Summer is all about grilling, farmers markets, and easy meals.  So this simple but delicious combination is just how I like to cook.

I like to salt & pepper any meat for several hours or overnight.  It helps with flavor and tenderness.  I added a small baste of “UB”, that’s “Urban Barbecue” sauce.  Delicious when you don’t have time to make your own.  I grilled the meat on a high flame approximately 6 minutes per side.

Fresh vegetables from the farmers market sautéed in olive oil, lemon, sea salt, and pepper.  I added leeks, padron peppers, banana peppers, garlic, and okra… makes a perfect side dish.

 

 

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farmers market dinner

October 17th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

We have been blessed with gorgeous weather the past several weeks, so Saturday morning at the market was wonderful.  I am a big fan of the Evanston’s Farmers market because there is so much variety and many organic gardeners selling their products.  I picked up a bag of fresh arugula, cippolini onions, heirloom tomatoes, and a variety of gorgeous purple and orange carrots.  At my next stop I filled my bags with sweet onions, beautiful white potatoes, herbed goat cheese, and fresh butter.

I didn’t stop as I found a vendor selling wonderful pork tenderloins, I couldn’t pass them up.  I added some candied onions, a variety of apples, peppers, and a delicious watermelon.  We spent the rest of the morning wandering around the different neighborhoods of Evanston.  I have always been drawn to college towns, there seems to be an added vibe of energy, creativity, and community in this beautiful town.

I decided to make a few small ramekins of apple crisp because what better dessert for fall.  Then I made quick salad of arugula, heirloom tomatoes, crumbled goat cheese, pine nuts, and cucumbers.  I used my go-to dressing, a simple vinaigrette.  But if you don’t have time to make your own use “Brianna’s”, it’s delicious!  I’m not proud but the big addition to this meal was a very delicious piping hot, extra crispy Lou’s special deep dish Pizza.  It was an easy and perfect fall Saturday night meal.

Sunday I usually feel like cooking, so in that spirit I marinated the pork tenderloins in a fabulous marinade by Jill and Jewels Elmore “The Family Chef”.  This recipe is easy, perfect for two or a crowd, and great if you are lucky enough to have leftovers!  I boiled up the white potatoes, maybe 3/4 of a pound, mashed them (skins on) with a 2 tsp of horseradish, fresh butter (4 tbsp), and a ¼ cup of cream.  I added a dash of kosher salt to taste… mmm soooo good!

I had a head of red cabbage from the last market so I shredded 1/2 of that and added thinly sliced candied onions to the cabbage.  I made a dressing of 1/2 cup of olive oil, juice of one lemon (4 tbsp approx.), 2 tbsp of horseradish, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp of sugar, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, and dash of salt & pepper.  I use my hand emulsifier to mix and poured 1/2 over the cabbage.  (I ended up adding more but add to your taste).  For added color and spice, you can also mix in thinly sliced poblanos or whatever pepper you like to use.

My next step was to take the tenderloins out of the marinade.  You need to heat a cast iron skillet (or you can use you grill) till it looks like it is smoking, then sear and brown all sides of the tenderloins.  I had two but you can double that with the marinade recipe below.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and when your tenderloins are browned put them on a sheet tray and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The tenderloins will be juicy and delicious. Wait a few minutes for the meat to set and slice.  My husband was going back for thirds until I said… I’d love a few leftovers for tomorrow!  I am excited about lunch.  This can be a summer, winter, or fall meal.  You can also heat up tortillas, add beans and guacamole and put the pork and slaw together for a great tasting meal.  I also cut up the market watermelon and drizzled reduced balsamic for a small side dish.  These are just a couple of ideas for dinner.  If you are like me the crisp air makes me want to cook… and so happy we can still enjoy the bounty of the farmer’s market.

 

RECIPE: Achiote Marinade (Inspiration & credit “The Family Chef” Jewels & Jill Elmore)

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1/4 cup of Achiote paste (you can find at specialty markets, usually Mexican, it comes in a small block)
• Achiote marinated pork tenderloin
• 1 recipe of Achiote marinade (see above)
• 1/4 cup orange juice
• 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar
• 2-4 pork tenderloins

 

INSTRUCTIONS:
• Put marinade in a large plastic Ziploc, add your meat, and keep over night.  I have also started the marinade early in the day if I happen to forget the night before.  You can use this same recipe for chicken or beef.

 

 

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recipe: summer vegetable ceviche

September 17th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

This recipe is fresh, delicious, and bursting with summer flavors.  Try adding your favorite vegetables.  Remember the fresh lime is the key to bringing out the best taste.  It is inspired by a recipe from David Frenkiel and Luise Vendahl of Green Kitchen Stories.

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 cup fresh lima beans (from about 1-1/2 pounds in the pod) or other shelling bean (frozen and cooked)
• 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
• 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 scallion, thinly sliced
• 1 jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
• 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

• Sea salt
• 1-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
• 2 nectarines, cut into thin wedges (optional)
• 8oz edamame
• 2 small cucumbers, skin on
• 1-1/2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 1 large orange bell pepper, finely julienned
• 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes or mixed heirloom, halved
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS:
• Prepare lima beans and edamame until tender, about 10 minutes.

• Drain the beans and rinse under cold water.

• In a large bowl, whisk the lime zest and juice with the olive oil, scallion, jalapeño, and shallot; season the dressing with salt.

• Fold in the lima beans, corn nectarines, avocado, orange pepper, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

• Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

• Fold in cilantro, just before serving and serve chilled.

Make ahead, the salad can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours.

 

 

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recipe: egg salad

February 25th, 2013 | Posted by admin in Meals | RECIPES - (0 Comments)

My husband loves egg salad and always has a bowl of hard boiled eggs in the fridge. So this recipe is his favorite.

 

INGREDIENTS:
• 8-10 hard boiled eggs
• ¾ cup of Hellmann’s mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
• 1-½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce
• 1/3 cup of mini pickles (cornichons), chopped fine
• Salt & pepper to taste

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Chop eggs and put into a large bowl.

• Mix the rest of the ingredients together, then mix in with the eggs.

• This is great on a sandwich, with crackers, or just scooped onto a mixed green salad.

Enjoy!

 

 

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We have an eclectic holiday celebration.  This year we decided on serving lamb for the second night of Passover and my traditional Easter.  Lamb and specifically lamb Shish kabob is my favorite meal.

My dad would cut the lamb himself but I cheated and asked the butcher.  This was my father’s meal… he was the butcher, the prep cook and the chef.  We watched and waited for a taste of luscious lamb sizzling off the skewer.  It was like waiting for a piece of crisp skin when cutting the turkey at Thanksgiving.

The metal skewers we use are from my Grandmother’s kitchen stored in an old bag made from a remnant piece of carpet. The large pan is also from Grandma’s… it serves a crowd. This recipe can easily be doubled and the veggies can stay about the same.

I serve this with a wonderful unleavened Armenian bread you may call lahvosh and Armenian pilaf.  Of course we added salad and fruit.

 

This really is a complete meal… enjoy!

 

RECIPE: Armenian Shish Kabob

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS:
• 5 lbs cubed leg of lamb
• Juice of 3 lemons
• 1 onion diced
• 2 ripe tomatoes diced
• 2 hot banana peppers diced (Use only one if you don’t like the heat!)
• 3 cloves of garlic minced
• Salt and pepper

I ask the butcher to precut my cubed leg of lamb.  I prefer domestic lamb as it is less gamey than New Zealand lamb. Marinate the lamb with the above ingredients.  Then add kosher salt and pepper.  Marinate the day before, this is important to get the best taste.

• 8-10 small ripe tomatoes
• 6 cubanella peppers (sweet peppers)
• 4-6 red peppers
• 4 green peppers
• 4 hot banana peppers
• 8 onions small white or sweet

 

DIRECTIONS:
• Clean the vegetables, cut the peppers in quarters to skewer cleaning out the seeds.

• The next day prepare a “hot” grill.

• Skewer the lamb separately from the veggies… skewer the onions, tomatoes and peppers   each on different skewers.  Have a large covered Dutch oven ready.

• Grill the meat and veggies alternating when done slice off into large pan.  As you do this      you will quarter the onions, and tomatoes.  The mixture will look like stew when                  everything is grilled and in large covered pot put it on the grill at a lower heat to simmer.

• Serve with pilaf and enjoy!

 

RECIPE: Armenian Pilaf  (Click to Read)

 

Wine Suggestions for this Meal (Click to Read)

 

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A night out with good friends, all great cooks, is always the best way to spend an evening.  My dear friend invited us over for a casual meal and basketball games!  As usual our small group seemed to keep growing which just makes the evening all the better.  A group effort, the menu started with steamed artichokes, hummus and veggies.  The crock pot barbecue beer chicken sliders were accompanied by sweet potato fries, kale salad and fruit salad.  I have to note that martini’s, wine and vodka were another side special.  We finished with two different brownie recipes, one a deep chocolate cake-like brownie, oozing with melted morsels, and my best ever Alice Medrich’s chocolate, almost caramel like fudgy,             classic brownies.

 

 

RECIPE: Sweet Potato Fries

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

• Slice and cut three large sweet potatoes into fries.

• Place on cookie sheet, do not overlap fries.

• Drizzle with canola or olive oil and kosher salt.

• Bake for 15 minutes, then toss fries to get all sides crisp… when they look cooked on all     sides remove from oven.

 

 

RECIPE: Kale Salad  (Click to Read)

 

RECIPE: Best Brownies Ever  (Click to Read)

 

RECIPE: Crockpot BBQ Beer Chicken  (Click to Read)

 

 

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