Category Archives: savory

Mussels with Smoked Salmon and Cream Sauce

I saw this recipe in a cook book at my mom’s house and it seemed like it would be good. It was so-so. I’ll be sticking with this one in the future.
The recipe, in case you’re looking for something different:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 clove chopped garlic
4 lbs mussels
3 oz (1/3 cup) smoked salmon
In a 5qt pot, combine first 3
Bring to a Simmer
Add mussels and salmon and cook over medium heat, uncovered 5-6 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Rosemary Grilled Chicken Thighs

Add this to your “Things-to-keep-on-hand-for-fast-and-excellent-meals” list: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This is one item that I try to keep bulk packs of in the freezer. Typically I buy a 16-pack and divide it in half for freezer storage. It’s easy to prepare, forgiving to overcook, has a decent amount of fat-giving flavor (just be sure to trim some off to prevent grill flare-ups), and even the free-range, organic variety is easy on the wallet. A sixteen pack typically gets me two dinners and two lunches of leftovers.
And, oh, is it versatile! Fine Cooking featured a few different recipes this past summer for grilling them and I’ve yet to be disappointed. A couple of weeks ago I tried the Rosemary Grilled recipe and it rocked.

It’s a simple rub featuring minced, fresh rosemary, brown sugar, kosher salt, and some crushed red pepper flakes for some bite. My herb garden from the summer is still kicking out rosemary despite being iced-over a few times, so I snagged a fresh sprig. I also added some chopped green onion that I happened to have on hand. Good move.

On the side is an orange marmalade, rice wine vinegar, and rosemary dipping sauce. Typically not an orange marmalade kind of guy, its sweet and sour accompaniment convinced me otherwise. It’s simple to prepare—one cup of marmalade, ¼ rice wine vinegar, and a teaspoon of minced rosemary all warmed together on the stove.
The chicken itself is easy—combine the rub, toss it with the chicken and a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and then it’s onto a medium-high grill for about five minutes per side. Done.
I served it with a side of simple jasmine rice. One little cool twist on the rice was dropping in a cube of crystallized ginger to cook with the rice. It added a light hint of ginger flavor to the rice—just enough to make you to say, “what is that?” (in a good way, really.) and proved a nice pairing to the Asian-inspired chicken.
So stock up on the thighs. And make this first. Then, follow it up next weekend with the Grilled Tandoori-Style Chicken Thighs. That was pure, curried bliss.

Fish Tacos

A favorite, summer foodie event for me is sitting out on the deck, consuming mass quantities of Fresh-Mex and cooling off with a Margarita or another choice cold beverage. Fish tacos, with fresh, grilled mahi-mahi, pico de gallo, and crème fraîche, are a perfect, zesty way to highlight that event.

Mahi-mahi is my favorite choice for this quick, easy, and very tasty dish. Between preparing the marinade for the fish and the pico de gallo, prep time is less than ten minutes. Prep the fish first, and while it’s marinating, make the pico del gallo and warm up the grill. Flour torillas can be wrapped in foil and warmed in a 200 degree oven, or tossed on a hot iron griddle if you’re doing just a few.
When I was making the video, I reached into my spice drawer for chili powder and came up empty. Whoops. I used smoked paprika instead and everything was still delicious…
The fish: 1 lb. Mahi mahi fillet, skin removed.

The 20-minute marinade:
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 diced jalapeño pepper
1 TBL Chili Powder (or smoked paprika!)
2 TBL vegetable oil

Combine ingredients in a zip-top back, drop in the fish fillets, toss to coat, and marinate in the refrigerator for twenty minutes. Grill on medium-high heat, about 3-4 minutes per side.

Pico de gallo:
1/2 red onion, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, you guessed it: diced.
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: 1/4 cup Cilantro, chopped

Combine ingredients. The End. Now watch:

Friday Night Mussels

Mussels are a weekly tradition at our house. Simple, fast to cook, delicious, and social to eat. Grab some crusty bread and a bottle of white wine and chat at it. Although I think I used a little too much salt this time. Go with a 1/4 tsp of kosher salt instead of a 1/2. Oh, and a few glugs is equal to around 3 TBL…

Kabob Kubideh

Something different to do with ground beef. The dancing is optional, but it does make it taste better.

The Recipe:
1 lb Ground Beef, 80-85% lean
1 Large White Onion, grated & water drained
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
1 Large Egg, beaten or stirred
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Turmeric
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Mix meat, onions, garlic, egg, salt, pepper and turmeric well and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight.
Press the meat around long, thick metal or wood/bamboo skewers and shape evenly. Grill each side for about 5-6 minutes. If skewers are not available or grilling is not possible, kabobs can be broiled in an oven.

Serve with hot Basmati rice or on middle-eastern flatbread (naan, pita, etc.). Grilled tomato kabobs are also a nice complement.

Poppy Seed Dressing

Now that spinach is back on the shelves, may I suggest a good dressing to go with?
Poppy Seed Dressing:
2 Tbl Minced Onion
1/3 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Dry Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tbl Poppy Seeds
In a mixing bowl add vinegar, onion, sugar, mustard, salt, poppy seeds, and vegetable oil. Whisk together or blend with a stick blender. Or just do it all in a blender– up to you.


Bacon– is there anything it doesn’t make taster better? Ok, ice cream, maybe– I’ll give you that.
Rumaki is an easy-to-make appetizer that is a definite crowd-pleaser. There are many ways to make it– here’s one that has worked well for me. The recipe:
1 lb Bacon
1 can Whole Water Chestnuts
1 Sweet Pineapple, chopped into chunks
10 Dates, chopped in half
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1 tsp soy sauce
Cut the bacon into thirds. Wrap bacon around the water chestnuts, securing with a tooth pick. Then wrap the pineapple and the dates. Place each wrap on a baking tray. Broil the rumaki for 10-12 minutes, flipping mid-way through (so that’s 5-6 minutes per side, ok?) While broiling, mix together the ketchup, soy sauce, and sugar. Remove tray from oven, then set the oven to bake at 350 degrees. Drizzle, baste, or dip the rumaki with or in the sauce. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Italian Salad Dressing

It’s better when you know exactly what’s going into it.
The Recipe:
1/4 cup Balsalmic Vinegar
2-3 Tbl Water
1/2 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic, miced
2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Celery Salt
1/4 tsp White Pepper
1/8 tsp Red Pepper
1/4 tsp Basil
1/8 tsp Oregano
Combine the vinegar and water in a mixing bowl. Add the garlic and seasonings. Mix with a whisk or fork. Add the olive oil. Pour into a cruet or salad dressing shaker (which is a cruet. You’ll see…)
Four a creamy consistency, emulsify until smooth with a stick blender.

Punched-up Corn Bread

Episode 3: Punched-up Corn Bread
It’s a great side for barbeque and chili, among others– or just as a treat by itself. Yes, I know you can make it from scratch– but the pre-mixed stuff isn’t too shabby– especially when you punch it up a couple of different ways.
Recipe 1: Peached-up Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
1 6-8 oz container Peach Yogurt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg and the yogurt. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 20-21 minutes.
Recipe 2: Jalapeno Corn Bread
1 Box Instant corn bread mix
1 Egg, beatened
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
1/3 sour cream
1/3 milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add box contents into a mixing bowl. Mix in the egg, sour cream, milk, and peppers. Pour contents into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake for 19-20 minutes.

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

The family recipe!
Two recipes for the price of one:
Italian Meatballs
1 to 1.5 lbs of Ground Beef (80%-85% lean)
1 Egg
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Italian-style Bread Crumbs
1 heaping tsp dried basil
1 heaping tbl dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Best way to do it– with your hands!
Roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls (or whatever size you’re after) and place on foil-lined baking tray.
Bake for 20 minutes. Switch oven the “broil” for the last 5 of those 20 minutes.
Quick, Simple Tomato Sauce
Too often, people over-spice the heck out of a tomato sauce. Guilty as charged! Try this simple sauce and let the tomatoes speak mostly for themselves…
1/2 Yellow onion– chopped
1 Carrot, finely shredded.
2-3 cloves garlic
2 28oz cans of crushed tomato
1 28oz can of whole Plum Tomatoes
3 tbl dried basil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
In a large pot heat 2 tbl of olive oil on medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and carrot and cook until onions are translucent.
Add garlic, cook for another minute.
Set burner to “Low.”
Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 min, stirring occasionally. When adding each plum tomato, crush it in your hand to break it apart before adding it to the sauce. This makes for a nice chunky sauce.