Simple & Elegant: Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli

How to Grill Veal Chops and Baby Broccoli

Grilled Veal Rib Chops & Baby Broccoli

A simple preparation is definitely best for letting the natural virtues of this premium cut shine through. Veal rib chops sliced from the middle of the rack are super tender with an elegant flavor, they need no major enhancement. A brief marination in naturally fermented soy sauce and olive oil deepens the umami qualities of the crusty exterior.

The young beef steers are milk-fed and humanely-raised, allowed to move freely in small groups. Where grass-fed veal is more like beef, here milk-fed veal is paler in color, much more tender, and milder in flavor.

While they are quite pricey for everyday dining, don’t wait for a special occasion to give these exceptional chops a try – at least once this summer!

Grilled Veal Chops & Baby Broccoli Recipe

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Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Kale and White Beans

Roasted Chicken with Red Kale and White Beans

Do we really need another roast chicken recipe? Or more kale?

Let me tell you why we do.

First, perfect roast chicken is just that. Perfect. Crispy skin, juicy, flavorful. Second, healthful kale has two textures – the kale cooked under the chicken is tender, the kale surrounding the chicken is crunchy. Below the kale is a layer of velvety cannellini beans bathed in olive oil and chicken juices with oregano, thyme, and onion playing supporting roles.

Beyond deliciousness, this casserole is super-easy to prepare, economical, loaded with protein and fiber, nutritious, and low-carb too. Dinner tonight?

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Eat Flowers, Be Happy (Edible Flower Salad)

Edible Flower Salad with Wild Strawberries and Grape Tomatoes

Edible Flower Salad
Wild Strawberries, Grape Tomatoes, Chrysanthemum Greens
Texas Tarragon, Borage, Marigold, Lemon Thyme, Chive Blossoms

In honor of the first days of summer and the unveiling of a new category to my website menu, I present this EDIBLE FLOWER salad. A trip to one of our best local Farmers Markets, plus a stop at my favorite Korean supermarket, and a bit of foraging in my own garden resulted in a one-of-a-kind salad that just screams summer. Every ingredient has a purpose in the flavor/texture/color profile.

Wild strawberries and sweet little grape tomatoes have a particularly delightful affinity for each other. Their red color contrasts with the exotic greens. Radish brings peppery flavors while roasted sunflower seeds add salty flavors – eliminating the need for additional salt and pepper. Kimjaban, crunchy roasted seaweed takes the place of croutons while adding sweet and salty notes.

Dressing is not tossed with the salad mix, so the flower petals look fresh-picked and the seaweed retains its crisp texture. The dressing consists of three distinct high-quality oils – fruity olive oil, toasted sesame oil, and fiery chili oil that are balanced by aged balsamic vinegar. Using chopsticks, diners can coat the salad ingredients with the oils and vinegar. And they just may want to reserve a bit of the syrupy balsamic vinegar to pair with that last wild strawberry for a grand finale.

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Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled Chicken Cutlets, Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled Chicken Cutlets
Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce

Grilled chicken breasts can be pretty boring, right? But here, a vivacious sweet cherry pepper sauce adds bright tangy flavor and a pop of color to simple chicken cutlets. Serve the smoky juicy chicken over mixed greens, and the sauce doubles as a dressing.

In fact, this sauce has so much personality that the chicken needs no marinade. Just coat the cutlets with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then toss them on a hot grill. An efficient cook could have this fabulous low-carb dish prepped and plated in less than 15 minutes. Here’s to summer grilling season!

Pickled Sweet Cherry Pepper Sauce Recipe

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Southwest-Style Shakshuka with Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

Shakshuka, the breakfast/lunch dish that originated in Tunisia that’s wildly popular in Israel, is a perfect brunch item. It is easy to prepare in a single pan but takes a bit more time than weekday fried eggs and toast. The skillet doubles as the serving dish, and makes a terrific presentation on the buffet.

This now-global egg and tomato skillet dish has many incarnations – made with a myriad of ingredients such as sausage, feta, bell peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and a variety of herbs and spices depending on geography and the seasons.

Epazote in garden

Inspired by my garden overflowing with epazote, I decided to make shakshuka with a Southwestern influence. Epazote is often paired with beans for its natural carminative properties. The saw-toothed epazote leaves give the shakshuka a unique aroma and flavor. I have fallen in love with this herb and its intriguing bouquet which is strangely reminiscent of, if you can believe it, kerosene. Here, spicy tomato sauce is simmered with pinto beans and epazote, then topped with eggs. Once cooked, the whole thing is garnished with avocado slices, cilantro and scallions.

Smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream

It can be served on its own or as tacos with smoky charred corn tortillas and sour cream.

Southwest-Style Shakshuka (Eggs Cooked in Spiced Tomato Sauce) Avocado, Epazote, Pinto Beans

For the Memorial Day holiday, try this vegetarian shakshuka for brunch, and save the meat for a big barbecue later in the day.

Memorial Day

My Memorial Day

Every year at the end of May, it is our duty to honor those who have laid down their lives to defend our freedom and ensure our liberty. Simultaneously we celebrate Memorial Day weekend as the official start of the summer grilling season. So in addition to serving awesome grilled foods and refreshing drinks, we proudly display the American flag and observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM to honor and remember those who have died in service to our nation. We turn on the television to watch the President lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and we listen with respect as a lone bugler plays the languid 24-note melancholy bugle call known as Taps.

“The solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”
Abraham Lincoln

“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”
John F. Kennedy

“Memorial Day is a day of ceremonies and speeches. Throughout America today, we honor the dead of our wars. We recall their valor and their sacrifices. We remember they gave their lives so that others might live.”
Ronald Reagan

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Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto #glutenfreevegan

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots, Cilantro Dill Pesto

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots
Cilantro Dill Pesto

My health-minded friends at Explore Cuisine have just released a new line of Pulse Pastas.  Certified vegan, organic, and gluten-free – their Pulse Pastas are made in Italy into spaghetti, penne, fusilli, and lasagne shapes.

Pulses are part of the legume family, the term “pulse” referring to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fiber, and low in fat.

Made of chickpeas, red lentils, or green lentils these noodles are much more than a gluten-free pasta substitute, they are smart choice for the chef to savvy home cook, and they make a perfect dish for everyone at the table. Packed with protein, high in potassium, with lower net carbs, and a good source of fiber – beyond the health benefits, these noodles have an impressive taste, texture, and color.

Here, chickpea spaghetti is paired with carrots that have been roasted and slightly caramelized for depth of flavor. The carrots were spiralized for a nifty presentation. Fresh and herby, with bright lemon and zippy garlic flavor – the cilantro dill pesto complements the roasted carrots. It is a simple but very tasty and healthful dish.

Chickpea Spaghetti with Roasted Carrots Recipe

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Succulent Fresh Fish and Spring Produce

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail, Garlic Butter Petite Peas and Green Beans, Toasted Pine Nuts, Tarragon, Mint, Parsley, Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Fresh-Caught Pan-Fried Yellowtail
Garlic Butter Peas and Green Beans
Toasted Pine Nuts
Tarragon, Mint, Parsley
Meyer Lemon Hummus Drizzle

Neither succulent fresh fish nor fresh spring produce need much embellishment. Although the addition of lots of fresh green herbs and a drizzle of meyer lemon hummus doesn’t hurt. The verdant colors of spring make the dish pop. Where pine nuts, parsley, and lemon juice are a classic pairing with hummus – here all these flavors and textures lend a supporting role to the fish and vegetables. The ubiquitous dip is equally fabulous as a sauce for fish.

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Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Food & Wine Pairing: Ahi and Pinot Noir

Pan-Seared Ahi Tuna
Lavender-Scented Soy Butter Sauce with Thyme
Lentil Pomegranate Arugula Salad

paired with

Paraiso Pinot Noir
Santa Lucia Highlands 2011

for

Grocery Outlet’s
Spring Wine Sale

The culinary confluence of the first days of Spring in my garden, the mind-boggling wine sale at Grocery Outlet, and irresistible fillets of fresh ahi tuna from my favorite fishmonger – all meld together into a beautiful synergistic seasonal main course.

Pinot Noir is eminently food friendly due to the elegant balance of fruit, acidity, and light tannins. Fruitier versions make a great match with salmon and tuna. Black cherry, pomegranate, and cranberry flavors with hints of spice, smoke, and toasty oak in Paraiso Pinot Noir pair beautifully with fresh-caught yellowfin tuna.

The marriage is a mutually advantageous conjunction revealing deeper layers of flavor for both the dish and the wine. Earthy lentils and peppery arugula reflect those same flavors in the wine. Pomegranate arils mirror those fruit flavors, adding a touch of fruitiness without being too sweet. In the sauce – soy brings salty and umami flavors while butter adds nutty flavor and unctuous mouth-feel. The well-loved fragrance of lavender adds more than a just a scent but also an unexpected burst of flavor that heightens the wine profile. Thyme and black pepper elevate the underlying nuances of this Pinot Noir. The dish is a relaxed, natural presentation of a pristine fillet of fish paired with a delightful bottle of wine, all in the celebration of Springtime.

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Beer Braised Bratwurst, Beet Greens, Red Cabbage, Horseradish

Beer-Braised Bratwurst, Beet Greens, Red Cabbage, Horseradish

Bratwurst Braised in Beer
Beet Greens and Red Cabbage, Fresh Horseradish

Sausage lovers rejoice! The classic combination of red cabbage and sausage takes on a new twist with the addition of beet greens. Here, bratwurst is braised in beer and paired with red cabbage, beet, and onion. Sweet, sour, and spice flavors come from brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and allspice. Sautéed beet greens add a garlicky earthiness while freshly grated horseradish’s hot, sharp notes balance the rich juicy beer-braised brats. Outstanding!

Beer Braised Bratwurst Recipe

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Red Lentil Spaghetti (gluten-free) with Cauliflower Rosa Sauce (vegan)

Red Lentil Spaghetti (gluten-free) with Cauliflower Rosa Sauce (vegan)

Red Lentil Spaghetti with Cauliflower Rosa Sauce
Blistered Tomatoes, Arugula
#GlutenFreeVegan

This is THE pasta dish for everyone. Not only is it wholesome and delicious – it is gluten-free, vegan, high protein, high fiber, lower carb, clean, fresh and fabulous. My friends at Explore Cuisine are introducing a spaghetti made of red lentils. This spaghetti has a texture similar to traditional spaghetti. And it pairs wonderfully with my vegan Cauliflower Rosa sauce. Parma Rosa is a pasta sauce typically made with tomatoes, cream, and Parmesan. Here, I substitute cauliflower and olive oil for the cream and cheese, and roast the tomatoes in the oven with garlic for a deeper flavor. The result is a lower-cholesterol sauce that is full of vegetable nutrition and is super-satisfying. For everyone.

Red Lentil Spaghetti with Cauliflower Rosa Sauce and Arugula Recipe

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