Grilled Zucchini and Bell Pepper Fattoush

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Another one of our all-time favorite go-to recipes from Bon Appétit (July 2007).  Grilled Zucchini and Bell Pepper Fattoush.  Fattoush is a Middle Eastern take on panzanella, or Italian bread salad (which, of course, is another of our favorite salads…you’ve seen the recipe, here, on the blog, right?) And isn’t it just fun to say?  Fah-toosh.  What’s for dinner?  Fattoush.

I love the combination of grilled veggies and fresh veggies in this salad.  It’s a great accompaniment with your favorite grilled chicken (Sriracha Chicken Skewers or Paillards?) or lamb or even as a light main dish salad on a warm summer evening.

Grilled Zucchini and Bell Pepper Fattoush

INGREDIENTS

On the grill

3 medium orange or red bell peppers (about 1 pound), stemmed, seeded, quartered

4 to 5 slender zucchini (about 1 pound), trimmed, cut lengthwise in half

2 (5- to 6-inch) pita breads, each cut horizontally into 2 disks, or two 6x4x1/2-inch slices country white bread

Olive oil (for grilling)

For the dish

1 (8-ounce) cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

12 cherry tomatoes, each halved

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup (scant) pitted Kalamata olives, halved

1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 4-ounce piece feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (scant 1 cup)

Ground sumac* (optional) I can honestly say I’ve never used the sumac – I think I couldn’t find it the very first time I made the recipe and have made it so many times without, that I forgot it was even supposed to be included!

 *A fruity, tangy seasoning powder made from ground dried sumac berries; available at Middle Eastern markets

DIRECTIONS

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush peppers, zucchini, and bread on both sides with oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Grill peppers and zucchini until slightly charred and just tender, turning often, about 6 minutes. Transfer vegetables to foil-lined baking sheet. Grill bread until lightly charred and just crisp, turning often, about 3 minutes. Transfer to sheet with vegetables and cool. Tear bread into 1-inch pieces. DO AHEAD Vegetables and bread can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Cut peppers lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut zucchini lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in large bowl. Add cucumber, tomatoes, green onions, olives, mint, and cilantro and toss to combine. Add bread pieces. Whisk 1/2 cup oil, lemon juice, and cumin in small bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to salad; toss to coat. Add feta and gently mix into salad.

Transfer salad to large bowl. Serve, passing ground sumac for sprinkling over, if desired.

Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers

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The July issue of Bon Appétit arrived in our mailbox one afternoon at the end of June at about 4:00pm.  The picture of the Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers on the cover looked so good that I turned immediately to page 69 for the recipe (forgoing reading the entire magazine cover-to-cover, which is my usual routine the day the new BA arrives), made a short list of the few ingredients I didn’t have, soaked the bamboo skewers in water, went to the grocery store and by 7:00pm the same day, said chicken skewers (along with one of our favorite salads – Grilled Zucchini & Bell Pepper Fattoush – recipe to be posted soon) were on the dinner table.

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I can honestly say this might be the best chicken I’ve ever had.  Ever.  The sauce is so darn delicious.  A little spicy.  A little tangy.  A little sweet.  And easy (only seven ingredients, all of which can be found in the Asian section of your supermarket).  I think we’ve made them probably four times since.  In fact, I’m thinking maybe I’ll even make them again tonight.

Oh, and yes, after dinner that night, I did sit on the couch and read the magazine cover-to-cover…there’s a great barbecue sauce recipe in there and one for Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet that was to die for.

Sriracha-Glazed Chicken Skewers

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar

1/3 cup hot chili paste (such as sambal oelek)*

1/4 cup fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)**

1/4 cup Sriracha

2 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch–2-inch pieces

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

8 bamboo skewers soaked in water at least 1 hour (or, you can use metal skewers)

NOTES

*Hot chili paste is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

**I actually am not a fan of fish sauce, so I substituted 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.

DIRECTIONS

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Whisk brown sugar, vinegar, chili paste, fish sauce, Sriracha, and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Thread 4 or 5 chicken pieces onto each skewer.

Transfer marinade to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 cup), 7–10 minutes.

Grill chicken, turning and basting often with reduced marinade, until cooked through, 8–10 minutes.

A Tale of Two Tuna Pasta Salads

Ready to take to a potluck at work!

Ready to take to a potluck at work!

Okay, so I’ve been making this one tuna pasta salad for EVER. I make it often for potlucks (especially at work) and everyone always loves it and asks for recipe. It’s bowtie pasta, tuna, peas, green onions, red bell peppers and a little cheddar cheese in a mayo dressing. The recipe was in a cookbook called “California Kosher” that I bought at a Hadassah conference (yes, I was at a Hadassah conference. Don’t know what Hadassah is? Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, is a volunteer organization that inspires a passion for and commitment to its partnership with the land and people of Israel. It enhances the health of people worldwide through its support of medical care and research at the Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Hadassah empowers its members and supporters, as well as youth in Israel and America through opportunities for personal growth, education, advocacy and Jewish continuity.

Okay, so I bought this cookbook at the boutique. I liked the cover. And, as it turns out, there are several recipes in there that I’ve turned to over the years (seems those Hadassah ladies are pretty good cooks).

The other day, after Tony and I had just gotten home from a two week vacation (the wedding vacation), I was looking at the U-T Food Section and saw this big headline, “Tuna Pasta Salad” and beneath that, “Lemony Pasta Salad”. We had been eating and drinking pretty well while we were away (hey, we were in Sonoma!) and I wanted to make something light for dinner. I read the ingredients – tuna, lemon juice, Dijon, arugula, tomatoes, canellini beans. I read that Fitness magazine created this entree pasta salad for Starkist. I suppose if Fitness magazine made up the recipe, it must be healthy too, right? Okay. Done. Decision made.

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It was delicious. For dinner that night and even better for lunch at work the next day. So now you’ve got two tuna pasta salads to choose from. Both are yummy. A tried and true traditional one and a slightly updated, more modern one. Either would be great to take to your next potluck or for a nice light summer dinner.

Tuna Pasta Salad (Hadassah version)
INGREDIENTS
2 cups farfalle (bowtie) pasta (or any other smallish pasta – shells, elbows, etc.)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup frozen peas, uncooked
½ cup chopped green onions
2 6-1/2 ounce cans good quality tuna, drained and flaked
¾ cup (appx.) mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup cubed or coarsely shredded cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS
Cook pasta in boiling salted water until “al dente”. When ready to drain the pasta, put the frozen peas in the colander, then pour the hot cooked pasta on top of the peas (this will cook them enough).

In large bowl, toss vegetables and pasta together with tuna. In small bowl, combine honey and mayonnaise; gently stir into salad. Stir in cheese just before serving.

Note: best if made the day before

Tuna Pasta Salad (Starkist version)
INGREDIENTS
8 ounces farfalle (bowtie pasta)
2 6-1/2 ounce cans good quality tuna, drained and flaked
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups tightly packed baby arugula
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 teaspoons grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS
Cook farfalle according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water and drain again.

Drain tuna and transfer to a small bowl. Break into rough chunks, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss gently.

In a large bowl, whisk together lemon zest and juice, remaining oil, garlic, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.

Add farfalle, beans, tomatoes, arugula and onion to bowl; toss well to combine. Add tuna; toss gently. Divide among 4 plates; top each serving with 1 teaspoon Parmesan.

Cheryl’s Chinois Chicken Salad

Leftovers at my desk!  Yum.

Leftovers at my desk! Yum.

Chinese Chicken Salad.  It’s pretty much a staple on just about every restaurant menu and has been since, what, like the mid-1980’s?  And it’s still a favorite.  Wolfgang Puck makes one that he calls Chinois Chicken Salad.  Fancy.  And it’s served at all of his restaurants, from the most high-end like Jai in La Jolla (in fact, I just had one there in December, when Tony and I went to the La Jolla Playhouse to see “Yoshini Battles the Pink Robots” for my birthday) to the Wolfgang Puck Expresses you find at airports.

A co-worker gave me a signed copy of Wolfgang’s Live, Love, Eat cookbook several years ago for a holiday gift exchange and I’ve made the Chinois salad (well, a somewhat revised version) many, many times.  I hadn’t made it for quite a while and was craving one the other night. I pulled the cookbook off the shelf, turned to the page (which is just about falling out of the book, btw, and saw that I had printed out a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe from a 2006 Gourmet magazine and stuck it in there, with lots of notes, combining the best of both recipes.)

It was a delicious, light dinner and the leftovers made for the best yummy lunch at my desk the next day at work.

With all the revisions I’ve made, it’s not so much Wolfgang’s original recipe anymore.  We’ll just call it Cheryl’s Chinois Salad and thank him for the inspiration!

Cheryl’s Chinois Salad

INGREDIENTS

Salad:

6 cups shredded Romaine lettuce (about one 1-lb head)

2 cups shredded Napa cabbage (one smallish head)

1/2 pound snow peas, cut into 1/4″ julienne strips

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

1 cup won ton strips (You can buy won ton strips in most grocery store produce sections, like where the croutons are.  I’ve also on occasion stopped in at our local Chinese restaurant and bought them.  You can make your own, too, either deep frying or baking, though I never have.  Shame on me.  Wolfgang doesn’t even include them in his salad!)

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (black or white, I like a combination of both.  You can find already toasted sesame seeds in the Asian section of most supermarkets, and sometimes black sesame seeds too.)

 Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon dry Chinese or English mustard

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil (also found in the Asian section of most supermarkets)

1/4 cup vegetable or peanut oil

salt & pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Salad:  Gently toss lettuce, cabbage, snow peas, green onion, radish and cilantro in large bowl. Add chicken.  Toss with vinaigrette.  Just before serving, add won ton strips, almonds and sesame seeds and toss again.

Vinaigrette:  Whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, vinegar and mustard in small bowl, then add sesame oil and vegetable (or peanut) oil in a slow stream, whisking until sugar is dissolved and dressing is well combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken Tequila Fettucine

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“Sammy’s answers pasta plea.  By Caroline Dipping.”  That was the title of this article in the San Diego Union-Tribune “Readers Ask” column in January 2005. I’m not sure why it made me laugh, but it did.  Was it the corny title?  Or was it that the food editor’s last name is Dipping?

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At any rate, the reader was asking for the recipe for Chicken Tequila Fettucine from Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza, a favorite San Diego restaurant.  Tony and I really like the food at Sammy’s (though I’ve actually never ordered this pasta).  We always order the Grilled Chicken Balsamic Salad (creatures of habit) and a pizza (we do mix up the pizzas a bit…love the Thai Chicken and New York Style).

Okay, so Caroline Dipping made me laugh and the recipe sounded yummy and I know the food at Sammy’s is good, so I tried it and have made it countless times since.  It’s delicious…the sauce is flavorful and creamy, with a touch of tequila and a little kick from a jalapeño pepper.

And I still chuckle every time I pull out the recipe.

Chicken Tequila Fettuccine

(adapted slightly from Sammy’s via the U-T...the original recipe calls for a couple tablespoons of soy sauce, but I don’t think it needs it.)

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces chicken breast, diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

4 tablespoons butter

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 medium red onion, quartered, sliced

1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded, minced

2 tablespoons tequila

3/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons cilantro leaves (divided use)

Juice from 1 lime

12 ounces cooked spinach fettuccine

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, mix diced chicken with olive oil and minced garlic. Set aside.

Heat a large, heavy saute pan. Add butter and melt. Add the diced garlic chicken, stirring occasionally until well-browned on all sides. Add bell pepper, onion and jalapeño. Continue cooking until vegetables soften.

Add tequila and chicken broth. Cook, reducing the mixture until there is just a little liquid left. Add the heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and the lime juice. Cook until sauce thickens.

Add the cooked and well-drained spinach fettuccine to the cream mixture. Toss until pasta is hot and well-coated. Divide pasta into 2 large bowls and top with remaining cilantro. Serve hot.

(Leftover) Steak Salad with Arugula, Blue Cheese and Steakhouse Mustard Vinaigrette

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We don’t eat a lot of steak, but every once in a while either Tony or I have a craving.  (Tony more often than me.)  And there’s a very good meat market (not that kind of meat market, an actual meat market, with real butchers behind the counter) near us and it is so worth it when you do get the hankering for a steak to splurge and buy from the guys at Iowa Meat Farms.  So the other day we’re having our usual “what do you feel like for dinner” conversation (actually more like texting back and forth while I’m at work) and Tony suggests “how about steak sliders…I could grill one of those Tri-Tips from Iowa Meat Farms.  On a good crusty roll, with horseradish mayo and some of your pickled red onions?”  Sold.  Sometimes the boy does come up with some good ideas.

Which leads me to the Leftover Steak Salad.  We did have some steak left over (weird, right?) and I really wanted to use it in some sort of salad.  I thought about doing a Cobb Salad, but we had just had Cobb Salad (which, btw, will be a post soon), so I searched my favorite weblog (yes, Smitten Kitchen) and there it was.  Skirt Steak Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese with a “steak house vinaigrette” made with Dijon mustard, Worcestershire and red wine vinegar.  Oh yeah.

Really simple (especially if you already have the leftover steak) and really delicious.  And, yes, it’s even worth going to the trouble to grill a steak just to make this salad!

Skirt Steak Salad with Arugula and Blue Cheese

1 pound skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat if necessary, halved crosswise, at room temperature (or whatever leftover steak you have)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
1/2 pound baby arugula
Vinaigrette (below)
3 tablespoons minced chives, 2 thinly sliced scallions or 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, for garnish

Pat steak dry and season on both sides 1/2 teaspoon salt and many grinds of black pepper.

In a cast-iron skillet: Heat skillet on medium-high to high and add olive oil. When oil begins to shimmer, place steak in skillet and do not move it for 5 minutes. Turn it once, and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare. You may need to cook your steak halves separately, depending on the size of your pan.

On a grill: Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal or high heat for gas. Oil grill rack, then grill steak, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, 4 to 6 minutes total for medium-rare.

Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest, loosely covered with foil, for five minutes. Arrange arugula on a large platter. Thinly slice steak on the diagonal, across the grain. Arrange over arugula, then toss halved cherry tomatoes and blue cheese over platter. Add vinaigrette to taste, then sprinkle with chives, scallions or red onion. Serve with additional vinaigrette on the side.

Steakhouse Mustard Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil

Whisk ingredients. Season with salt and pepper and adjust ingredients to taste.

Grilled Artichokes with Parsley and Garlic and Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette

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My new favorite appetizer.  Artichokes grilled and then tossed with some fresh chopped Italian parsley and garlic and served with a creamy champagne vinaigrette for dipping.

We had these at a friend’s house about a month ago (thank you Margo!) and I couldn’t stop eating them.  Like literally could not stop eating them.  They were really delicious. (The rest of the dinner was delicious too…Margo is an amazing cook.  But these artichokes! Mmmm…mmm…mmm!)

Of course, I had to ask where she got the recipe and she said from Food Network’s Giada de Laurentiis.  And then, of course, as soon as I got home, had to Google “Giada grilled artichokes”.  There were actually two recipes that were pretty similar; one called Grilled Artichokes with Parsley and Garlic and the other Grilled Artichokes with Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette.  Aha!  I believe Margo used the one with parsley and then made the vinaigrette dipping sauce.

So that’s exactly what we did when we made these last week. Again, I couldn’t stop eating them. I could make a meal of just these artichokes.  (And I just might!)   I’ll be serving them a LOT this summer!

Grilled Artichokes with Parsley and Garlic and Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette

adapted slightly from two Giada de Laurentiis recipes

INGREDIENTS

6 fresh artichokes

2 lemons halved, plus 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Trim the stem from each artichoke to 1-inch long.  Using kitchen scissors, remove the thorns from the tips of the artichoke leaves. Cut top inch of artichokes with serrated knife. Quarter each artichoke. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the choke and remove the purple, prickly tipped leaves from the center of each wedge.

Place finished artichokes in a large bowl of cold water and squeeze 2 lemons into the water and stir. Continue with remaining artichokes.  Once finished, drain the artichokes and place into boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 12 minutes.

Drain the cooked artichokes and place onto preheated grill. Cook until tender and lightly charred in spots, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, add remaining lemon juice (1/3 cup) parsley, garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Gradually drizzle in olive oil.

Toss the grilled artichokes with the garlic/parsley mixture.  Arrange the artichokes on a platter and serve with champagne vinaigrette alongside for dipping!

Creamy Champagne Vinaigrette

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup crème fraiche

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, whisk together the crème fraiche, olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper until smooth.

Chilaquiles

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A couple of Saturdays ago we had dinner at our friends Chip and Dale’s (yes, you read that right).  Chip had cooked a couple of pork butts on his beloved Kamodo grill (and not a “Big Green Egg” kamado…Chip’s is the authentic kind, made in Mexico) and then shredded the meat for carnitas tacos.  Everything was muy delicioso, as it always is at Chip and Dale’s (stop snickering…those are their names) and, as usual, there was a ton of food and a ton of food left over, so Dale sent us home with our own little stash of shredded pork.

Come Monday, I’m driving home from work and thinking about how much I’m looking forward to making our own carnitas tacos for dinner.  Alas, I open the fridge to discover that someone (who shall remain nameless, but he’s the only other person who lives at this house) had been snacking on the leftover pulled pork.  Slight change of plans.  What shall we make?  And, at this point, I don’t feel like going to the grocery store, so what shall we make using what we have on hand?  Tortilla chips, eggs, cheese, salsa verde, a little sour cream…Chilaquiles!

Chilaquiles (pronounced chee-la-KEE-les) is a traditional Mexican dish, usually eaten for breakfast or brunch, that consists of fried tortilla strips simmered in a red or green salsa.  From there, you find many different variations, with additions such as fried or scrambled eggs, cheese, chiles, shredded chicken or pork, sour cream, onions and cilantro.

I found a recipe that looked interesting and easy at Redbook magazine online.  It’s a baked version and you basically just layer all the ingredients lasagna-style and then put it in the oven for ten minutes.  It was suggested as a way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey.  It was really, really good (and really, really easy).  The guilty leftover-pork-snacking-person just kept saying, “yum” between bites.  We’ll be making this one again… I’ll have to remember it next November!

Note: just made these again.  I skipped the whole first step of simmering the salsa in oil.  No need.  Just put a generous tablespoon of oil in the ovenproof skillet before starting the layering.  

Chilaquiles

(adapted from redbookmag.com)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups green salsa

2 cups leftover cooked turkey (or chicken or pork), shredded

4-6 ounces lightly salted restaurant-style corn tortilla chips

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup jalapeño (or regular) Jack cheese, shredded

2 eggs, fried over-easy or to your liking

1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese (optional)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 425º.  In a small saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium heat.  Add salsa and heat to simmering.

Spray a large, deep ovenproof skillet with cooking spray. Spread half of the salsa on bottom of skillet. Add half of the shredded meat, half of the chips, half of the sour cream, and half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining salsa, meat, chips, sour cream, and cheese to make one more layer.

Bake for about 10 minutes, or until hot and cheese has melted.

While that’s baking, fry your eggs.

Remove chilaquiles from oven and spoon onto individual plates then top with fried egg, crumbled Cotija cheese (if using) and fresh cilantro.

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards

Paillards

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards.  “Qu’est-ce que c’est un paillard?” you ask.  Paillard (pronounced pie-yard) is the French term for a boneless chicken breast or other cut of meat that’s been pounded into broad, thin sheets about 1/4″ thick.

In my post about Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage & Sage Skewers,  I refer to the now coverless Grilling issue of Fine Cooking and say that, in addition to the skewers, we like to make these paillards.  They are delicious, quick and easy and one of our all-time “go-to” recipes.  But one of the things we really like about making paillards is just saying, “paillard”.  And saying it in a very overly exaggerated French accent, with a very heavy emphasis on the “d”.  As in “pie-yar-D(uh).”

I think we’ve had these with just about every salad on the blog.  Just the other night it was the Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad.  Grill a few extra paillards and you’ll have chicken for Fiesta Chicken Salad.

And let me know  if you become compelled to say “pie-yar-D(uh).”

Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each), trimmed and rinsed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
crushed red chile flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, or other fresh herb
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for serving
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling

DIRECTIONS

Lightly wet a chicken breast with cold water and set it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound it into a broad, flat sheet about 1/4-inch thick (called a paillard), using a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, a rolling pin, or a skillet. Pound the other breasts into paillards the same way and arrange them on a baking sheet.

Generously season each paillard on both sides with salt and pepper and a pinch or two of chile flakes. Sprinkle both sides with the garlic and rosemary. Drizzle both sides with the lemon juice and olive oil and pat into the meat with your fingertips.

Refrigerate the paillards for 20 minutes while you prepare the grill.

Heat a gas grill to high or prepare a hot charcoal fire. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Arrange the paillards on the grill grate and grill until cooked and firm to the touch, 1 to 2 minutes per side. (use a long, wide spatula to move and turn the paillards.) Transfer the paillards to a platter or plates. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately with lemon wedges for squeezing.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage and Sage Skewers

Apparently the “Grilling” issue of Fine Cooking magazine caught my eye once while standing in the checkout line at the supermarket and enticed me enough to buy it. There must have been something really delicious on the cover, but I couldn’t tell you what that was because the cover has since been chewed off by one black lab puppy named Lulu.  Anyway, there are a couple of recipes in it that we make all the time.  This is one.  The other is Herbed Grilled Chicken Paillards (and we like that especially because we like saying “paillard” in an overly-exaggerated French accent, with a strong emphasis on the “D”).

One of the secrets to these yummy skewers is the garlic-rosemary infused olive oil that you marinate the chicken in.  You’ll want to make the oil and start marinating at least a couple of hours, or even a whole day, ahead.

These are delicious accompanied by either Apple/Pomegranate/Blue Cheese Salad, Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad or the Urban Solace Watermelon/Cucumber/Tomato Salad.

Tuscan Grilled Chicken, Sausage and Sage Skewers

INGREDIENTS

Rosemary-Garlic Oil

3/4 cup cups extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Skewers

2-1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 7 or 8)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. Rosemary-Garlic Oil (recipe follows)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 lb. Italian sausage links, cut into 2-inch pieces
24 large fresh sage leaves

6-12″ metal skewers OR wooden skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in water for half hour before using).

DIRECTIONS

Rosemary-Garlic Oil

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to bubble steadily, 3 to 4 min. Add the rosemary, remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a clean glass jar or other storage container, cover, and refrigerate. Use within five days.

Skewers

Trim the chicken of excess fat and cut in half (the pieces should be roughly equal in size; if the thighs are large, cut them in thirds or quarters).

Up to a day ahead and at least a couple of hours before serving, toss the chicken in a medium bowl with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the rosemary, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire. Divide the remaining 1/2 cup oil into two small bowls (one for grilling and one for serving).

Alternately thread three pieces of sausage, three pieces of chicken, and four sage leaves onto skewers.

Grill the skewers, covered, until one side is browned and has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with some of the rosemary-garlic oil, flip, and cook the other side until it, too, has good grill marks, about 4 min. Brush with more oil and flip again. Continue cooking, flipping, and brushing with oil until the sausage and chicken are both cooked through (check by slicing into a couple of the thicker pieces), about 10 min. more.

Let cool for a couple of minutes and then arrange on a platter, drizzling with the remaining oil.