Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese in corporates several great flavors into one grilled bundle.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken with Spinach Goat Cheese
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out to about half thickness
8 oz. fresh spinach leaves
12 oz. creamy goat cheese
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes
12 slices prosciutto
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat, soften the onion and garlic, along with the red pepper flakes, in a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.

Place four groups of three prosciutto slices over-lapping slightly on a foil-covered baking sheet. Place a chicken breast on each set of prosciutto. Cover each chicken breast with a generous layer of spinach. Divide the goat cheese among the chicken breasts. Top with the onion-garlic mixture.

Tightly roll the prosciutto around each chicken breast and secure with tooth picks. Refrigerate for an hour before grilling. Remove from the refrigerator about 15 minutes prior to grilling. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium. Place a solid cast iron grilling plate over the heat and allow to warm for 10 minutes. Place a layer of foil over the grill plate and spray it with cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on the plate without crowding and sear on all sides. Close the grill and cook until internal temperature reaches 165F. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli

Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli combine the strong flavors of basil, parsley and a bit of jalapeno with the silky smoothness of a homemade aioli. The Red Onion Aioli is as good on french fries or baked parmesan potatoes as it is on a burger.

IMG_5995Herbed Turkey Burgers with Red Onion Aioli
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes 6 burgers

2 lbs ground turkey
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/2 medium jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp anchovy paste
Freshly ground black pepper

1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
6 garlic cloves, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To prepare aioli: Preheat oven to 400F. Spray cooking spray on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place the red onion rings on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Place the garlic cloves in a small foil packet, drizzle with oil and seal. Place the garlic packet on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Coarsely chop the onion. Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and pulse. Add the lemon juice and zest and pulse. Add egg yolks and pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Pour the aioli into bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.

Combine the herbs, scallions and jalapeno in a food processor and pulse. Add the mayonnaise and anchovy paste and pulse. Season with pepper. In a large bowl thoroughly mix the herbed mayonnaise with the ground turkey. Form into 6 1/3-pound patties.

Heat grill for medium direct cooking. Cook the burgers for 5 minutes, rotating 90 degrees halfway through to enhance grill marks. Flip and grill for another 4 minutes for medium doneness. Serve on grilled buns topped with the Red Onion Aioli.

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Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune

Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune is a yakitori. The chicken is in the form of a sausage that is seasoned with finely chopped green onion and cilantro. The chicken sausages and skewers of shiitake mushroom caps are grilled and glazed with a sweet and savory sticky sauce called a tare.

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Chicken and Shiitake Tsukune
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Serves 2 to 4

6 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp mirin
6 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
6 Tbsp sake
20 oz. ground chicken
4 scallions, white part only, minced
2 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tbsp sake
2 tsp rice starch
1/2 tsp kosher salt
16 oz. shiitake mushrooms, caps only
Canola oil for frying

To make the yakitori tare, combine the sugar, mirin, soy sauce and sake in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to boil until the sauce becomes thick. The sauce will be finished when the bubbles go from small to large and glossy.

Put the ground chicken in a large bowl and gently break it apart. In a small bowl combine the scallions, cilantro, sake and rice starch. Mix to combine. Add the mixture to the chicken and combine thoroughly. Form the chicken mixture into 8 to 10 sausage logs about 1-inch in diameter. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cooking.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the vessel. Fry the sausage logs on each side until just golden brown. Run a bamboos skewer through each before grilling to allow for easier handling.

Heat grill to medium-low for direct grilling. Place the sausage logs in a loose foil wrap to that they do not burn as they cook to an internal temp of 160F. Brush the sausage logs with plenty of tare and return them to the grill, again on foil, to allow the glaze to caramelize. During this step add the shiitakes and glaze them as well.

Serve with rice and an Asian Slaw with extra tare on the side.

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Rosemary and Red Onion Focaccia

Rosemary and Red Onion Focaccia is a cross between a thick pizza and a flatbread. The coarser, denser dough is due to the longer, multiple rising cycle. The simple toppings make this focaccia a truly basic pizza.

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Rosemary and Red Onion Focaccia
(Mark Kelly, 2015)

Makes One Focaccia Bread about 14″ in diameter

4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Lightly oil a large bowl, set aside.

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Eggplant with Basil, Gorgonzola and Balsamic Vinegar

Eggplant with Basil, Gorgonzola and Balsamic Vinegar can be served as a side dish with meat or a pasta entree. Alternatively, these eggplant bites can be served as an appetizer.

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Eggplant with Basil, Gorgonzola and Balsamic Vinegar
(Mark Kelly)

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish

2 medium eggplants, trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch-thick
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. gorgonzola
20 fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar

In a large plastic container with a lid, sprinkle the bottom of the container with salt. Place a layer of eggplant over the salt. Sprinkle the top of the layer with salt and add another layer. Repeat until all eggplant pieces are in the container. Sprinkle the top layer with salt before closing the container. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least an hour. Draining the accumulated water about every half hour.

Remove the eggplant slices from the container and place on a paper-towel-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover with paper towel and allow to stand at room temperature for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Rinse the salt from the eggplant, squeezing the excess moisture from the eggplant. Place the eggplant on a fresh layer of paper towel.

Place the eggplant slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place a basil leaf on each slice. Top each slice with some gorgonzola. Drizzle each slice lightly with good olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and season with pepper before serving.

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Shrimp Po-Boys with Asian Slaw

Shrimp Po-Boys with Asian Slaw is all about the preparation.

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Most of this delicious dish can be made well ahead of time. During the last 30 minutes, marinate the shrimp while the oven is preheating and finish the meal off in style.

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Shrimp Po-Boys with Asian Slaw

(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Louisiana Cookin’, 2014)

Serves 2

For the Shrimp
1/2 cup minced cilantro stems and leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 pound large shrimp peeled and deveined
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Sriracha
2 tsp Creole mustard
1 tsp Kosher salt
2 (8-inch) loves French bread, split and toasted

For the Asian Slaw
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 bag (12-16 oz.) slaw mix
1/2 medium red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
1/3 cup chopped green onion, white and green parts
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

To make the Asian Slaw: In a large bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, Sriracha, and salt. Add the slaw mix, bell pepper, jalapeno, green onion, radish and cilantro; toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the Spicy Mayonnaise: In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Whisk until combined. Refrigerate until serving.

To make the Shrimp: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large zip-top plastic bag, combine the cilantro, sesame oil, vinegar, lime juice, jalapeno, soy sauce, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Place the marinated shrimp on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and place them in the oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp turn each of them over and bake for another two minutes.

To serve: Spread the Spicy Mayonnaise on the cut side of the top and bottom of each toasted French bread loaf. Place the shrimp on the bottom half; top with the Asian Slaw and the top piece of bread and serve immediately.

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Fresh Turkey or Self-basting Turkey?

The default choice of turkey for most home cooks is a self-basting turkey from the local grocery chain. The most popular brand is Butterball.

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In recent years, there has been a very strong move to fresh turkeys which can be ordered from grocers or purchased frozen during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. One Midwest grower is HO-KA Turkeys.

The typical self-basting turkey is frozen and comes with a “ready button”. The turkey needs to be thawed in the refrigerator over several days. The rule of thumb for thawing time is 24 hours for every 4 pounds of weight. The turkey does not need to, and should not be, brined.

If you simply follow the directions that come on the wrapper, you will produce a quality main dish for your holiday meal. Whether you are cooking a Butterball turkey or a turkey from a competitor you should keep in mind that Butterball has on-line and telephone support for home cooks. You can call them or chat on-line if you run into a problem while cooking.

The fresh turkey, if frozen, should be thawed beginning one additional day ahead of the meal because you will want to brine the turkey for the final day before roasting it. If you have ordered an unfrozen, fresh turkey from the grocer or butcher you should pick it up two days prior to the meal to allow for a full 24 hours of brining time.

If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, you should order your fresh turkey today or purchase your frozen turkey this coming weekend.

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Southwestern Grilled Salmon with Ancho-Tomato Relish

Southwestern Grilled Salmon with Ancho-Tomato Relish incorporates a crema-based marinade with Southwestern herbs and spices along with sweet, juice summer tomatoes in the relish.

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Southwestern Grilled Salmon with Ancho-Tomato Relish
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Bobby Flay’s Barbecue Addiction, 2013)

Serves 4

1 cup crema or sour cream
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lime zest
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp ancho chile powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp chile powder
4 (8-ounce) salmon fillets, skin on
2 Tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped green onion for garnish
1 lime, quartered

For Ancho-Tomato Relish
2 dried ancho chiles
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions chopped, green and pale green parts only

Whisk together crema and herbs and spices. Place the salmon fillets in a shallow pan and coat the fish with the crema marinade. Cover and refrigerate for up to an hour.

While the salmon is marinating, soak the dried chiles in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain the water reserving about ¼ cup. Remove the stems and seeds. Puree the peppers with the reserved soaking liquid in a food processor.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the chile puree and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes and oregano and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper. Remove the relish from the heat and fold in the green onions.

Heat grill to high for direct grilling.

Remove the salmon from the marinade and wipe away excess marinade. Brush the salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown and cooked through.

Remove the salmon to serving plates and squeeze fresh lime over each piece and serve with the Ancho-Tomato Relish

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and the Cojita cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

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