I’ve never been into grilling; yet despite my stance on it, we’ve owned three. Our first one was a small electric that we had purchased for our small terrace in our New York studio apartment. We used it three times. When we moved to a downtown-San Diego one-bedroom condo, with a considerably larger terrace, we bought a medium-size gas grill and used that no more than four times before we gave it away when we moved to New Jersey. So last year, now situated in a rural suburban townhouse, with quite a large deck that’s fitted with a natural-gas hookup, we bought an even larger grill and, as you might have already guessed, we used it maybe five times. This year, however, we decided it was time to join the grilling craze and began our outdoor grilling season with a huge ginger-soy London broil.Read more
Oven-Roasted Southern Shrimp “Boil”
Several weeks ago, my better half asked me to watch an episode of The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. The show featured Ina Garten making an oven-roasted Southern shrimp boil. Although I was skeptical at first about a roasted boil, I eventually understood that boiling was being swapped by pan roasting but maintaining all the makings of a shrimp boil. Needless to say, I was impressed.
So yesterday, shortly after our weekly grocery shipment arrived, my husband called me into the kitchen, where he had artfully arrayed all the ingredients for the dish and said, “Guess what we’re having for dinner?” It wasn’t until later that evening, after we started to prep, that we realized we had way too much food for two. A few minutes later, my husband returned with a slight grin and said “Guess who’s coming to dinner?” He had extended a last-minute invite to some neighbors who were planning to dine out and happily agreed to partake in our spread.
It was a feast indeed, perfectly tender shrimp in their shells, accompanied by spicy kielbasa, sweet, almost-summer corn, earthy roasted potatoes, all spiced with the typical seafood boil Old Bay seasoning, drizzled with lemon juice, and sprinkled with fresh parsley. A quintessential summer meal with which to celebrate the Memorial Day weekend on our deck.
Oven Roasted Southern Shrimp “Boil” (adapted from “Be My Guest with Ina Garten” on the Food Network.)
1 pound small (1-inch diameter) Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 ears corn, husked and cut across in 1½-inch chunks
1 pound smoked kielbasa, sliced ½-inch-thick diagonally
1½ pounds large (16- to 20-count) shrimp in the shell
2½ tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a large (13 x 16-inch) roasting pan, toss the potatoes with 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1½ teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer, cut sides down, and roast for 12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, place the corn in a medium bowl, add 1½ tablespoons olive oil, 1½teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and toss well.
4. When the potatoes are done, turn them with a small spatula and spread out in the pan.
5. Add the corn and kielbasa, toss with a spatula, and roast for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, place the shrimp in the same bowl and toss with 1 ½tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning, ½teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
7. Add the shrimp to the pan and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing halfway through, until the shrimp are just cooked through.
8. Sprinkle with the parsley and the juice of one lemon.
9. Cut the second lemon in wedges and serve hot in large warmed bowls with the lemon wedges and an extra bowl for discarding the corn cobs and shells.
Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Beer
Veal Scaloppine with Mushrooms and Marsala
Sometimes two is better than one. Such was the case recently when I went searching for recipes for veal Marsala. It was one of my favorite dishes growing up, when, more often than not, I enjoyed it when we went to my family’s favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant in Brooklyn. Perfectly sautéed thin slices of veal and mushrooms napped in a buttery sauce laced with savory Marsala were served accompanied by a potato croquet and sautéed string beams. There was never any variation. It was always delicious.Read more
Chicken in Milk
I’ve always been a fan of Jamie Oliver. Perhaps it’s his relaxed, almost reckless, approach to cooking or the relative simplicity of his recipes that I find appealing. So, when I came across his recipe for “Chicken in Milk” adapted by Sam Sifton, on the New York Times “Cooking” website a few weeks ago, I thought I’d make it the subject of a post on my blog.Read more
Meatballs: Installment #2
Nine years ago, I posted a blog entry about turkey-spinach meatballs in a marinara sauce adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit. Although my husband and I were both surprised by how good they were, I hadn’t made them again until last week. And, once again, we weren’t disappointed. So yesterday, when I was thinking about my next installment for my series on meatballs, I decided to do a variation on them using beef instead of turkey.
Well, I’m happy to report that this departure from the original recipe yielded an even more delicious dish. Whereas most of the turkey meatballs’ flavor came from the spinach, cheese, and fennel seeds, as well as from the spicy sauce, the beef version’s savor was more balanced with the meat contributing as much smack as the other ingredients. The robust, slightly acidic flavor of the spinach complemented the rich and savory essence of the beef, while the notes from the other seasonings and even the sauce were more muted.Read more
Ginger & Scallion Steamed Salmon
Although I’m fearless when it comes to preparing seafood, I wince when it comes to cooking fresh fish. But every so often, I come across a recipe that prompts me to face my fears and take on one of those scaly creatures. I must admit, however, that having skinned and sliced salmon fillets makes the feat far less daunting.Read more
London Broil with Sun-Dried-Tomato Marinade
A sale and the weather were the main influencers of this week’s post. Because our local supermarket had a great special on London broil, we had decided to break out the grill for the first barbecue of the season. But when the weather forecast put the kibosh on outdoor cooking, I started to consider a few alternatives like pan grilled or broiled, neither of which struck my husband’s fancy. So, I asked him to go through a few of our cookbooks and find a recipe for London broil that would.
An hour or so later he returned to my office, cookbook in hand and grinning. The book was Lidia Bastianich’s Commonsense Cooking and the recipe he chose was “London Broil Steak with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Marinade.” Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand—even the fresh basil, which I had purchased for another dish.Read more
Easy Crispy Baked Chicken
Sometimes I just want or even have to cook something simple yet tasty. Such was the case yesterday, when I realized all the work my initial recipe for this post required and that I didn’t have the time to make it. Consequently, I opted for a far less complicated dish that despite its simplicity yielded loads of flavor: Crispy Baked Chicken.Read more
Roasted Pork Shoulder
When our local grocery store offered us the choice of a free ham, turkey, or bone-in pork shoulder as holiday deal for spending $400 this year, we opted for the shoulder. However, since we order our groceries online and have them delivered, the roast’s exact weight was an unknown. So, when it appeared at our front door, it was a whopping 8.25 pounder, at least three pounds more than I had expected. Consequently, I was forced to shelve the recipe I had chosen for it and look for an alternative.
A search through my cookbooks failed to yield a recipe for a roast of this size. Most that I found were for boneless pork shoulders ranging from 3 to 5 pounds. I tried to adapt them for my gargantuan specimen, but with little success. I even thought of butchering it and making a stew, but my husband and I were set on serving the guests we had invited a roast.
To meet this objective, I decided to google “8 pound roasted bone-in pork shoulder recipe” and, amazingly, the first recipe that appeared sounded perfect. Not only did I have all its ingredients on hand, but the recipe included relatively precise cooking times for roasts ranging from 3 to 10 pounds. There were also copious reader comments with glowing reviews and success stories. Best of all, it required a minimum of effort.Read more
Meatballs: Installment #1
“Meatballs.” Just the word conjures up feelings of culinary comfort for me; and when these tasty morsels are paired with pasta, I’m transported back to my childhood where they often showed up as part of a Sunday dinner. I do know that some Italian-food traditionalists may scoff at these meaty orbs coated with tomato sauce, dismissing them as Italian-American fare. Indeed, I recall having dinner with a friend from Italy who looked at me in disbelief when I ordered one as an appetizer in a well know Chicago restaurant. “Stai scherzando,” (You must be joking) he said. I trust the satisfied expression on my face after I consumed the last tasty morsel proved him wrong.
This post will be the first in a series devoted to meatballs that I plan to publish periodically over the next few months. The recipe, “Pasta with Meatballs” comes from Nigella Lawson’s cookbook Nigella Bites and can also be found online. (I used the latter.) I chose it for a number of reasons: I found some ground pork in the back of the freezer; there was no frying or roasting involved; and it yielded 30 meatballs slightly larger than a cherry tomato. Another motivation came from finding her online version of the recipe, which substituted semolina for breadcrumbs as well as jarred passata for canned tomatoes.Read more