Among the World’s Easiest Appetizers

Seriously, it's hard to make this one complicated. Also I love the jarred white beans from my Italian grocer and am always looking for ways to use them. It's gluten free! Vegan! Cheese lovers can add that too! Roasted peppers can replace the tomato! Am I shouting?!

Take one jar or can of your fave white bean (rinsed). Combine it with a big handful of chopped cherry tomatoes, a tablespoon-ish of chopped chive, a squeeze from a lemons half, a glug of olive oil, dash of white wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Serve on fresh or grilled bread.

Note: any fresh green herb works in this – parsley, dill, scallions work too, or try spicy Arugula – it's super flex!

Buon appetite – B

 

Chicken! Again

Inspired by my girlfriend's lentil orzo salad (recipe to come from our just discovered mutual friend), I decided to circle the Mediterranean for our cookout. This yoghurt marinade draws Greece into the meal. So EZ! And you get great flavor in the otherwise flavorless breast.

Ingredients:

8 oz Greek yoghurt

3 cloves garlic, minced (more if you want)

1 tablespoon rosemary, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Several pinches salt

Several grinds of pepper

3 lbs skinless boneless chicken (or more flavorful parts) pounded thin

Combine all the ingredients. Let chicken marinate all day.

Prepare grill or pan with oil. Wipe extra marinade off chicken. Grill

one side until edges turn opaque. Flip. Cooked at 165 degrees. Squeeze lemon on top.

Dig in – B

It's good hot & cold.

 

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Dinner

I found a new way to cook pasta. Well, it's new to me. Plenty of folks cook lasagna noodles in the casserole, not before. Why not cook orzo hamburger helper style?!

I didn't have hamburger, but ground pork works just as well. Then I scavenged from fridge and pantry. It's got no country of origin or farm to table status, but darn if this isn't a good dish on y et another cool, rainy spring night.

Ingredients

1 pound-ish ground pork

Veg oil

Large onion, chopped

1 can chopped or cherry tomatoes, 14 oz

1 can or jar white beans, rinsed, 14 oz

3/4 cup orzo

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon coriander

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

Any leftover cooked veggies – I had roasted peppers and portabellas from the weekend BBQ. Corn and squash would work too.

In large pan brown meat. Remove from pan. Add a 2 teaspoons oil and chopped onion. Soften 5 minutes and add spices. Toss for a minute. Add to beans, tomatoes, pork & 2 cans of water. Bring to boil. Add orzo, stirring. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add leftover veg. Heat 2-3 minutes.

Your choice – fork or spoon. B

Not Key Lime Pie

Or…a great no bake citrus dessert

As my guy pointed out this holiday weekend, we've come a long way. As in, I was trusting him to shop for the groceries, even when company's coming! By coming a long way, I'm pretty sure he meant I've given up a touch of control. I prefer to look at it as having faith. 🙂

(Remind me at some point to describe his first après Thanksgiving shopping which was something of an opposite experience.)

Nonetheless, I digress. I had it in my head I wanted a key lime pie and I'm not above using the bottled juice. So that went on the list. Everything else I had in the pantry including sweetened condensed milk and a pre made crust – see how far I've come!

The key lime juice proved elusive – the quest of 3.0 grocery graduates. In my new, more relaxed and appreciative state I quickly switched course, scanning the Internet for a semifreddo to use an over abundance of lemons.

The recipe is super simple (click here for the recipe), but it's a two step process that takes a bit of chill time. Also if you've never made a curd before, just know it looks like a mess in the pot until the last couple of minutes.

 

Mixed Grill

Yes it was meat free Monday. No, I did not feel like going to the store. So we're going to consider this something like an Arnold Palmer, 1/2 lemonade and half iced tea. Except in this case it's a half vegan mixed grill (the other half is chicken).

Skinless boneless chicken can take on flavor in 30 minutes on the counter. I like to pound it thinner, which reduces cooking time and raises the chances of juicy chicken. I'm still working over charcoal. My best advice is don't rush the coals. Drink some wine if you must, in fact drink regardless.

The grilled veggies just have olive oil, but a big boost of flavor as well from a quick basil dressing.

Chicken marinade

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken, your choice

Juice from a lemon

Whatever fresh herbs you have in whatever amount you want, chopped (thyme and oregano are great choices)

A couple of tablespoons of olive oil (or less)

2 big pinches of salt

Some grates of pepper

Marinate 1/2 hour countertop, or several hours in the fridge. If refrigerated, let come to room temp 15-20 minutes. Cook over coals or medium heat on the gas grill, flipped when edges turn opaque. Squeeze extra lemon.

Basil dressing

Large handful washed basil, no stems. Several pinches of salt and several grates of pepper. One garlic clove. Enough olive oil to make pourable dressing (about 1/3 of a cup). Blend in food processor. Add grated Italian cheese if you want.

Great on grilled veggies, bread, fish or chicken.

 

Watermelon Pops

It's here, ice pop season (well it was here, yesterday. I presume it will come back). Ice pops, aguas frescas, granitas, smoothies etc. are all great ways to use up fruit. I think pops are the easiest. Feel free to doll up the watermelon with lime zest or mint simple syrup. Or just make the pops as is.

Ingredients

4 cups watermelon chunks

up to 1/4 cup sugar

juice from 1 lime

Blend everything together. Don't skip or skimp on the sugar. When fruit freezes, the flavor goes flat. The juice might taste a bit sweeter than you'd like before freezing. Set in ice pop molds. That's it!

Wear your pj's inside out and do the summer dance – B

 

Lemony Chicken

As I sat across the table from my darling youngest child, I found myself basking in the glow of a “this is the best time you’ve ever made this” chicken compliment. How lovely, I thought, to be able to discuss food, politics, and off beat Youtube videos with this rapidly growing young man. He eats! He eats the food that I make! I see asparagus tips passing his lips! Moments later he dropped the bomb, changing my mind forever about feedback on the food.

“You know, “ he says, “I think there’s a little too much lemon in the chicken.”

{Insert Yiddish expression that begins with “P” ends with “R” and has as one of its meanings, a boy child trying to seem older than his years. The other meaning refers to a body part.}

That full chicken dinner hit the table after a 2 plus hour trip to the mall involving an uphill battle to get dress shoes on his feet, new flip flops for all, another iphone screen replacement and a regrettable investment in Cinnabon! I’ll be darned if I accept anything other than thank you very much, may I have another!

Anywho-I liked the chicken just the way it was. Someone whose nickname now begins with “P” and ends with “R” ate the leftovers. So, if asked do I like feedback from anyone under the age of 21, I will now say – no.

BTW, if the sauce is a bit too piquant for you, add more butter or thin with stock or water.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound skinless boneless chicken, pounded thin and cut into 4-ish inch pieces

¼ cup flour seasoned with ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and a few grates of pepper

2 tablespoons, plus up to 2 teaspoons olive oil

2 shallots chopped

½ cup stale white wine (or any)

1 lemon, juiced

2-3 tablespoons butter

Small handful of chives, chopped fine

Dredge chicken in seasoned flour (skip if you’re gluten free). Heat large skillet and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Brown chicken in two batches, flipping when edges turn opaque. Add second tablespoon of oil for second batch of chicken. Keep warm on a plate. Add shallots, cooking 2-3 minutes. In goes the wine, and reduce it by at least half. Pour in lemon juice. Swirl in the butter (it should be cold). Nestle chicken back in plan, flipping it to get it heated all the way through. Scatter chives and voila! Adjust salt and pepper. Serve with asparagus & rice to soak up the sauce.

Bon Appetit – B