‘Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber-&-Tomato Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

You are probably familiar with tahini : the rich sesame paste that is an essential ingredient in hummus.  I was excited to try this recipe from the pages of Cooking Light  that highlights the sesame paste in a new way–as the star-of-the-show in a simple marinade.  Along with the tahini, boneless skinless chicken thighs are marinated with lemon zest, juice, crushed red pepper flakes, fresh rosemary, garlic and shallots.

 Some of the marinade is set to the side to use as a sauce on top of the grilled, marinated chicken thighs.  Marinating the chicken for at least 8 hours or even overnight, not only infuses the chicken with a deep and wonderful flavor, but also ensures that the cooked chicken is moist and tender.  This lovely grilled chicken dish is served on top of a simple tomato and cucumber salad flavored with fresh mint; and as mentioned before, this entree was wonderful with yesterday’s highlighted freekeh salad.

(To view this recipe click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/tahini-marinated-chicken-thighs-cucumber-and-tomato-salad)

Freekeh with Grilled Halloumi, Zucchini & Preserved Lemon

With zucchini and a lovely block of Greek halloumi on hand, I decided on a warm freekeh salad with layers of flavor and textures.  Freekeh is a whole grain similar to cracked wheat, that is packed with fiber and protein; a great base for a side dish like this one, but also perfect anywhere you would normally add in brown rice, quinoa or cous cous.  I roasted spears of zucchini along with pistachios and minced preserved lemon peel, and tossed the freekeh with the summer squash and chunks of the grilled Greek cheese.  This scrumptuous Mediterranean-inspired side dish is a wonderful vegetarian main dish, or side dish served with a grilled chicken dish like the one I will highlight tomorrow.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Smoked Salmon Salad with Dill Sauce’

Recipe Courtesy of Food & Wine magazine

I simply can’t think of a better summertime salad!  Filled with Swedish-inspired ingredients, this salad starts with a base of mixed greens, sliced scallions, blanched haricots verts, and fresh herbs–followed by cherry tomatoes, radishes, and two sauces.  The first, a simple crème fraîche-fresh dill sauce, and the dressing which is a unique browned butter and caper vinaigrette.  The star of the show is flaked, hot smoked salmon. Which you can find in some specialty market’s seafood sections, or you can smoke the salmon yourself if you are in the mood to grill with some nice oak wood chips.  Try serving this summer salad with the potato-zucchini tian featured yesterday, along with a glass of Sancerre or your favorite dry Rosé.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/smoked-salmon-salad-dill-sauce)

Potato & Zucchini Tian with Basil

A classic French tian is not only the name of an actual ceramic baking dish, but also a baked vegetable side dish like this one. Very Provençal in nature, for this tian I used sliced rounds of potatoes, red onions and zucchini–drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and finished off with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese. Baked until the cheese is browned and the veggies very tender, feel free to use this recipe as a base recipe for any summertime veggies you have on hand.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of blog post above*)

Grilled Balsamic Lamb Chops with Chives

A pantry item that everyone should always have on hand is thick, syrupy balsamic glaze. Wonderful drizzled onto roasted vegetables or even on top of a summertime Caprese salad, I also enjoy spreading a touch of the tangy reduction onto grilled meats. One of my favorite flavor combos in terms of balsamic glaze and grilled meats is with lamb chops.  Simply grill seasoned lamb rib chops for 3 minutes per side, flipping once, and finish them off with a touch of the glaze and some snipped, fresh chives. And remember…a little bit of this rich reduction goes a long way.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Blueberry-Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake’

Recipe Courtesy of Eating Well Magazine

What makes this pound cake on the healthier side of traditional pound cakes is the use of whole wheat flour, a minimal amount of butter, and a ton of fresh blueberries.  The cake itself is very moist, thanks to the use of part-skim ricotta cheese, and gets its added flavor from lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract and a drizzle of a tart lemon glaze. I added some sliced almonds to the top of the cake for crunch and I can also see a few poppy seeds added into the batter itself being a nice addition to this luscious cake.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/251419/blueberry-lemon-ricotta-pound-cake/)

Wild Salmon with Roasted Garlic & Rosemary

Three kitchen staples that I just can’t do without are fresh herbs, lemons, and garlic.  All so versatile, fragrant, and healthy for us as well.  I use a fair amount of garlic weekly not only cooking for us, but for my clients as well–so, when I buy it I most oftentimes buy it in a jar peeled already.  My go-to for garlic when I have a lot of it is to roast it; coated in olive oil and cooked until tender and lightly browned, roasting garlic is a great way to preserve the cloves but also add a ‘punch’ of flavor to a variety of dishes.

Tossed into mashed potatoes, smeared on toasted bread with a bit of butter, or even as a unique omelette filling, I always have roasted garlic on hand. For this salmon dish, I first topped wild sockeye salmon fillets with a touch of salt and pepper, then some roasted garlic cloves, Panko breadcrumbs for crunch, and chopped rosemary and lemon zest.  Baked at a high heat for about 15 minutes, the salmon becomes tender and amazingly flavored.  This combination of kitchen staples would also be a wonderful stuffing for a chicken breast, or a filling for a roulade of pork.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Curly Endive & Orange Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

When served raw, bitter greens pair wonderfully with a touch of something sweet—more specifically, the naturally sweet yet tart ‘tang’ of citrus fruits.  A nice citrus vinaigrette works wonders for example, or even a mixture of citrus fruits cut into rounds or segmented is another idea.  For this curly endive-based salad, I served the greens with slices of sweet oranges, cubes of salty Greek cheese, toasted pine nuts and a homemade Dijon-honey vinaigrette.  My Curly Endive & Orange Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts is a bright Italian-inspired salad that balances out just about any hearty Italian dinner menu.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

Angel Hair with Dandelion Greens & Sopressata

With a sudden influx of ripe tomatoes from our vegetable garden, I recently made a homemade marinara sauce with the ripe beauties.  Marinara sauce freezes well and has so many wonderful possibilities, so making a homemade sauce like this one is my go-to when tomato season hits.  For this simple pasta dish, I tossed al dente angel hair pasta with some of the marinara sauce, along with blanched dandelion greens and the robust flavor of sopressata salami.  Blanching the bitter greens not only tenderizes them, but also take a touch of the bitterness from them; the slightly bitter taste of the blanched greens pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the tomato sauce and the salty taste of the sliced salami.  Any of your favorite Italian sliced salamis works well here, but one with a touch of spice is my pick.

(To view this recipe, click on the blue title of the blog post above*)

‘Shaved Squash-&-Radish Salad’

Recipe Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine

Using your vegetable peeler to slice vegetables like carrots, parsnips, summer squash and cucumbers into ribbons makes for a beautiful presentation. Whether in a salad like this one or a swap-in for pasta, vegetable ribbons are a low-carb and vitamin-rich way to enjoy the season’s best produce.  Here, a simple vinaigrette is made and tossed with squash ribbons and thinly sliced red radishes. Fresh dill adds a bright note to the salad; I added in some roasted pistachios for crunch as well, but pine nuts, hazelnuts, or even pepitas would work nicely, too.

(To view this recipe, click on the following link: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/shaved-squash-and-radish-salad)