Thanks for sharing this recipe, Colleen!
Not to be confused with chimichangas (deep fried burritos), chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce/marinade. I had it at our neighbors years ago, and decided on a whim to make some last night. It is ridiculously easy and a good way to use up parsley if you have a lot growing in your garden:
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaved parsley (no big stems)
3-6 cloves garlic (depending on your love of garlic), chopped roughly
2 Tbsps fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dry
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Put everything in a food processor, but the olive oil, and pulse a few times. Put in a bowl and pour olive oil over the top and let sit for 20 minutes. Serve or refrigerate. Bring to room temp before using. You can marinade with this or just pour over or serve alongside grilled meats.
There are many many versions of this recipe available. Some adjust the ingredients quite a bit - the first one I found had 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes which would have made it really hot. Some include lemon juice or cilantro or chopped red onion or paprika. It is a bit like guacamole, you just have to experiment until you find the ingredients/proportions you like. But I think the basic garlic/parsley/olive oil/acid holds through
all the recipes I've found.
It is a great thing to whip up if you are grilling and didn't have time to marinate first. You can make this while the coals/grill is heating and have a great sauce at the table.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Avgolemono (Greek Lemon Soup)
We finished this soup today when we had it for lunch before taking off for the weekend. It is such a satisfying, velvety soup. Frothy eggs make it creamy.
Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Garlic I made a while back. I could vaguely remember a Greek soup that started with an "A" that had lemon and rice/pasta in it, so I got out my soup books to do some research. It turns out it is Avgolemono which means egg and lemon.
I chose a simple version of the soup from the Mediterranean cookbook.
Eggs are blended to create a smooth, creamy texture. Orzo (rice-shaped pasta) is added for texture.
from Mediterranean, page 109
Serves 4 - 6
7.5 cups flavorful chicken stock
1/2 cup orzo pasta
juice of 1 large lemon
salt and ground black pepper
lemon slices, to garnish
Pour the stock into a large pan and bring to a boil. I added the gelatinous drippings from my chicken, after discarding the fat from the top. There were bits of chicken and garlic, too, adding extra flavor.
Slowly stir in a ladleful of the hot chicken stock, (I did this backwards but it turned out okay!)
Don't let the soup boil again or the eggs will curdle. Today I used parsley for the garnish and it was a little overpowering. When I first made it, I used arugula. I prefer the peppery-ness of the arugula over the brightness of the parsley. However, the books say that dill is the traditional garnish for avgolemono. Use what you like.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Grilled Bison Steak and Potatoes with Green Beans by Tom
The other night I decided I would experiment cooking potatoes and green beans on the grill. I have made whole potatoes on the grill for many years, and I always figure on a minimum of 45 minutes of cooking time to insure that the potato is thoroughly cooked. I also realized that if I cooked green beans for that long, they would either come out as shriveled pieces of dried beans or worse yet just mush. Not very appetizing to say the least. So the question I posed to myself was how could I cook both potatoes and green beans together so that they both came out well cooked, but not overcooked.
Additionally I wanted to cook bison steaks, which we had had before and liked very much. Bison is very lean, lower fat than a beef steak, and a bit chewier. But if prepared and cooked right, very tasty!
But first the potatoes and green beans.
Green Bean and Red Potato Ingredients (serves two)
8 or 9 1" diameter red potatoes
Handful of green beans, ends sliced off
a dash of olive oil
Can it get any easier than that?
Off to Wegman's (where else!) to shop for the potatoes and beans. Being a chemical engineer by training, ahem, I thought about my heat, mass and momentum transfer course. I knew that I needed to transfer heat into the potatoes potentially greater mass quickly to get them cooked, while not overcooking the smaller, less mass, green beans. Too technical for you??? Okay, let me simplify. I knew I needed the smallest potatoes I could find. Fortunately I found very small red potatoes in the mix of potatoes. In this case I bought about 8-9 roughly 1" diameter potatoes.
Once I got home I scrubbed the potatoes with water using a vegetable brush to get any dirt off and to rough up the skin just a little bit. I also trimmed the green beans at both ends and washed them as well. I did not dry either as I assembled the two as I thought the moisture would help with the cooking.
Part of the key to success is the arrangement of both. As you can see from the picture above, I made a circle of the potatoes and then filled the inside with the green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil. Give the whole thing a dash of salt and a little dribble of olive oil before you start to wrap it up.
I double wrapped the potatoes and green beans to make sure that I kept the steam inside the packet.
Bison Steak Ingredients (serves two)
2 6oz bison steaks
seasoning salt or meat tenderizer
ground black pepper
splash of olive oil
Remove from the grill...duh!... after the requisite cooking times.
Here is what it looked like. The potatoes were well cooked and the green beans were just starting to caramelize a little bit. Plenty of moisture in both.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Ginger Honey Muffins with Apricots, Coconut and Almonds
Makes 12 large muffins
1 stick butter, melted
1 t. vanilla
3 cups cake flour
2 T. powdered ginger
2 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup toasted coconut
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup honey mixed with 1 1/4 c. buttermilk
crunchy turbinado sugar for the tops
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12 muffin pan with butter or Pam.
The first time I made the recipe my apricots were shriveled up as hard as rocks, so I re-hydrated them by simmering them in apple juice. Then, cooled them and chopped them up into bite-size pieces, the size of chocolate chips.
Melt your butter in the microwave and let it cool.
If your apricots are wet, put them in with the dry ingredients and toss them to coat with flour. This will help to more evenly distribute them throughout your batter.
These are not overly sweet muffins. The ginger makes them a little spicy and the fruit and nuts give them texture. If you want a more traditional muffin, you could use regular flour and increase the honey or add some sugar to the batter when you add the buttermilk. But I like muffins this way --not too sweet. They are great with a cup of coffee!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This is my version of Goat Cheese Cheesecake. I've made many different kinds of cheesecake, but this is Kevin's favorite and it doesn't even need a water bath. I made if for our friends who came for dinner recently. It's perfect every time.
Goat Cheese Cheesecake
Graham cracker crust:
1 1/4 C graham cracker crumbs
1/4 C sugar or splenda (I use splenda)
5 T melted unsalted butter
Mix together in bowl and press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Crumbs should go slightly up the side. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes and cool.
2 eight-ounce packages of fat-free cream cheese at room temperature
12 ounce log of goat cheese
12 ounces of sour cream
1 C sugar or Splenda (I use Splenda)
3 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese in a bowl with an electric mixer until it starts to turn light and fluffy. Mix in the sour cream and eggs one at a time. When thoroughly mixed, add sugar and vanilla.
Pour filling into the prepared crust and place on a baking sheet in the preheated 350 degree oven. Bake 55-60 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should not start to color, but rather just start to pull away from the sides. It will still jiggle a bit when you take it out of the oven.
Let it cool completely. It will continue to set. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.
You can make a fruit sauce to pour over this with whatever fruit you have on hand, but I think it is good enough to be served alone. Enjoy!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Brining Pork Chops by Tom
With summer around the corner, grilling is on my mind. The two just go together. And Tom makes some great things on the grill -- like these delicious pork chops he brined last summer. So, I asked him to write about this technique for the blog. Thanks, T for contributing again! ---ILY, B
Last summer I read a book by Michael Pollan titled "The Omnivore's Dilemma". Colleen had given it to Barbara to read, and I thought it looked like it would be interesting to read as well. It was. In it he explores the natural history of three meal sources: industrial corn, pastoral grasses, and the forest for both hunting and gathering. The book is fascinating and very interesting, on its own, so I recommend it as a good read. But it is also interspersed with some interesting approaches to food preparation. One of those, brining, caught my eye. So I thought I would give it a try.
Brining causes meat to absorb moisture and helps to break down the proteins that can toughen the meat on the grill. The approach is very simple, and the results are excellent.
The Ingredients (based on 6 thick cut pork chops or 6 servings)
~1/2 cup kosher salt
2 bay leaves
~1 tablespoon of chopped garlic, about 2 cloves
~1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
~1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
~1/4 cup soy sauce
thick sliced pork chops (1 chop per person)
water to cover
Adjust the quantities based on the number of pork chops you will be serving.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Thai-Style Shrimp Soup by Tom
We have contractors in the house today, so a good time to steal away to the computer and enter the dinner soup that I made last Monday when Barbara was painting with her friend Lin. Barbara had made a version of this soup several years ago, and we both thought it would be a tasty, lower fat dinner to make after a day of activities.
~1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3 lemon grass stalks halved about 5" long (I used a jar of lemongrass already sliced up - about 2 tbs)
3 large shallots chopped
1 green onion sliced (optional)
8 sprigs of fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 cups (about 2 cans) low-sodium chicken broth
2 14 oz cans of lite coconut milk (you can use full strength coconut milk, but is has much more fat)
1 tablespoon sugar, preferably brown sugar
1/2 lb button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and sliced in half
30 uncooked, cleaned and shelled shrimp
3 tablespoons juice from fresh limes
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste (adjust this to your taste: a little less for less spice, a little more for more heat!)
"We used shrimp but you could use chicken, too. It's the broth that is so wonderful in this soup."