Grill night

I had some leftover chipotle marinade in the fridge.  I love to have this on hand as it is good on anything – steak, shrimp, chicken, etc.  Tonight I opted for pork chops.  Samantha likes pork and I asked her what she wanted as a side.  I thought she might opt for polenta, but she chose sweet potato fries instead.  Keith also grilled asparagus and I was pleased that she ate some of that too.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: This marinade has some zip.  You don’t need to drench your protein in it, just dip it and let it sit for a little before grilling.

Keith cooked the pork chops for 7 – 8 minutes and they were perfect.

Oven baked sweet potato fries

  • 2 – 3 sweet potatoes cut into strips
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried chipotle pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Toss potato strips with all other ingredients and spread out on a sheet pan lined with foil.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes stirring halfway through.  NOTE: You can tweak the seasonings to suit your tastes.  I like the chipotle pepper on the sweet potatoes.

Grilled asparagus

Brush asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill 5 – 10 minutes depending on how thick the asparagus is.

I forgot to take a picture.

Steak and potatoes

This marinade is one of my favorites – it makes plenty and keeps well in the refrigerator, it is fantastic on steak, pork, chicken and shrimp and it has amazing flavor.  As a result, you don’t need to smother your protein in marinade – just a bit on each side.  I bought the shredded potatoes for hash browns.  I”m doing some other cooking today (Samantha and I just made Tri-berry muffins from a Barefoot Contessa recipe and I’m going to make some more meatballs to restock the freezer) so I wanted dinner to be easy.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Put some marinade on the steak and grill to your preferred level of doneness.

 

Birthday dinner

Our dear friend celebrated a 50th birthday so I wanted to cook her a special dinner.  I was out of town for work all week last week and got home late Friday evening.  We had a hectic weekend so I had to make it manageable.  Here is what I did:

First course – tuna carpaccio and tuna tartar from The Inn at Little Washington Cookbook. I have admired the picture of this in the cookbook many times and decided to go for it – also because it is almost all do-ahead.  I bought a hunk of fresh tuna (if you ask nicely they will usually cut a fresh piece from a loin for you.)  You cut thin slices of tuna and then pound it between pieces of wax paper until it is almost translucent.  (I got better with practice and the bright side is that any mess ups can go into the tartar.)

In this case the tartar is finely diced tuna that is tossed at the last minute with a marinade of 2 TB soy sauce, 1/4 cup rice vinegar and 2 tsp sesame oil. You put a piece of carpaccio on the plate, drizzle with wasabi mayonnaise and then top with a mound of the tartar.  It was outstanding – not a bit leftover.

For the main course, we grilled strip steaks with one of our favorite marinades:

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oreganoe bout
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.

Since the dressing has some kick to it, you don’t need to smother your meat with it.  (This is also excellent with chicken and pork.)  I put some in the bottom of a glass baking dish, put the steaks on top and then put about 1 TB of marinade on each steak.  Since it was a celebration we decided to splurge on the steaks.  We bought the steaks from John Brown’s Butcher shop.  They were out of this world!  Keith said they were easier to grill since they were almost exactly the same size.  The steaks weren’t huge but there was no waste – every bite was amazing.  Definitely a do-over for a special occasion.

The salad was mache topped with a sherry/shallot vinaigrette that I shook up in a jar and warm goat cheese.  I sliced the goat cheese into rounds, dipped each round in olive oil and then a mixture of panko and chopped pistachios and heated them in a 400 degree oven for 3 minutes.  (You want the cheese to be soft but not oozing.)

My cheat was to use the Little Potato company roasted potatoes.  I decided that I couldn’t do any better myself and it saved me some time.  I used the garlic/herb.

Dessert was Ina’s Mocha Icebox cake.  It is so amazing although I use Otterbein’s chocolate chip cookies instead of Tate’s.  (We did a blind taste test a few years ago and we preferred Otterbein’s.

Sorry that I was having so much fun I didn’t take any pictures!

 

Versatile marinade

I love a marinade that you can use on multiple things.  The chipotle marinade that I made a couple of weeks ago certainly fits the bill.  It is well worth making a quick batch and keeping in the fridge.  That makes for an easy weeknight dinner.  Cous cous makes a great side with the chipotle shrimp.

Skewer deveined and cleaned shrimp and dip in chipotle marinade.  Grill for 2 – 3 minutes per side.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: This marinade has some zip.  You don’t need to drench your protein in it, just dip it and let it sit for a little before grilling.

IMG_3378

Leftover marinade

The chipotle marinade that I made keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks.  That works out really well because it is so good on almost anything.  We used it on boneless pork chops with roasted potatoes.  A good simple dinner on a Thursday night.

If you missed the marinade, here is the recipe:

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: This marinade has some zip.  You don’t need to drench your protein in it, just dip it and let it sit for a little before grilling.

I served it with roasted potatoes and a simple salad.  For the salad, I made a dressing with raspberry vinaigrette, olive oil and shallot and poured it over some mache with a little bit of crumbled feta and sliced cherry tomatoes from our garden.

IMG_3373

Steak and salad – the summer version

We had friends over last Sunday night.  I wanted to spend most of the afternoon at the pool and give them something delicious.  This marinade is one of my favorites.  We used Porterhouse steaks since they were on sale but this is delicious on any protein – strip steaks, pork chops, chicken, shrimp, etc.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: Marinade keeps well in refrigerator.  Marinade is spicy so you don’t need to drench the protein in it.  Just spoon some on each side and then grill to your taste.   We served it with my favorite summer salad:

Grilled Vegetable Salad

  • 3/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Eggplant, sliced
  • 2 Zuchini, sliced
  • 3 Peppers (Red, Yellow or Orange), sliced
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced
  • 6 slices French Bread or your choice (I’m using a few slices each of Semolina Batard and Olive Batard)
  • 2 Tomatoes, sliced
  • Salad greens (I’m using mache)
  • 2 TB Basil, chopped
  • 2 TB Chives, chopped
  • 1 TB Marjoram, chopped
  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Brush eggplant, zucchini, onion and pepper slices with oil and vinegar mix and season to taste with salt and pepper and grill.  (Reserve remaining marinade.)  Brush bread slices with olive oil and grill.

Spread salad greens on a platter.  Top with tomato slices and then grilled vegetables.  Sprinkle with goat cheese and chopped herbs.  Pour reserved oil and vinegar over salad and grate parmesan cheese over all.  Top with grilled bread slices and serve with tongs.

The weather was so pleasant that we ate outside.  What a fun evening!

 

Versatility in the kitchen

Last week was so busy that I never had a chance to update the blog.  I hope nobody went hungry!  Last Sunday I had my co-workers over for dinner as a sendoff for one of them who is leaving to go to medical school.  I made roasted shrimp cocktail for appetizer, slow roasted beef tenderloin, skillet corn and a salad.  Keith thought tenderloin was more wintery but we paired it with The Barefoot Contessa’s basil Parmesan mayonnaise.  Not only was it delicious but the leftover mayonnaise was just the thing on top of a salad with crispy soft shell crabs on Wednesday night.  (It is also delicious on turkey sandwiches!)  Ina says to make sure you use room temperature egg yolks.  Making mayonnaise always makes me a bit nervous but it worked perfectly.  Here is what I did:

Basil Parmesan Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • 3 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Put egg yolks, lemon juice, cheese, mustard, basil, garlic and fresh ground pepper in a food processor.  Process until smooth (about 30 seconds).  Combine oils and slowly pour the oil through the feed tube with the processor running so mixture emulsifies.  (If this whole idea is too much for you, you can get a similar concept by whisking store-bought mayonnaise and pesto together!)

Another one of my favorite multi-use items is chipotle marinade.  I made it about 2 weeks ago and we had chipotle grilled chicken one night and chicken salad with the leftover chicken another night.  Last night we had the marinade on shrimp with cous cous.  This versatile marinade is great on steak, pork, chicken – anything!

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: Marinade keeps well in refrigerator.

Steak and …

I made one of our favorite marinades last night.  Flank steak was on sale at Graul’s so we used the marinade for flank steak.  A great dinner tonight and leftover steak to go on a salad on Thursday.  I sautéed some spinach with garlic and Keith found some french fries in the freezer for a decadent touch.  This marinade is also good on chicken, pork chops and shrimp!  And it keeps well in the fridge.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  Meat does not need to be soaked in marinade.

Chipotle marinated flank steak

Chipotle marinated flank steak

Sunday night summer dinner

This weekend has been absolutely beautiful.  The weather is reminiscent of beach weather – sunny, clear skies, low humidity.  It is perfect weather for enjoying the pool and tennis court.  I wanted to be able to come home to a quick and delicious dinner.  This chipotle marinade is one of our favorites – leftover keeps well in the fridge and it is delicious on steak, pork or shrimp in addition to chicken.  I’m fixing extra chicken for an easy dinner on Tuesday and having skillet corn with corn from the produce stand.

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.

I bought 4 bone in chicken breasts.  They’ll sit in some marinade while I sit in the sun at the pool and then we’ll grill them.  One each for tonight and one each to save.  NOTE: The marinade has a lot of flavor so you don’t need to soak the chicken in it.

Skillet corn

  • 4 – 6 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • minced fresh herbs of your choice (I used basil, parsley and chives from the garden)

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add pepper and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Add butter and corn and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 – 10 minutes.  Add salt, pepper and minced herbs.  Serve hot.

We’ll eat outside!

Marinades

Tonight we had grilled chicken with the rest of the Thai marinade I made two weeks ago.  Marinades don’t take a lot of time to make, many of them keep well in the refrigerator and most are versatile enough that you can use them on different types of protein – chicken, steak, pork or even seafood.  The next time you are in the grocery store, take a look at the ingredients on the marinades you see on the shelf.  You’ll probably see lots of sodium and lots of chemicals.  When you make them yourself, you probably won’t add any chemicals and you control the amount of salt.  I was thinking about this because I caught up by phone last week with a friend who has recently experienced some heart problems.  He is on a low sodium diet and said I needed more low sodium recipes on the blog.  Here are some marinades for Tim and anyone else who is trying to keep the salt content low:

Thai marinade

  • 4 – 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 TB cumin seed
  • 2 TB coriander seed
  • 1 TB peppercorns
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar and/or honey
  • 1 TB turmeric powder
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tsp ground Thai chili peppers
  • 1 cup coconut cream
Toast the cumin seed, coriander and peppercorns in a dry pan over the stove for a few minutes until aromatic.  Grind together in a mortar and pestle.  Add garlic and continue grinding until ingredients make a paste.  Put paste in a bowl and add brown sugar, soy sauce, juice from lime, ground chili pepper, turmeric and coconut cream.  Mix well.  (Leave out the coconut cream for a lighter version that is good on fish.)

Chipotle marinade 

  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 TB tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce)
  • 2 TB sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender.  NOTE: Marinade keeps well in refrigerator.  We have also had this on steak, shrimp, chicken and pork chops.

Indonesian Marinade 

  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard

Combine all ingredients.   This is good on chicken or fish.

Shish Kabob

  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 TB dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jar.  Marinate sirloin cubes, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and red onions (quartered).  Skewer and grill.  Serve over rice.  This would also be good on steaks.

Grilled Eastern Shore chicken

  • Chicken breasts, bone in (two per person for leftovers)
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 oz olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp poultry seasoning
Combine marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Let cool to room temperature before marinating.