Weekly Winner: A Grill-icious Dinner Duo

GrilliciousI love it when a plan comes together.  Every once in a while it seems like all the stars align to create a perfect dinner combination.  And when almost all of said dinner is prepared on the grill — even better!  A delicious dinner with practically no clean up, that’s what I’m talking about!

These potatoes I have made for years and they never disappoint.  The chicken however was a new recipe.  I definitely was not familiar with gochujang and when I first tasted it out of the bottle I was a bit concerned.  This is seriously spicy stuff!  However, once combined with the buttermilk, it really wasn’t that hot.  Just nice and zippy but definitely not blow-your-head-off.  But it was the combination of the sweet potatoes and the chicken that was spectacular.  Keep your kitchen cool and prepare this delicious — make that “grillicious” — dinner.  The chicken recipe comes from Southern Living Magazine and the potatoes come from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

Korean Buttermilk Chicken Kabobs

Serves 6

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups buttermilk

1 bottle (10 oz) bottle gochujang (Korean chili paste)

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 lb skinned and boned chicken thighs, cut into 2-in pieces

3 lemons

Vegetable cooking spray

1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves (I definitely left this out)

Procedure

  1. Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large shallow dish or zip-top plastic freezer bag.  Add chicken, turning to coat.  Cover or seal, and chill 1 to 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes – unnecessary if using metal skewers.  Cut each lemon into 8 wedges
  3. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray.  Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees (medium-high) heat.  Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.  Thread chicken and lemon wedges alternately onto skewers, leaving 1/8 inch space between pieces.
  4. Grill kabobs, covered with grill lid, 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until chicken is done.

Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Scallions

  1. Heat grill to medium.  Peel 3 sweet potatoes and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Toss potatoes in a large bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Grill potatoes, turning frequently, until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 20-30 minutes.
  3. Return grilled potatoes to bowl; add 2 tablespoons butter, and break potatoes into large pieces with the side of a spoon.  Toss in 2 thinly sliced scallions, and serve.
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Weekly Winner: Perfectly Peas-y Pantry Purge Pasta

20140615-112316-40996670.jpgOK, enough alliteration, but some are just too obvious to ignore.  So Friday came around and it was time for our Friday night pasta dinner.  The only problem?  I’d been busy and hadn’t made it to the grocery store.  Time to start digging around the fridge and pantry and see what was there and what kind of recipe I had that either needed testing or that matched the ingredients I had on hand.  As it turned out — I found a recipe that met both requirements!  Bonus!  I had to make two tweaks — first, I didn’t have quite enough pine nuts but I dearly love walnuts so simply added some of those, and I think for the first time in about a year, I did not have a lemon anywhere to be found in the house.  I substituted a splash of champagne vinegar but think the lemon zest would have been fabulous in it.

The recipe is for Ricotta and Pea Pasta and it comes from Sunset Magazine.  It was fabulously fresh tasting but just a bit decadent thanks to the ricotta.  This will be a definite hit for any pea-lover out there.  I know a few and I bet you do too!

Ricotta and Pea Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. kosher salt

1 lb tube pasta, such as ziti

1 garlic clove

1/3 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley

2-1/2 cups thawed frozen peas, divided

15 oz (1-1/2 cups) ricotta cheese

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3/4 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup finely shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Procedure:

  1. Bring a large pot of water with 1 Tbsp salt to a boil.  Add pasta and boil until tender, 7 to 9 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, whirl garlic and parsley in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add 1-1/2 cups peas, the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, 4 Tbsp oil, remaining 2 tsp salt, and the pepper.  Pulse to a coarse puree.
  3. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water.  Drain pasta and return to pot.  Immediately add ricotta-pea puree and remaining 1 cup peas and stir until well mixed.  Add a little pasta cooking water, if necessary, to loosen sauce
  4. Divide among 4 bowls.  Sprinkle each with pine nuts and parmigiano, and drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil.

 

Weekly Winner: One Sensational Skirt Steak

skirt steakI dearly love skirt steak.  It is one of my all-time favorite cuts of steak.  I make a lot of skirt steak, not only for me and my husband, but also for my clients.  All around it’s a fan favorite.  I’ve made skirt steak numerous different ways — grilled, sautéed, broiled, and stir-fried.  It’s always good and the meat is always flavorful.  That’s what I like most about the cut.  It tastes like meat.  No matter how you season it, whether it has a marinade or a finishing sauce, the end product is juicy, steaky, meaty goodness.

Having said all that and sang all those praises to the glorious skirt steak, let it be said that I have never made a better skirt steak than I did this past Sunday.  This recipe surpassed all others. Truth be told, it was the relish that initially caught my eye.  I thought it sounded interesting and would make a nice addition to skirt steak which I knew would be fabulous.  The relish was delicious. It was really good.  But honestly, it was all about the steak – with or without the relish.

The recipe is Coffee and Ancho Chile Skirt Steak with Green Chile-Apple Relish and comes from Sunset Magazine.  I will definitely be making this again and I am anxious to try the rub on other cuts of steak as well.  There is something about the coffee, ancho and brown sugar mixture that totally amps up the beefiness without overpowering it.  It still tastes like steak … only better!

Coffee and Ancho Chile Skirt Steak with Green Chile-Apple Relish

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon finely ground coffee

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

2 tsp. kosher salt

1½ teaspoons packed light or dark brown sugar

1 skirt steak (1½ to 2 lbs.)

¼ pound mild green chiles, such as Anaheim or poblano, cut in half and seeded

½ tart apple, such as Granny Smith, quartered and cored

½ small onion, cut into thick slices

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Pepper

½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

½ teaspoon lime juice

Method:

1. Heat a grill to medium-high (350° to 450°). In a small bowl, combine coffee, chile powder, 2 tsp. salt, and the brown sugar. Rub all over steak and let sit. Rub green chiles, apple, and onion with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Grill steak, turning once (dry rub on meat will be very dark), 8 to 10 minutes total for medium-rare. Meanwhile, grill chiles, apple, and onion until lightly charred all over, 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Transfer everything to a cutting board, tent steak with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop chiles, apple, and onion and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in oregano and lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Thinly slice steak against the grain and top with chile-apple relish.