Tag Archives: garlic

Greek Lamb Souvlaki w. Grilled Flat Bread

This is rugged, rough around the edges, uncomplicated, and unpretentious – just the way we like it. It’s a meaty, roll up your sleeves, and get your hands dirty kinda meal. Every now and then it’s cool to delve into dishes characteristic of other cultures and try to eat as they would. Imagine living in old world Greece – where the lamb was slaughtered that morning, herbs were all picked fresh from the garden, and the dough rose on the counter under a cotton towel while tzatziki sauce was stirred together by a wooden spoon gripped by a rough and weathered hand. Meals don’t exactly come together like that in this house – but like I said it’s cool to imagine. Regardless though, this dish is money, and putting all cultural characteristics aside I think you will agree – this is damn close to authentic Greek Souvlaki.

p.s. I know this recipe is so far from something you would cook in fall/winter when everyone else is cooking with root veggies, making beef stew, and cozying up with hot toddy’s and apple pie…but when that inevitably gets played out and you start yearning to fire up the grill – you can break out this recipe and get your Greek on.

Printable Recipe: http://bit.ly/9WG5La

Boneless Leg of Lamb

grab the beast – trim excess fat – slice into big chunks

Cubed Lamb

season lamb with kosher salt and cracked pepper

Fresh Herbs

finely chop the parsley and mint

Marinade

time for the marinade – combine lamb, oil, vinegar, herbs, onions, and garlic in a Ziploc and mix it up

Marinate in Ziploc

cubes should be coated with marinade – now forget about it for a while

Grilled Lamb

grill lamb chunks over medium high a few minutes on each side – yard will smell like the San Gennaro feast

Grilled Flat Bread

my new addiction is grilled flat bread – take my recipe for effin’ Artisan bread http://bit.ly/cAF5yJ and instead of making a loaf you make a pizza round – brush it with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper – grill ~5mins each side – make some now…

here’s how I get down and dirty: grab some flat bread – slap on some tzatziki – pile on the meat – top with thinly sliced tomato, red onion, and lettuce – drizzle more tzatziki – finish off with a sprinkle of feta

roll up your sleeves and dig in!

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Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

What up people?, I’m back! Intended to take the summer off from blogging, but turned into half the fall too, my bad. No worries though, I had my sidearm locked and loaded to capture any impromptu cooking.

For a little summer reading I picked up, A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home. Helped reinforce the idea that cooking is about creativity and the freedom to improvise, not necessarily exactness – unless you’re whipping up a souffle or something. So here’s to less measurements and more freedom, just don’t burn the garlic!

Moving on…let’s talk about this pasta dish I whipped up the other night. It just so happened that I had a ridiculous amount of cherry tomatoes lining my windowsill, ready to be used, and basil overflowing in the garden.

Let’s get to it.

Printable Recipe:

http://tinyurl.com/25u34gp


Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

ripe cherry tomatoes – slice in half – toss into a baking dish

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

tear up all of the fresh basil – toss half in with tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

add in olive oil, sherry wine, garlic, s&p – mix it all up

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

roast @ 450F for about 30 mins – stir a few times  so nothing burns

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

spaghetti will take about 5-7mins,  cook pasta when tomatoes are almost done

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati

when tomatoes finish leave in roasting dish and toss in remainder of fresh basil and a handful of pecorino romano – drain pasta – save 1C pasta water – scoop pasta in roasting dish – mix it all up – you want it saucy, so if dry add in pasta water a lil at a time

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Basil Over Spaghetti Rigati
mix well – you wanna get all the sauce stuck on the pasta – serve with more pecorino romano and fresh cracked black pepper – if you have an aversion to tomato skin than pulse the sauce when it’s finished in a food processor or put it through a food mill – don’t ever say I didn’t try to help…

enjoy, this pasta is muy yum

Panko Roasted Asparagus

I know I can hear you…”Joe, you have all these entrees, where the heck are the sides?!”

Panko roasted asparagus are my go to side for almost any dish. In my house we refer to the crispy panko crumbs as “crunchies” as in, “babe, sprinkle mad crunchies on my asparagus!” The crumbs are infused with some Pecorino Romano and seasoning then bound together with good quality evoo. Off the hook! The side dish is lite, healthy, fun, delicious, and EASY! You’re gonna love this one…

Prep time: 5mins
Cook time: 15mins
Serves: 4-6

Get yourself:

  • 1 Bunch asparagus
  • 2T Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3C Plain or seasoned Panko
  • 1T Pecorino Romano
  • 1t Dry mustard
  • 1t Garlic Powder
  • .5t Pepper
  • .25t Kosher salt
  • Ziploc bag
  • Preheated oven to 450F

Printable Recipe

Prep the asparagi…

Break off ends

Rinse

Dry

Add olive oil first

You want oil to adhere to stalks, but they shouldn’t be sopping wet

I used ~2T evoo, you may need more

Eyeball it (best kitchen gadget you have)

Next, toss your dry ingredients into a Ziploc bag

Shake it like a salt shaker…

Shake it like a Polaroid pictureeeeeeeeee

Drop ’em onto a foil lined baking tray

Drizzle a lil evoo over stalks for good luck

Make sure crunchies are evenly dispersed over asparagus…

Bake in 450F oven for 15mins

The asparagus should be bright green and still have a bite

Don’t overcook until they wilt…

…not cool…

Crispy, golden, crunchy, savory, cheesy, asparagusy

You never thought a side dish could be so…

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

Mad Easy DIY Chicken Stock

I cut up some whole chickens and saved the backs and necks. I had about 2 lbs worth sitting in the freezer so I decided why not give this stock thing a shot. I checked out a few recipes around the web to get some ideas and then I delved into my stock adventure. I felt that making chicken stock should be uncomplicated and an easy way to reuse scrap parts. So, with that in mind, I set out to make my own…I grabbed my scraps, some veggies, fresh herbs, and spices and tossed everything in a pot with water and let it simmer for a long ass time. A couple of additional steps were needed to refine the stock, but nothing crazy…strain it, fridge it overnight, then bottle, bag, store, and freeze the next day. Dunzo.

Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~8hrs + overnight chill in fridge

Get yourself:

  • ~2-3lb Chicken parts (backs, necks, leftover carcass, etc.)
  • ~1C White wine
  • ~6 Stalks celery
  • ~2C baby carrots or 4 whole carrots halved
  • ~6-8 Parsley bunches with stems attached
  • ~10 Sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Cloves fresh garlic smashed and skin removed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Onion, top and bottom cut off and peeled
  • 1.5T Peppercorns
  • 1.5T Kosher salt
  • ~2Gallons water
  • Big sauce pot
  • Mason jar
  • Ziploc sandwich bags
  • Patience
  • A day when you can leave a pot on simmer for ~8hrs

Thawed chicken goes in pot

If you don’t have scrap chicken you can buy chicken backs at the supermarket…

…dirt cheap

Toss all of your veggies and herbs into the pot

Don’t kill yourself just rough chop, tear, throw in whole, who cares?

Toss in your peppercorns, salt, and bay leaves

Add in your wine and water

Water amount will vary depending on the size of your pot…

Don’t sweat it, just make sure it’s enough to cover all of the ingredients by at least 2″

Simmer for ~8hrs

Don’t boil (something about fat emulsification and cloudy stock)

When it’s finally done, strain all of it through a sieve

You can save the chicken and carrots, let cool, remove bones, and feed to dogs

My little guys loved it…

…nothing goes to waste!

(optional) Line sieve with mad layers of cheese cloth and strain again

Depends how fanatical you are…

Throw the stock pot in the fridge to cool overnight

Fat will harden on the top

Using a big spoon, skim all the fat off the top and trash it

You can strain again to get all the little fat pieces that get away from you…

…kinda like the last cheerio in the milk that you swear is intentionally swimming away from your spoon

Big bowl of stock

Time to store it…

Ahhhh…ladle some of that liquid gold into a glass jar

Freeze the rest

Here’s how…

Stuff a Ziploc sandwich bag into a 16oz cup and drape over

Grab your ladle

Fill with ~2 ladle’s worth of stock

Seal and set aside

Do this until all stock is used up

Store the Ziploc bags in a big Ziploc freezer bag

When you’re ready to use just take out to defrost

I ended up getting ~10 sandwich bags of stock…

Come on, how freakin’ easy is that?!

Stop wasting money on that garbage loaded with MSG and make your own!

…you’re welcome…

🙂

Chicken Scarpariello

Chicken scar-par-ri-ello…bet you never heard of this one before. Think sausage and peppers marries chicken cacciatore and they have a menage a trois with hot peppers. This dish is jam-packed with flavor from the get-go, but truth-be-told it tastes even better the next day.

Serves: 6
Prep time: ~10mins
Cook time: ~40mins

Printable Recipe

Get yourself:

  • .25C Extra virgin olive oil
  • .5C Vegetable oil
  • 6 Italian sausage (mixed hot and sweet), keep in casing and cut each link into quarters
  • 4lbs Mixed chicken pieces (I used a fryer pack with legs, thighs, and wings)
  • .5 12oz Jar sliced sweet peppers (reserve juice)
  • 1 12oz Jar sliced hot cherry peppers
  • 1.5lbs Baby Yukon Gold potatoes, cooked and sliced
  • 3 Bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 2 Medium sweet onions, cut in half through root end and sliced into strips
  • 2 Cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1C Chicken broth
  • 1/2C Dry sherry or white wine
  • 1/2C vinegar from jar of sweet peppers
  • 1T Dried oregano leaves
  • 1t Garlic powder
  • S&Cracked pepper to taste

Heat up the oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet

Grab your sausages

When the oil in the skillet is nice and hot…

Saute the sausage until browned on both sides, ~5-7mins

When done, remove with tongs to a plate lined with paper towels

In the same skillet, add the chicken and brown on both sides

When chicken is done remove with tongs to a paper towel lined plate, set aside

While the chicken browns start on the veggies

Slice up the bells into strips, about 1/4″ thick

Slice onions in half through the root end and cut each half into strips

Cook and slice up your potatoes

Check this out to see how to make potatoes real quick in the mic:

Quick Cook Potatoes

Cook peppers, onions, and garlic over medium-high until soft and beginning to brown

Once peppers and onions are done you can add in the sausage and chicken…

and…

The sweet peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, oregano, chicken stock, wine, garlic powder, reserved vinegar, and s&p

Stir it all up

Bring to a boil for ~5mins

Reduce heat to simmer and cook ~25 minutes

Taste and adjust for seasoning

Serve as is with some crusty artisan bread, over rice, or throw into some Italian bread for a  badass sandwich

Don’t get me wrong it’s good, but just wait until the next day and you’ll see what I’m talking about

Roasted Peppers DIY

One thing I don’t like to do is buy food that I know I can make myself. It’s my inner evolutionary instinct for self-sufficiency, I guess. One of those foods that I rather make instead of buying is roasted bell peppers. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, but FAR tastier than their jarred counterpart. Roasting fresh bell peppers will yield a sweet, nutty, smokey flesh that can play the lead role or just be in the background of many dishes. One of my favorite ways to eat roasted peppers is with fresh mozzarella, I’m talking the real good quality stuff made fresh at a local salumeria. Just sprinkle some sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top and you have yourself an indulgent little appetizer.

Prep time: 2 mins
Cook time: 10-15 mins

Get yourself:

  • 4-6 Red bell peppers
  • 1 Clove fresh garlic smashed
  • 1 Clove roasted garlic
  • 1t kosher salt
  • 1t black pepper
  • 4T Good quality olive oil
  • Large Ziploc freezer bag or something to let the peppers cool in
  • Mason jar, 1 pint or quart depending on how many peppers you roast

Let’s roast some peppers!

Find yourself some nice big bell peppers with thick flesh

Remove stickers, rinse, dry

Line a cookie tray with foil and place peppers side by side

Set oven rack about 5 inches under broiler and turn broiler on

Pop under the broiler

Keep oven door slightly ajar using an oven mitt

Allow skin to blister and blacken

Remove from oven and turn peppers over

Blister and blacken entire outside of pepper

When peppers are evenly blistered and blackened…

Pop them into a Ziploc freezer bag or glass bowl

Seal bag or cover bowl and allow peppers to cool for ~30mins

While peppers cool, prep your jar that you’ll be storing peppers in

Smash one clove of garlic and remove skin

Pop into jar

If you have some…add one clove roasted garlic to jar

Peel skin from flesh then remove core and seeds

Dump peppers into a bowl with juices that collected while cooling

Tear flesh into strips

Pour the strips of roasted peppers and juice into jar

Pour a few tablespoons of good quality olive oil into jar

Add s&p

Stir gently to mix everything together

There you have it…

Your very own homemade jar of the best roasted peppers…

Ever

Period

Roasted Chicken with Veggies

Spring is right around the corner so I decided to make  a last-ditch effort to create a winter-ish dish. Not like anyone wants to be reminded of winter, but I figured it was the least I could to politely say bon voyage. So, as usual, I hit up the cookbooks and flipped through some of Ina Garten’s recipes (she rocks FYI), then I hit up the google to find some recipes and came across the Amateur Gourmet’s rendition of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc @ home roasted chicken. This looked really good and I was sold. Time to roast me a chicken and root vegetables…

“Hey, I’m looking for a rutabaga”

“Sure, over there in the barrel”

“The thing that says turnips?!”

“Yea”

“But I’m looking for a rutabaga…”

“Yea, same thing”

“Uh, OK, thanks…”

Good thing for produce guy and his thorough explanation right?! I mean, I would never know the difference if it weren’t for his extensive produce knowledge. Thanks vague produce man, thanks.

Anyway, who cares about turnips and rutabagas, let’s the roast the damn things and eat ’em. According to the Amateur Gourmet guy it’s worth it…

Serves: ~4
Prep time: ~25mins
Cook time: ~2hrs
Total time: Freakin’ long but worth it

Get yourself:

  • 1 4-4.5lb Chicken
  • 2 Rutabagas
  • 2 Turnips
  • 2 Leeks
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • 8-10 Small red potatoes
  • 8 Long carrots
  • 1 Small head of garlic
  • 1 Lemon
  • 4T Butter
  • 1t Rendered duck fat (optional)
  • .5C Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • Butchers twine or something to truss the chicken
  • Big ass roasting pan or cast iron skillet
  • Digital thermo because when the temp hits 160F that chicken is done!

First things first, if you want crispy skin then you should let your chicken air dry on the counter for 2 hours before cooking. Then you should take some paper towels and dab the skin to absorb any residual moisture.

Dry skin = Crispy skin

Now we can move on…

Preheat oven to 425

Prep your veggies

I know it looks like a daunting mountain of veggies to peel

Put some music on and get to preppin’

Let’s start with the leeks

Cut the dark green off

I feel like I’m wasting money when I buy these I mean you end up cutting and tossing half of it away

Now, stand it up and slice almost in half

Turn, slice almost in half again

Got it?!

The veg, the myth, the legend…the rutabaga

It’s waxed

Peel off the outer skin and then cut into wedges

Rutabaga, done

Turnip time

Same thing

Peel and then wedges

For the onion just cut the tip off lay flat

Then cut through the root end into quarters

Pull three cloves of garlic off the head, peel and smash with knife

Quarter your carrots

Gather 4 stalks of thyme

Rinse potatoes, but leave whole and unpeeled

Add all of these plus the veggies from above into a big bowl

Toss in the olive oil and 1tsp each of salt and pepper

Mix it all up real good and throw ’em into whatever your baking them in

I used a nice big cast iron pan

Veggie’s, done

Chicken time…

Separate the skin from the flesh with your fingers

Inconspicuously slip 4T of butter under the skin

I rubbed duck fat all over the skin, but you can use butter or a light oil like canola

Sprinkle 1tsp salt and cracked black pepper over the chicken skin

oh yea, don’t forget to remove the giblets from the cavity

Add 1 tsp of salt and pepper to cavity

Quarter your lemon and stuff it in

Stick the remainder of the thyme stalks in

Get the remaining head of garlic and slice the top off, stuff it in there

Truss the chicken legs and tuck the wing tips under the body

Push the veggies to the side and nestle the chicken right in the middle of the whole thing

Put in the 425F oven feet first

Roast for 25mins

Drop oven temp to 400F

Rotate so the feet are facing you

Roast for 45mins or until a meat thermo reads 160F

In due time, a gorgeous, fragrant, crispy chicken will grace you with its presence

Put the chicken aside and let rest so the juices can redistribute

You can throw a foil tent over it

I like my roasted veggies really caramelized so at this point I threw ’em back in for another 25mins

That’s all folks…

A classic roast chicken

If you’re into roast chicken and veggies then this is right up your alley

The chicken was SO juicy and had great flavor

Skin was crispy and buttery

The veggies were packed with flavor

Definitely a go-to comfort dish

Enjoy!!