Tag Archives: dinner party

Grilled Skewered Lamb with Garlic, Cumin, and Ginger

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It’s no secret that I really, really love food. But lately, it’s been challenging to know when to unplug.

That being said, I took a short blog-breather and brought this food scene offline (admittedly, instagram did not suffer). It was a great way to start 2013 without too many commitments. As a result, I attempted my first 21 day cleanse. I fell in love with juicing, wandered aimlessly around farmers markets, and have actually stuck to my new years resolution of lifestyling (diets are no fun).

But all good things come to an end, which is why I’m excited to end this blog hiatus. And I promise to never leave you again.

Grilled Skewered Lamb with Garlic, Cumin, and Ginger

I spent last weekend at my parents house in Marin. My mom and I were rummaging through piles of old Gourmet magazines, and came across a lamb recipe we hadn’t had in years.

One of the reasons I love food so much is that the best recipes are timeless, regardless of the decade. This recipe was published in the February 1993 issue of Gourmet and couldn’t be any more current. I know you’ll love it. It’s the perfect crowd-pleaser for the onset of daylight savings time, spring, and barbecues.

You will need:

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Chinese rice wine

1 1/2 tsp Asian toasted sesame oil

2 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds

1 1/4 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

3 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

Twelve 10-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 1 hour

1 tsp sesame seeds, toasted lightly

1 bunch of watercress, rinsed, spun dry, and the course stems discarded, for garnish

1. In a large bowl whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and the red pepper flakes, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Add the lamb well, and let the lamb marinate, covered and chilled, stirring occasionally for at least 8 hours or overnight.

2. Thread the lamb loosely onto the skewers, reserving the remaining marinade, and grill the skewers, turning them and basting them occasionally with the reserved marinade, for 6 to 10 minutes, or until they reach the desired degree of doneness. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle them with the sesame seeds, and garnish them with the watercress. Serves 6. Try it with sweet-and-sour cabbage slaw! (recipe below)

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Sweet-and-Sour Cabbage Slaw with Hot Peppers

1/2 medium cabbage, cored and cut into very thin shreds

1 tbsp salt

1 cup rice vinegar

1/2 cup sugar, honey, or agave

2 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger

one 3-inch fresh hot red chili, seeded and sliced thin (wear rubber gloves) or 1 1/2 tsp dried hot red pepper flakes

3 medium carrots, cut into very thin shreds (about 1 cup)

1. In a large colander toss the cabbage with the salt, weight the cabbage with a plate and a 1-pound can, and let it drain, at room temperature for 3 hours.

2. In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, sugar, ginger, and chilies, whisking until the sugar is dissolved, and add the cabbage and the carrots. Toss to combine, and chill for 4 to 8 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

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Moroccan Chicken Tagine

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I recently discovered the magic of one-pot meals and I’m a little bit obsessed. They are perfect for cozy winter nights where leaving the house is not an option.

This dish is combines complex spices with fresh ingredients – and it’s guilt free! It tastes so divine you will think it has butter and cream in the recipe. If you are an aspiring chef, or just want to explore with different flavors in only one pot, than chicken tagine is a must try. Just make sure you’ve allotted a few hours for prep work and cooking time. I can’t wait to try braised beef for my next one-pot recipe, so get ready for that one. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Adapted from In the Small Kitchen

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Serves 10

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each halved

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

3 medium yellow onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons salt

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with their juices

One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

About 1 quart chicken stock

1 pound of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 pound of butternut squash, peeled/seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

1/2 cup dried turkish apricots, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Note: You can make the stew through step 5 and then refrigerate it overnight. Just reheat it for 30 minutes over medium-low heat until you are ready to eat, and continue with the remaining ingredients.

1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Coat a large pot or Dutch oven with a thin layer of olive oil. Heat it over high heat and brown the chicken, in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. If the chicken sticks to the bottom, don’t worry — this will help develop the flavor of the sauce. Remove the browned chicken from the pot and set it aside in a mixing bowl.

2. Add the onions to the same pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and saute until translucent, making sure to scrape up any remaining drippings from the chicken, about 7 minutes.

3. Stir in the garlic, cumin, turmeric, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Cook until the spices are fully incorporated and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, and add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Toss to combine.

4. Pour in enough stock to submerge all the contents (this may be less than 1 quart, depending on the size of your pot) and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat back down to low and cook, uncovered, for at least 2 hours, the longer the better.

5. During the last 45 minutes or so of cooking, add the sweet potatoes and butternut squash, submerge them in the liquid, and cook until tender.

6. Add the apricots, half the cilantro, and the lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.

7. Spoon the tagine into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with some of the remaining cilantro, sprinkle with the almonds, and serve with some rustic crusty bread or cooked quinoa.

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Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

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Living by the coast has its perks, one of them being same day fresh dungeness crab. It’s something I look forward to every winter, perhaps even more than the holiday season. Best of all, making crab is a great excuse to stay indoors and entertain with friends.

This salad is light, yet full-bodied enough to satisfy your hungry boyfriend. I followed this recipe to cook the crab (make sure to ask your seafood purveyor to crack and clean the crab; Whole Foods will do it for free), which is a great meal for dinner itself. Truth be told, this salad was created because of leftovers from the aforementioned dish. And it was so good.

To make the salad, I combined the cooked lump crab meat with arugula, grapefruit slices, carrot ribbons, green onions and toasted walnuts. Toss it together with a fresh lemon-tarragon vinaigrette, and you have a gourmet crab salad made to impress even the most discerning eaters.

Crab Salad with Lemon-Tarragon Vinaigrette

You will need:

2 cups cooked lump crab meat (roughly)

4 cups organic arugula

1 grapefruit; cut into slices

1 cup walnuts; toasted with olive oil and a hint of brown sugar

1 carrot; shaved into thin ribbons (use a potato peeler)

3 Tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves

2 cloves of garlic; whole

2 tsp minced green onions

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp honey

1. To make the dressing, combine tarragon, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and honey. Blend until smooth using a food processor.

2. Combine lump crab meat, grapefruit slices, toasted walnuts, carrots, and green onion. Serve on top of a bed of arugula and lightly toss with dressing.

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Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

I have a long-time relationship with shrimp, and usually choose it over chicken. If you can find fresh local jumbo prawns from your local farmers market or Whole Foods, make sure you add it to your  shopping list.

This dish is great for entertaining, but also easy enough for a midweek dinner. I adapted this dish from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook, and chose it especially for the green herb citrus sauce. I like to make things that are versatile enough to recreate again and again. This sauce is no exception, you truly could serve it with anything.

Green Herb Shrimp with Eggplant Couscous

FOR THE HERB SAUCE:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

4 green onions, white and light green parts, trimmed

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 cloves garlic

2 anchovies (optional)

Juice of 2 limes

FOR THE SHRIMP AND EGGPLANT COUSCOUS:

1 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

4 cups diced globe eggplant (about 2 medium)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

1/4 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/3 cup diced feta cheese

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients and blend until fairly smooth with a few herb flecks. Put half of the sauce in a blow along with the shrimp and set aside to marinate for 1 hour, reserving the other half of the sauce.

2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of the oil in a cast-iron pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and saute until the edges are browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Cook the couscous according to the package insturctions. Transfer the couscous to a large mixing bowl and add the eggplant, the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, the basil, red pepper flakes, feta, and vinegar. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Cook the shrimp until they just turn pink, about 2 minutes maximum on each side; be careful to avoid overcooking them. Toss the cooked shrimp in the remaining herb sauce and serve with the eggplant couscous.

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Seasonal Gems: Watermelon & Plums

I always like to stress the importance of seasonal produce. There are so many great arguments for buying local, organic food as opposed to the alternative; but the most obvious is reflected in taste. Seasonal just tastes better.

I recently got together with friends for a potluck dinner; we each brought something to share. Watermelon has been in season all summer, so I already knew the main star of my dish. I settled on a salad with prawns, arugula, watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint.

My favorite part about the dish, besides the just-picked freshness, was the variety of textures. It also went along famously with my friend’s plum prosciutto bruschetta, also an in-season winner. The combination of the two make a really easy, simple, summer meal. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon Salad

*serves 4 as a side

1 small seedless watermelon, sliced into chunks

10 cooked prawns

1/2 package arugula

1 english cucumber, peeled and sliced into chunks

10 mint leaves, chopped

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (or more if you love it)

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + pepper to taste

1. Combine watermelon, cucumber, prawns, and mint. Add olive oil (drizzle to your liking) and toss. Add arugula, and lightly toss. Sprinkle feta on top, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Plum Prosciutto Bruschetta

8 slices of fresh, rustic bread; toasted

Humboldt Fog goat cheese

1 package prosciutto

4 organic plums; sliced and pits removed

arugula to garnish

1. Layer the following ingredients to create easy, instant bruschetta: goat cheese, prosciutto, arugula and plums. Serve.

 

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Mediterranean Supper Club: Vegan Pistachio Tea Cakes

One of the many I reasons I love food is that it brings people together. I recently joined miss delightfulcrab‘s monthly supper club, which occurs on Sunday evenings. Different people take turns hosting the event, and the host chooses the theme: last weekend’s theme was Mediterranean (they have had other awesome themes like “favorite childhood meal” and “colors of the rainbow” and “thai feast”…the creativity goes on and on.)

Mediterranean basically means ANYTHING goes; as long as you can find it somewhere along the Mediterranean sea, you’re good to go! I decided to make Vegan Pistachio Tea Cakes from my favorite new cookbook (also featured in this recipe).

I knew it was a huge risk making something brand new for a group of people, but that didn’t stop me. As usual, it was a scramble to the finish (I felt like I was competing on Top Chef), but I made it on time and the cakes turned out pret-ty good. I bet you can’t tell they’re vegan. I totally recommend this for your next picnic/brunch/anytime. Snack away!

Vegan Pistachio Olive Oil Tea Cakes

You will need a mini-muffin or tea cake pan (makes cute mini bundt cakes), although a 9-inch cake pan works too.

For the cake:

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

2/3 cup shelled pistachios (3 oz), toasted

1/2 cup plain unsweetened soy yogurt

6 oz soft silken tofu

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 orange

1 lemon

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

1/4 cup shelled pistachios (1 1/4 oz), toasted and chopped

 

TO MAKE THE CAKE-

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Oil the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan, then line with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the pan and oil the parchment paper (or use baking spray with flour).

2. In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground. But don’t over do it, or they’ll turn into nut butter.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yogurt, tofu, sugar, olive oil, and vanilla and beat at medium speed until well combined.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a separate bowl. Add to the tofu mixture and beat until well combined. Add the ground pistachios and beat again until incorporated.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester, bamboo skewer, or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool briefly, then invert into a wire rack ,remove the pan, and let cool completely.

TO MAKE THE TOPPING-

1. Slice the orange and lemon in half, then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Remove the seeds. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange, lemon, water, sugar, and Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then lower the heat, cover and simmer until the fruit is soft and pliable and starting to break down, about 1 hour.

2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse repeatedly until thick and chunky. Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cake. Garnish with chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds (optional – I couldn’t find them at the store) before serving.

 

 

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Addicting Double Lemon Chicken

I rarely make chicken breast because the cooking process is so easy, and never considered it to be a “wow that’s so good” kind of meal. I ‘m notorious for making overly complex recipes, just because I like a challenge in the kitchen (the more steps, the better!) In my honest opinion, chicken breast is pretty vanilla.

I felt this way up until I discovered Double Lemon Chicken Breasts from Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic; this recipe is particularly addicting. The in-season, sweet tomatoes combined with the tart chicken provides the perfect balance for your taste buds. Just try not to go back for seconds (go for it – it’s low-carb).This chicken breast recipe is perfect for any occasion. Serve it hot or cold, for dinner with friends or a picnic on the beach. It goes with pretty much everything. I’ve fallen back in love with boring, old chicken.

Double Lemon Chicken Breasts with Fresh Tomato Basil Salsa 

For the Tomato Basil Salsa-

1 pint fresh organic cherry tomatoes, quartered (use a pairing knife)

7 large basil leaves, thinly sliced

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of sea salt

freshly cracked pepper to taste

For the Lemon Chicken-

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

8 skinless boneless chicken breast filets, pounded until 1/2 inch thick

Grapeseed or canola oil

2 or 3 lemons, halved

1. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. To prepare the chicken, combine the flour, lemon zest, and salt and pepper on a flat dinner plate. Using a fork, mix together until thoroughly combined.

3. Wash the chicken breasts and pat them dry. Dredge each fillet in the flour mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Set aside.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the grapeseed oil, using just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken fillets in batches, cooking each side until lightly golden (about 2 minutes per side). Before removing the chicken from the pan, squeeze generous amounts of lemon juice over each piece. Serve topped with the basil salsa.

I could honestly eat this more than once per week; it’s hard to get sick of. Enjoy!

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