Friday, January 25, 2013

Spicy Southwest Shrimp Cocktail

Check out my post on the Char-Broil Live site. Make some up for your guests, and you dont need the super bowl as an excuse.

If you have limited space but want a great grill - you cant beat this one and its on sale! But if you like bigger discounts use my discount code - you can use it to buy any grill or cooker - C13CG25

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Creative Cooking Crew: VEGAN

I was so pleased to be asked to participate with this fine group of distinguished bloggers in their Creative Cooking Crew  brought to us by Joan and Lazaro - but when the first challenge was VEGAN it made me do a quick little back pedal. Nothing wrong with vegan cooking but if you have been poaching things in fat and butter like I have I needed nothing short of an exorcism and a colonic just to be qualified. Vegans and vegetarians always seem to be the brunt of whats wrong with things nutritionally with their very head strong ideas about what the rest of us should and shouldn't be eating, and if you had as few choices as they have you would be charismatic about your food too.
I often have to make vegan and vegetarian dishes for some of my clients so the idea of it wasnt as scary as I pretend. Anything stacked is sure to make a happy diner so with that in mind I got busy. I made a Two Potato Tofu Napoleon. Purple potatoes, sweet potatoes (yams) firm tofu, and zucchini went into my layers. I simply boiled the potatoes and let them cool before I sliced them thin, the yams were sliced thin raw and sautéed in a hot pan with olive oil until they were soft. The zucchini was flash sautéed in olive oil with a garlic clove and the tofu was dusted with salt and pepper and corn starch and fried until it was a light golden brown
I put some red chile on the plate and made my stack then I drizzled the whole thing with cilantro oil and scattered some black beans, peas and some of the chopped up roasted garlic then I garnished the whole thing with water cress. 
I made a small one for my son and sliced the edges off of his so you could get a good clean look at the layers.
I made a big stack for me, extra layers of extra flavor and packed with nutrients. I love to cook with colors - I hope you try my Two Potato Tofu Napoleon - and dont forget the chile!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Grilled lamb skewers with watermelon and mango

When Kitchen Play invited me to participate in this watermelon event I was as excited as all get out - that is until I sat down and really thought about it. My first reaction was "yay watermelon"  followed by that blankness that you feel on a hot summer day lounging by the pool or beach or lake without a care in the world. Then it hit me. This is December, where am I going to find watermelon this time of year? Well that was no problem since watermelon is everywhere all the time. Most people overlook watermelon in the winter months, but it is available year-round, typically as a mini-watermelon or in the pre-cut section of your produce aisle. Loaded with vitamins A, B6 and C, watermelon is a healthy choice any time of year. "Fill Up Without Filling Out." Watermelon is 92% water, so you can feel good about filling up, as it hydrates while satiating your appetite. Then it hit me again. I was asked to do an entree. 

As you look over this lovely tropical salsa you can imagine that my head was spinning with absolutely no thoughts what so ever - remember I was in that blissfull blankness that you feel on a hot summer day. So I set out to make the salsa.

Tropical Watermelon Salsa

1 large ripe plantain
1 ripe mango
1 large wedge of watermelon
10 grape tomatoes
2 scallions
1 jalapeño chile
1 serrano chile
1 anaheim chile
1 yellow hot
1 sweet cherry pepper
3 tablespoons fresh chopped coconut
juice from one lime
juice from one meyer lemon
salt and pepper to taste


Dice everything and toss in a bowl with the citrus juices and salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for 15 minutes to lightly macerate. 

With the salsa done, its time to move on to the main dish. Now I know I said my mind was blank but as I was buying the ingredients I remembered that all watermelon needs to grow is water, sunshine and bees and don't ask me how but it suddenly hit me to do skewers of lamb, watermelon and mango. Thankfully my mind was only blank for those few minutes at home and not while I was out sourcing my components.

Grilled Lamb Skewers with Watermelon and Mango and Watermelon Gastrique
Serves 4

1 pound of blade lamb chops cut into 16 uniform cubes
16 uniform cubes of watermelon
16 cubes of mango
Dash of cumin
Salt and Pepper


2 cups of watermelon juice (watermelon in the blender and pureed till liquid)
splash of red wine
splash of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of honey

Reduce in a sauce pan until reduced by half.


Soak your wooden skewers.
Mix the salt, pepper and cumin together and sprinkle over the lamb - let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Assemble the skewers alternating a cube of watermelon then lamb then mango then watermelon then lamb then mango so that each skewer has two pieces of each item. Make 8 skewers.

On a hot grill pan or hot grill sear each side for 3 minutes each for medium rare lamb.

Place some of your tropical salsa on a plate, place two skewers on top of the salsa and drizzle your gastrique over the grilled items. Enjoy

A complex dish that is easy to prepare. You will wow your guests, yourself and even your in-laws and dont worry you will maintain that summer blissfull blankness with each and every bite.

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