Archive | Dinner RSS feed for this section

Birthday Round 2 & Labor Day: Mint and Cumin Spiced Lamb Chops

29 Aug

Happy Friday team! More importantly, happy LONG WEEKEND! Maybe the federal holiday will give you some extra time to allot to cooking up something incredible?! May I suggest these bad boys? Featured on the cover of the special grilling issue of Bon Appétit magazine, it was basically love at first sight.  I decided immediately these Mint and Cumin Spiced Lamb Chops should be the main feature of the birthday dinner I had last weekend.  Granted, depending on where you shop (ahem, Whole Foods) and how many people are included in the experience, these are not technicallyyyy nommin’ on a budget worthy.  BUT, I needed to present them to the blog world regardless.

Click on the above link for all necessary ingredients and instructions.  These need to be prepared at least 2-3 hours ahead of scheduled meal time so they can marinate in all the spicy goodness.

Magazine and some sunflowers to maintain a summery spirit:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Fresh mint:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The plethora of spices! Make sure to follow the measurements veryyyy carefully.  Pulse until finely chopped and well-mixed.   Food processing the mint leaves will actually make a sort of wet substance… have no fear as this allows you to spread on the lamb very easily.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Rub like so:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Ready to go in the fridge!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

After at least two hours, pop on the grill.  KEEP the layer of fat on the chops as it permeates the meat while cooking for an awesome flavor.  You will have to grill these bad boys for a bit longer than the directions say.  We grilled for about 10-15 minutes total, flipping over a few times, and then cut the chops apart at the end and continued cooking for 5 minutes to make sure they weren’t too rare (the goal was medium-rare).

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Success!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

And yes, the eight of us ate all five racks.  Enjoy!

Advertisements

Carb-Free Cuisine: Mashed Cauliflower and Marinated Lamb

5 Aug

So as I noted in my previous post, August is birthday month!! I turn the ominous 25, and my roommate bestie turns the mature 26.  To ease the potentially anxiety-ridden stage of my quarterlife crisis, I have decided that August is going to be treat yo’self month.  I am going to be good to myself,  mind, body, and soul.  Plus I want to look kickass in my birthday outfit, obviously.  As a kickoff, I made a delicious carb-free dinner chalk full of protein and veggies.  The marinated lamb is a give-in favorite of mine, and I tricked my body into thinking it was consuming creamy mashed potatoes when in fact it was crazy-good mashed cauliflower! Tehe I’m so sneaky.

You can Google a decent Mashed Cauliflower recipe, but after making several variations, running out of ingredients, and having different flavor profiles, I think I’ve settled on my own fave version.  You’ll need:

  • Head of cauliflower
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Low fat veggie cream cheese
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Green onions or chives (optional)

Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  While it heats up, break up the cauliflower into smaller sections.  You can basically just tear off the little trees one by one, like so:

Cauliflower Trees

Once the water is boiling, put in cauliflower for 5-7 minutes or until soft.  In the meantime, start cooking up your pre-marinated lamb.  I had to go to Whole Foods to get my fix, but the lamb is super reasonably priced (proof below)

Whole Foods leg of lamb

TWO for $10.  Definitely beats the $28 that a restaurant would charge for an equally delectable lamb dish.  Buy the pre-marinated version to save yourself some time and money.  Throw into a pan that’s on high heat, coated with cooking spray and some melted butter.

Leg of Lamb

The butter will sear the lamb, sealing all the flavor into the meat.  Normally I would grill these, but alas, we have run out of propane. Be careful when you’re cooking in the pan, as the lamb can go from bloody to medium in a matter of minutes if left unsupervised.  It’s also super steamy so turn on your microwave fan or open a window.  Cook about five minutes on each side, and cut open to gauge the temperature.  Reduce heat if necessary.  If the meat is right on the brink of your desired done-ness, remove from heat immediately and cover with a lid, as the lamb will continue to cook internally for a few minutes.  Another option is to pan sear for a few minutes on each side, and then bake in the oven for the remainder.

Remember that while this is going on, you need to put your cauliflower into a food processor with the rest of the ingredients.  I would do this while the lamb’s first side is cooking.  Pile in the cauliflower with two garlic cloves (chopped), a heaping spoonful of the cream cheese, two tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, a tablespoon of olive oil, and your green onions/chives if you decided to go that route.

Blend until smooth, tasting along the way and adding more of any ingredient.  Hint: more cream cheese makes them more creamy!

Try not to let this process interfere with monitoring the lamb.  When lamb is done, scoop the mashed cauliflower onto your plate and sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese and some oregano for added flavah.

Done! And if you didn’t share, you’ll have plenty of leftovers.  The mashed cauliflower keeps surprisingly well for a day or two.  Enjoy!

Spinach & Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers

22 Jul

Happy Monday! Thank god it’s essentially over.  Per usual, I returned from a weekend trip and had zero food for the week.  I worked from home today and managed to find some peanut butter and a sweet potato to consume.  Talk about LAME.  I mean, I’m supposed to be running a food blog here.  So this evening, I did my usual Target run and decided for a super lean and fantastically filling dinner- Spinach & Goat Cheese Turkey Burgers!  These babies are super easy and cheap.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package of lean ground turkey (1 1/3 lb)
  • 10 oz box of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and all excess water squeezed out
  • 4 oz goat cheese (the garlic & herb variety rules for this)
  • Any kind of bread

This totaled to $15 for me and made three individual patties. Sounds like work lunch leftovers!

Additional toppings if you so choose

  • red onion, uniformly sliced to about 1/4 inch\
  • half an avocado

Additional meal component

  • grilled romaine salad!!

The first thing you’ll have to do is thaw your package of frozen spinach.  Takes roughly 8 minutes, and all you have to do is f0llow the simple instructions on the package.  Then combine turkey meat, goat cheese, and cooled spinach in a bowl and thoroughly combine all ingredients with your hands.  Make patties, like so:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Pop them on the grill, roughly 7 minutes per side for roughly 15 minutes total.  Remove, and keep grill on high heat.  Take your romaine leaves, spray each side with Pam, and grill for 4 minutes or until charred and wilted.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

While all this is happening, have a partner in crime prepare any and all toppings.  Get creative! That’s the beauty of burgers, they can go in SO many different directions.  I like a very eclectic flavor profile personally.  Below are sauteed onions on the burger, and goat cheese and mustard for the condiments.  We topped the grilled salad with mushrooms, edamame, and hearts of palm.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Celeb closeup:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

What did you have for dinner??

Treat Yourself: French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese

30 Jun

Surprisingly, the air conditioning in my turn-of-the-century home has been functioning so efficiently that I forget it’s probably over 90 degrees outside.  Both soup and a molten grilled cheese are normally associated with a brisk fall evening or a snowpocalypse, but I say NAY to stereotypical seasonal restrictions! Wrapped in a cozy blanket basking in the AC, I recently dined on the most indulgent and delicious grilled cheese I’ve ever had.  I’m a huge fan of French Onion soup in general, so when I found a recipe for incorporating the same concept into a SANDWICH, I knew it had to become a reality ASAP. Pro tip: make sure you’re starving.

Grilled cheeses are pretty straight forward and cheap, but this recipe calls for an additional preliminary step of braising a bunch of delicious onions.  Your grocery list should still be very reasonable.  Assuming you have olive oil, butter, and some wine, your list is basically garlic cloves, onions, bread, cheese, and thyme.

To make the wine-braised onions, you’ll need:

  • about 1 small clove garlic per 2 onions
  • onions (cook about 3-5 at a time, as you will find many uses for leftover caramelized onions)
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • bay leaf (which I didn’t use)
  • fresh thyme
  • red or white wine (I suggest red, you only need a 1/4 cup worth, so just finish off that random bottle in your house)

Directions:

Cut the onions in half lengthwise, then slice thinly again lengthwise.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

For every 1 large onion, heat about 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Add the same amount of butter, allow to melt, then add minced garlic. Allow the garlic to soften (but not color), then add the onions. Stir to coat the garlic and onions in oil+butter, add a bay leaf and a small sprig of thyme, then turn down the heat to medium low (so onions don’t burn).

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Continue to cook the onions until they are soft and deep golden brown, 30-40 minutes (depending on how many onions you cook).  After this point, add about ¼ cup red or white wine (again I suggest red for some pretty coloring), and allow to cook down with the onions, another 5-7 minutes.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The intoxicatingly rich smell of these bad boys is enough to get your mouth watering.  Once finished, set aside for grilled cheese assembly.

For the sandwich (makes one, I doubled the recipe for a hungry roommate), you’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon each grapeseed (or olive) oil and butter, for frying
  • 2 slices of french baguette or french bread (I used wheat sourdough)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter (I used way more than this.  I eyed the amount to my heart’s content)
  • enough shredded gruyere cheese to generously cover both slices of bread (the grocery store just had a block of gruyere, but I definitely recommend using the shredded if you can find it)
  • about ½ cup wine-braised onions, or basically as many as you can fit on the ‘wich
  • your extra thyme leaves

Spread each slice of French bread with softened butter, both sides. Add half the shredded cheese to one, pile braised onions on top, sprinkled with fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper, then add the rest of the cheese. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, and gently press together. Pictured is the sliced gruyere cheese and some fresh parmesan, because why not.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Add grapeseed/olive oil into a pan, then add butter and turn on high heat.  Place sandwiches in the hot pan and cook until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown on both sides.  WARNING: flipping these things is a feat.  I ended up needing a spatula, tongs, and another set of hands.  Good luck…. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Put on some stretchy pants and enjoy this summer indulgence because frankly, life’s way too short not to.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Bacon-Wrapped Maple Wings with Grilled Pineapple

18 Jun

So hilariously enough, when my culinary interests peaked along with the sales of the famous Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, my parents bought me a “50 Shades of Chicken” cookbook.  It’s narrated as a saucy parody, but is chalk full of recipes and techniques. One of my favorites is the maple-glazed wings with bacon (the narration entitled “Bacon Bound”), the obvious reason being the use of a key word in my vocabulary, bacon.

You’ll need:

-1/4 cup maple syrup

-1/4 cup soy sauce

-1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts

-1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or apple cider vinegar

-1 teaspoon black pepper

-15 chicken wings (about 3 lbs), patted very dry with paper towels

-8 strips bacon

Serves 4 to 6 people, or just me, myself and I.

In a large bowl, combine maple syrup, soy sauce, scallions, vinegar, garlic, and pepper and mix well.  Add the chicken wings and toss them gently so they are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

photo (15) photo 1 (5)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Slice the bacon in half lengthwise to yield long thin ribbons (“perfect for restraining your bird”).  Remove the wings from the marinade and wipe off any clinging garlic or scallion pieces.  Tightly tie up each chicken wing in a bacon ribbon and lay the chicken wings, tips up, on a large baking pan.  Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover the dish and continue to bake until golden and crisp, another 10-15 minutes.

photo 3 (5) photo 5 (3)

For a burst of contradicting flavor, pair with grilled pineapple! Buy a whole one, cut across for chunks that are an inch or two thick.  Cut around chunks to remove the outside.  Toss on the grill for a few minutes on each side.

photo 2 (7) photo 4 (3)

And if you’d like to surprise a fellow carnivore with a lovely present, shop for the cookbook!

Nommin’ Out: Dino’s Grotto

15 Jun

Happy Sunday! Planning an outing this week? A date or a ladies happy hour perhaps? Look no further than Dino’s Grotto, one of Shaw/U Street’s latest awesome additions on 9th street.  Previously located in Cleveland Park, Dino’s revamped restaurant features two levels, a robust and ever-changing Italian menu, and saucy wine descriptions.  My roommate read about Dino’s new location in this Thrillist article, so a group of us chicas checked it out last week for dinner and drinks.  And let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint.  Also, the happy hour is pretty terrific for all you winos out there.  Each glass is a healthy 8 ounce pour and $3 off during happy hour, which goes until 7pm.  I spent $12 on 3 enormous glasses of wine, which is borderline unheard of in the District.

photo 1 (4) photo 3 (4)

Below are some favorites from their rapidly-changing menu.  Thank goodness my friends are patient, and let me try and snap a perfect pic whilst staring longingly at their untouched food 🙂

The Burrata (Air freighted from Italy olive & red pepper purees – oven roasted tomato)

photo 2 (6)

 

Calamari Salad

 

photo 4 (2)

Duck Fat Potatoes (incredible)

photo 3 (3)

Meatballs (Truck patch pork, dartagnan veal, ricotta, bread, egg, spicy tomato sauce)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Stuffed Squash Blossoms

photo 5 (2)

Mozzarella in Carrozza  (Fried italian mozzarella di bufala sandwich, egg, spicy sorrento tomato sauce)

picstitch (3)

 

Now go figure out a time this week to check it out!

Summertime Salmon Burgers

1 Jun
Well we’re officially post-Memorial Day! Coupled with 80 to 90 degree daily weather, I think it’s safe to assume we have approached the summer season! Despite the impending humidity and overheating in pencil skirts, I am definitely looking forward to spending time outside on my deck, grilling up delicious meals for friends and family.  My usual go-to meal is some sort of delectable burger, mixing and matching fresh ingredients to jazz up my red meat.  But as we know, too much of anything isn’t a good thing.  So in an attempt to take a healthier, less fatty route,  I whipped up this salmon burger recipe last week- gotta love my girl Martha Stewart’s culinary insights! It takes less than 30 minutes and serves four.  Pair it with these awesome grilled stuffed zucchini boats for a nutritious, flavor-packed meal!
You’ll need:
Salmon Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce
  • 1 pound skinless salmon fillet, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons plain dried breadcrumbs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, split and toasted (I used whole-wheat Naan bread)
  • Romaine lettuce, for serving
Stuffed Zucchini
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • 2 small tomatoes
  • small handful chopped kalamata olives
  • small handful of chopped green onions
  • small handful of goat cheese
  • about 1/4c basil pesto
To make the burgers, start by dicing the salmon filet.  The best way to do this is to use a sharp knife and slice the salmon lengthwise in 1 inch strips, then cut crosswise to make 1 inch by 1 inch cubes.  It’ll be easy to make the patties without crushing the fish.
photo 2
In a medium bowl, combine the salmon, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, egg, scallions, breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; mix gently with a fork.
photo 3
Turn on the grill to high heat.  Grab handfuls of the salmon mixture and make four even patties.
photo 1-1
Almost ready for the grill!  But first, let’s make the zucchini boats.  Cut each zucchini in half the long way.  Take a spoon and scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4 inch perimeter around the skin so the boats keep their shape.  Then cut across in half.
photo 1
In another medium bowl, combine the garbanzo beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped kalamata olives, green onions, goat cheese, and pesto.  Mix together and taste to your liking.  In a smaller bowl, mix together the chopped fresh dill and yogurt and set aside.
photo 4
Now, place the salmon patties on the high heat, and grill for 5-7 minutes on each side or until done. Simultaneously grill the zucchini boats by placing them scooped-side down for 5 minutes, then flip over for an additional 5 minutes or until tender.  As burgers come close to being done, halve the Naan bread and place on the grill to heat up.  Remove the zucchini boats from the grill and fill in with your goat cheese veggie mix.  Remove patties from the grill, place on Naan bread with romaine lettuce and a huge dollop of the dill yogurt mix.
photo 3-1 photo 4-1
HOW GOOD do these look?! And I have to say, the salmon burger was equally as delicious as its red meat counterparts. Now get to grillin’!
thewinelifestyle

So close to wine

VINTAGE REFLECTION

By Amy Purfield-Clark

culinarychronicles.wordpress.com/

Discovering new Foodventures with each bite

Madison Sheffer

a creative communicator

%d bloggers like this: