemons and limes? They are perfect for cooking. Leave the frozen fruit on the counter for an hour. The zest is easy to remove, and the fruit slices and juices easily also. Next time you see lemons and limes on sale, buy a bag and freeze them for future cooking.
Southern Italian Style Lemon Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken is very economical because you get several meals from one chicken.
3 large lemons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 garlic clove minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4-pound whole chicken
Remove the zest from the three lemons and set aside. Cut the lemons into thin slices and set aside.
Cut the chicken along the backbone on one side with kitchen shears. Do not remove the bone. Turn the chicken over and flatten it. (The reason I did not remove the backbone is that I want to use the entire chicken carcass for soup.)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on the baking sheet. Lay the lemon slices in the olive oil down the middle of the tray as a “rack” for the chicken. Sprinkle one-third of the lemon rub on the underside of the chicken. Turn the chicken over and rub the remaining lemon mixture over and under the skin of the whole chicken. Lay the chicken, skin side up, on the bed of lemons and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Roast, basting every 15 minutes until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F in the thigh about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Using a fork, mash the lemon pulp into the juices on the baking sheet, discarding the rind. Mix the pulp into the drippings and use this mixture to spoon over the chicken just before serving.
Serve some of the chicken for dinner. I was able to remove about 4 cups meat. I left some meat clinging to the leg, wing and breast bones for soup. Shred 1 to 2 cups for the recipe below. Use the carcass and some of the cooked chicken for chicken noodle soup. You may even have enough leftover for some chicken salad.
Baked Chicken Taquitos (Rolled Tacos)
The entire recipe makes 20 taquitos. I cut the recipe in half and made 10 for my family. I like tortillas made from cassava flour for this recipe because they are grain-free, light and easy to roll.
For the Taquitos:
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
20 corn tortillas
For the Toppings:
Chopped Green Onion
Crumbled Queso Fresco
Pico de Gallo
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken with cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and fresh lime juice. Stir until chicken is well coated with the seasonings. Stir in the shredded cheese.
Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and place on a plate. Microwave for 1 minute or until the tortillas are warm and pliable.
Layout the tortillas on a flat surface and divide the chicken and cheese mixture among the 20 tortillas. Roll up each tortilla tightly and secure with a toothpick.
Place a heaping tablespoon of the chicken and cheese mixture in the center of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place the taquito, seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Continue rolling taquitos until the tortillas and filling are gone.
Spray the taquitos generously with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the taquitos are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Leave some meat on the bones, especially the legs, wings, and breast bone
Chicken bones leftover from the roasted chicken recipe above
1 whole onion, cut in half
2 carrots, cut in half
4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tablespoon peppercorns
8 quarts water
Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Cover the pan with the lid ajar.
Strain the broth in a colander lined with cheesecloth over a large bowl. Let drain completely. Pick out any meat in the cheesecloth and set aside. Discard the cooking vegetables and bones and return the broth to the stockpot.
Reserved chicken meat
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
5 scallions, diced
6 oz fettuccine or noodles
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the strained broth, carrots, celery, and scallions in the stockpot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook the vegetables, about 20 minutes. Return toa boil, add the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes. Add salt (I added 2 teaspoons) and black pepper to taste. Stir in reserved chicken meat, dill, and parsley.
I recently saw Katie Lee prepare this steak dish on an episode of “The Kitchen” and decided to adapt it for our dinner. The marinade gives the steak great flavor.
Skirt Steak with Plum Sauce
3 ripe plums, a combination of red and purple, diced
1 cup teriyaki sauce/marinade, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sriracha
1 pound skirt steak
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Puree the chopped plums in a blender until smooth. Stir together the pureed plums with the teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, Dijon and sriracha in a large ziplock bag. Add the steak, tossing to coat in the marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Remove the steak from the marinade letting most of it drip off the meat into the bag and pat dry on paper towels.
Pour the marinade in the bag into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Salt and pepper each side of the steak and grill over medium heat on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Once grilled on both sides, remove from the heat to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.
Slice the skirt steak against the grain and brush some of the boiled marinade on it.
Save some of the marinade to serve with my baby back rib recipe that will be posted Monday.
1 cup of water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons mirin
5 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until nearly heated through, about 1 minute.
Mix cornstarch and 1/4 cold water together in a cup; stir until dissolved. Add to the saucepan. Cook and stir sauce until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.
Italian Pan-Fried Lemon Potatoes
1 pound whole small potatoes
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, cut in half
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add garlic, rosemary sprigs and one lemon half to the water and season well with salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well and reserve the lemon half, garlic cloves and rosemary.
Let potatoes cool to room temperature and peel them. Cut potatoes in half. Place on a plate until ready to cook.
Zest the lemon half that was not cooked with the potatoes. Chop the reserved garlic and rosemary and mix together with the lemon zest. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet and heat. Add the potatoes cut-side down to the skillet. Cook until the bottom of the potatoes are a deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes and cook on the second side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and drain well. Place the potatoes in a serving bowl. Squeeze both lemon halves (cooked and uncooked) over the potatoes and sprinkle with the garlic, rosemary reserved mixture.
Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup almond slices, toasted
Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add green beans and cook until just tender, 4-5 minutes. Drain in a colander. Set aside.
Heat the butter in the empty saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Return the drained beans to the saucepan and add parsley, almonds, and black pepper and toss gently. Transfer to a serving bowl.
In Italian, “torta” simply means a sweet or savory cake. A traditional Italian torta usually includes ricotta cheese, parmesan, parsley, and onions. There are also variations that contain meat and some that are completely vegetarian. These vegetarian tortes sometimes contain artichokes and herbs for flavor. This torta is made in a springform pan instead of a traditional pie pan.
I have made potato tortes many times through the years, but this summer, not only did I have an abundance of potatoes but also an abundance of yellow squash from my CSA share. So I thought why not combine them. Turned out delicious. Serve with a mixed green salad and if you want a side of meat, grilled sausage would be good. This torte also makes an excellent antipasto course. Serve at room temperature cut into thin wedges.
Summer Squash and Potato Torta
1 green onion, finely minced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
1 1/2 pounds yellow crookneck squash, cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds
3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in heavy-duty foil.
In a mixing bowl combine the green onion, Parmesan cheese, flour, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Layer 1/2 of the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the prepared pan, overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture.
Layer 1/2 of the squash slices in concentric circles on top of the potatoes/cheese mixture. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese mixture. Repeat with a second layer of the potatoes, cheese mixture, squash slices and cheese mixture. Drizzle the olive oil over the top Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake until the potatoes are almost tender, 90 minutes. Remove the foil; bake uncovered until the torte begins to brown and potatoes are tender, about 90 minutes longer.
Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Remove the sides of the pan and place a serving plate on top. Turn the torte over and remove the pan bottom. Cut the torte into wedges to serve.
Insalata Caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) is the perfect summertime dish for cooks in a hurry; slicing is the hardest part. The salad was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for regulars out for a light lunch. They’d order a just-picked tomato and fresh fior di latte (cows-milk mozzarella — no buffalo on Capri). The salad has evolved on the island to include a few leaves of rughetta (wild arugula) and a pinch of dried wild oregano, both local products; everywhere else in Italy it takes the form of tomato, mozzarella, and basil. The dressing is always a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil — only. Vinegar would destroy the delicate flavor of the cheese and is never used. Sometimes I add Italian black olives to the salad for a change but it is not traditional.
2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (about 4 large), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup packed fresh basil or arugula leaves, washed well and spun dry
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled if using arugula instead of basil
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
On a large platter arrange tomato and mozzarella slices and basil leaves, alternating and overlapping them. Sprinkle salad with oregano and arugula and drizzle with oil. Season salad with salt and pepper.
1 lb turkey breast cutlets
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg
2 tablespoons water
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Minced fresh parsley and lemon wedges for serving
Flatten turkey to 1/4-in. thickness. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. In another shallow bowl, beat egg and water together. In a third shallow bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cheese.
Dredge turkey in flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture and coat with crumbs. Place on a plate and let stand for 5 minutes.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; cook the turkey cutlets for 2-3 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink and the coating is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
In my region, CSA’s, local farms and farmers’ markets are bursting with produce. There are so many choices that it is difficult to know where to start. Piles of summer squash might be a good place to begin. Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful during the summer months because they are easy to grow and mature relatively quickly. Some of the more common types are:
- Patty Pan Squash is a variety of summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembling a small toy top, or flying saucer.
- Zucchini is a green summer squash also called marrow in some areas of the world.
- Yellow Crookneck Squash is a lemon-yellow, 6-inch vegetable, with a slightly bent neck that earns it the name Crookneck. For best flavor, pick summer squash like crookneck and zucchini when they are small
- Cupcake is a hybrid squash shaped like a cupcake, with the soft edible skin of zucchini and the delicate, sweet flavor of patty-pan squash.
Here are some recipes to get you started:
Sausage Stuffed Round Squash
4 main dish portions, or 8 side portions
4 pattypan, cupcake or round zucchini squashes, stems removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
1 large slice Italian bread, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian herbs
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds with a serrated spoon, being careful not to tear through the squash. Remove some of the squash flesh with a serrated spoon leaving a ½ inch shell. Lightly brush the insides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped squash flesh, onion, and celery. Cook until soft. Add the crumbled sausage, bread and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften all the ingredients.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide filling evenly among the squash halves, piling it up in the center. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Add water to the baking dish to the depth of about 1-inch. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash halves are tender and the tops are golden.
Yellow Squash Casserole
This yellow summer casserole is a favorite all year round, great for family meals during the summer but also popular for holiday dinners, especially in the South. You can use yellow summer or crookneck squash for this casserole. The recipe ingredients are easily increased for a potluck dish or large family dinner.
This casserole is a good side dish that can take the place of a heavier starch, and it goes well with just about any protein, especially chicken or fish. Variations include adding chopped red peppers or green peppers with the onion that adds a little color as well as flavor. You can spice it up by adding chilies as well.
3 medium yellow summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion. finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 1-quart casserole or baking dish.
Slice the summer squash and place it in a medium saucepan. Cover the squash with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the squash to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan; continue to cook until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the squash thoroughly; return it to the saucepan and mash it. Add pepper to taste.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add the mayonnaise, chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir to blend thoroughly. Stir the mashed squash into the egg and mayonnaise mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then sprinkle them over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve squash casserole hot.
8 oz Italian sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 pound small yellow crookneck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus extra for the broiling pan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 large eggs, beaten
3 oz sliced Italian fontina cheese, torn into pieces
Heat the oven to the high broil setting. Set the oven rack in the oven 3 to 4- inches from the broiler.
In a medium bowl toss the sliced sausage and squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Lay the sausage and squash in a single layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan that has been brushed with oil. Broil the sausage and squash for 5 minutes. Turn them over and broil for another 5 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk the eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the drained sausage and squash. Stir.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick, oven-safe saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir with a silicone spatula to make sure the egg gets under the squash mixture. Distribute the Fontina cheese around the top of the frittata. Cook without stirring until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set on top, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler back on and brown the top of the frittata, about 2 minutes,
Loosen the frittata from the pan by moving the spatula around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a plate or other serving dish, and cut into 6 servings. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Summer Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small red potatoes (7 oz) peeled and diced
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups yellow squash, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup okra, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mixed herbs finely chopped (dill, parsley, and chives)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
In a large saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil and add the garlic, onions, potatoes, turmeric and a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables are tender about 15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish the soup with grated cheese.
I can buy freshly shucked clams at my fish market, which I prefer for this type of pasta dish. Clams in the shell are fine for seafood stews but I don’t like trying to remove the shell from the clam and eat it with spaghetti. I know not everyone would agree, but this is the answer if you don’t like dealing with the shells in your pasta.
Spaghetti With White Clam Sauce
1 pint wild caught shucked clams with liquid (16 oz fresh, canned or frozen)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 oz thin spaghetti
If the clams are large, I like to chop them into smaller pieces.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the thin spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain.
Heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add wine and cook for a minute. Stir in chopped clams with their juice. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat just until hot.
Add the cooked spaghetti to the clam sauce and toss in the skillet letting the pasta cook in the sauce for a few minutes. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve in pasta bowls.
Add a green salad and some crusty Italian bread to round out the meal.
This classic Italian sauce is called sugo alla puttanesca in Italian. Recipes may differ according to preferences; for instance, the Neapolitan version is prepared without anchovies, unlike the Lazio version. Spices are sometimes added. In most cases, however, the sugo is a little salty (from the capers, olives, and anchovies) and quite fragrant (from the garlic). It is usually served with spaghetti but we like it with seafood.
Seafood in an Italian Spicy Tomato Sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 fish fillets,(I used sea bass) (about 1 1/2 inches thick 4 ounces each)
4 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
26 oz container finely diced Italian tomatoes (I used the Pomi brand)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1 tablespoon capers
2 1-inch-thick slices Italian bread brushed with olive oil and grilled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
For the sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet.
Add the anchovy paste and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the pepper flakes and continue to stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, oregano and basil and heat to a simmer. Add the olives and capers and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until thickened.
For the fish
Season the fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Lightly flour the fish shaking off extra flour.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet with a cover over medium-high heat. Brown the fish fillets and shrimp on both sides.
Pour a cup to 1 ½ cups of sauce over the fish in the small skillet and cover the skillet. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Save the remaining sauce for pasta.
Place a piece of grilled bread in each serving bowl. Divide the fish evenly and place it on top of the bread. Spoon the sauce over each portion and sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.