Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes

Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes

Ready, sweet tomatoes and a garlicky slammed aubergine purée make this an incredible summer’s night dish

Mackerel must be my preferred fish for cooking outside over an open fire. Its skin crisps flawlessly while underneath the slick substance remains sodden and delicate. The fresher the mackerel, the more sensitive and heavenly its flavor will be, so select fish with decent brilliant eyes and energetic, bright skin.

 

Ingredients

4 good-sized, super-fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs of rosemary
250g large, ripe tomatoes, halved
2 medium aubergines
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
A handful of basil leaves, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

Prepare your fire; you want to be cooking over glowing embers. When the fire is hot, set a grill over it, making sure it’s clean so your fish is less likely to stick to the bars. You’ll know the temperature is right when you can hover your hand above the grill for a maximum of 3 seconds.

Lay the fish on a board and, using a sharp knife, cut several shallow slash marks on both sides. Trickle 1 tbsp olive oil over the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub in, getting right into the slash marks. Place a couple of rosemary sprigs in each fish cavity. Set the fish on the grill. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place, cut side up, next to the fish. Place the aubergines (uncut) on the grill too.

Turn the aubergines every few minutes, to ensure they cook evenly. The fish will take 6–8 minutes on each side, depending on size. Don’t worry if the skin tears; the fish will still taste amazing. Once the mackerel are cooked, remove them from the grill and keep warm. Turn the tomatoes after 10–15 minutes and keep cooking them until they are soft and caramelised, then remove them to a plate.

When the aubergines are soft (this will take about 20 minutes), slit open and scoop the soft flesh out into a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, chilli flakes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix and mash the aubergine with the seasonings.

Divide the aubergine purée between 4 plates. Add the tomatoes and fish and serve.


Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes
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Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes
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Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Watermelon on a salad like what is going on.

I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and erased and replaced with something new because I actually made them and posted them. For whatever reason, this little guy lingered. Another week would pass with no sign of a watermelon chicken salad, but for whatever reason when I’d clean off my board for the week, I really didn’t want to erase the idea just yet. I had this premonition of great things to come.

Speaking of great things.

In the three weeks that “Watermelon Chicken Salad” has been staring me down from the chalkboard, I’ve bought 8 million watermelons with very good intentions, thinking that each of them would be the one I’d use to make some kind of inspired and beautiful salad. But then I discovered this drink instead and every single piece of watermelon since has been doomed for the blender. Or my mouth. Today I ate it for breakfast, which is so weird, but actually not as weird as watermelon in a salad.

And I have a really important question. Why is watermelon like candy? It’s so incredibly good. Juicy, bright, sweet, red… it’s basically large 

 

cubes of all-natural Jolly Ranchers. Have you ever frozen watermelon cubes? <— That. You’re welcome.

So I got a really great bottle of balsamic and starting thinking about salads, and BAM. The inspiration for this salad finally hit and wowzzer. The long wait to actually make this combo happen was totally worth it. Here she is, in all her blue cheese crumbled, rainbow colored, crunchy almond, sweet balsamic glazed glory.

Pinky promise, as I am writing this, I can hear Bjork’s fork + plate clinking together at record speed as he is devouring this in the next room.

The salty blue cheese to me was the thing that tied it all together. You have the sweetness of the watermelon and the balsamic glaze, the savory of the seasoned chicken, the crunch of the almonds, the freshness of the spinach, and then that blue cheese. Oh, the salty, creamy tang that makes my heart go wild. I am making a weird “I LOVE IT” face right now as I’m writing this because I don’t even really know how to describe what I’m trying to say – you get it, though, right? Through computer food osmosis, are we kind of experiencing it together?

Color, crunch, and yum. I want that to be the tagline of my life.

Pretty salad, come to mama.

DESCRIPTION

This Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad has blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, herbed chicken, and a balsamic glaze. Simple and fresh.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I used a spice mix I got at a specialty food store)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach or greens
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the balsamic vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning on both sides and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest for 5 minutes; cut into small cubes.
  3. Layer the spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
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Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
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Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade

Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade

 

 

Grilling is always fun.  We usually have a family barbecue every Sunday.  It’s lots of fun and a great way to catch up with each other after a busy week.  One of the problems I run in to is finding new recipes to grill. (With recent lock downs and quarantines we’ve had to barbecue for those of us in the household, other family members barbecue at their homes to maintain social distancing.  But hopefully soon we can all get together again for this family tradition!)

Sure hot dogs, burgers, and steaks are easy, but every now and then we need a change. That’s why I’m always in search of a new barbecue recipe.  I like to try them out during this weekly family dinner, and if everyone likes it we make it part of our menu.

 

Last month I tried this new marinade, mostly because I had all the ingredients in the pantry.  (Again with the pandemic quarantine we try to keep shopping trips to a minimum).  But also because I love balsamic vinegar, which is the main ingredient to this recipe.  I call it Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade.

The best part about marinades is that it flavors your meat with very little work.  It’s simple, just toss the ingredients together, soak the meat, and let the marinade do the rest of the work!  I marinate my meat in the refrigerator overnight.  The longer is marinates the more flavorful it will be, but you don’t want to marinate it more than a day or so, because when marinated too long the meat starts getting this tough jerky like texture and it may eventually spoil.  If for some reason we don’t use the marinated meat the next day I freeze it, marinade and all.  That way I just thaw it out when we’re ready to grill.

Just before grilling I skewer the beef cubes on bamboo skewers, but you can use metal skewers if you have them.  We do have a bunch of pretty metal skewers we brought home from Turkey one year, but cleaning them after the barbecues is an extra chore I can do without.  When you do use bamboo skewers remember to soak them in water for about 10 – 15 minutes before putting the meat on, it keeps them from burning when you pop them on the grill.

Another helpful tip when grilling is to not over cook the meat.  Grill meat until it is just about done to the way you want it (rare, medium, well).  In short remove it from the grill before it is the desired “doneness”.  Place grilled meat in a covered pot or roasting pan and let rest covered for 5 minutes before serving.  This allows the meat to finish cooking and to release its juices.  Try it out!  You’ll end up with tender juicy meat!  It works for steaks too!

Having said that here’s my recipe for Vinaigrette Marinade!  By the way you can use the same marinade on chicken, lamb, or shrimp.  Just don’t mix the meats, make a separate batch of marinade for each type of meat or seafood.

 Ingredients:

3 Lbs.  Beef Tenderloin cut in 1″ cubes (you can use your favorite beef cut)

1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

2 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Rosemary

1 Tbs. Fresh or Dried Oregano

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1 Large Onions cut into large chunks

1 Large Green Pepper cut into large pieces

1 Basket Mushrooms, washed and patted dry

Directions:

Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag.  Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.

Vinaigrette MarinadeAdd meat cubes to the marinade.  Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.

Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.

 

 

About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and

Vinaigrette Marinademushrooms on skewers.  Alternate meat with veggies.

Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.

Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices.

Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.


Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
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Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
Beef Kabobs in Vinaigrette Marinade
Print Recipe
Tender, juicy, and flavorful grilled meat that's perfect for any cook out.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and seasonings in a large ziplock bag. Seal bag and shake to combine all the ingredients together.
  2. Add meat cubes to the marinade. Seal bag and shake to cover all the meat.
  3. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, for best flavor marinate in the fridge overnight.
  4. About and hour or less before grilling place meat, onions, peppers, and mushrooms on skewers. Alternate meat with veggies.
  5. Grill over medium heat until meat is just about done the way you want it.
  6. Place skewers in a large pot or roasting pan with a lid. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to allow meat to finish cooking and release its juices. Serve hot with rice, potatoes, and other sides.
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Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps.  We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.

Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.
Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.
To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off.  I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.
The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat.  So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe.  We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan.  Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.
My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!
Marinade Ingredients:
1 tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Corriander
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 lb. thin sliced boneless beef short ribs
Extra olive oil for sauteing
Extra spices for taste adjustment (optional)
Pita or Nan bread
Hummus spread (you can use my Sun dried tomato/Roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus you prefer)
Dill pickle spears
Lettuce, tomato, any other veggies you prefer – optional
Directions  for Marinade:
1.  Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
2.  Seal bag and knead until it’s well blended – break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices.  You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
3.  Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
4.  Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
5.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight.  Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade.  The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
Cooking and assembling directions:
1.  Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
2.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
3.  Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
4.  Heat some olive oil in large pan
5.  Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute – DO NOT SKIP this step, it’s what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
6.  If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute.  I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
7.  Spread one side of bread with hummus
8.  Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
9.  Fold sides over the filling and serve
10.  Enjoy!
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Servings Prep Time
6 Wraps 15 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 Minutes 1 Hour
Ingredients
Servings: Wraps
Instructions
  1. Directions for Marinade: Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
  2. Seal bag and knead until it's well blended - break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices. You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
  3. Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
  4. Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight. Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade. The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.
  6. Cooking and assembling directions: Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
  8. Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
  9. Heat some olive oil in large pan
  10. Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute - DO NOT SKIP this step, it's what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
  11. If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute. I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
  12. Spread one side of bread with hummus
  13. Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
  14. Fold sides over the filling and serve
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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken

One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken

Are you looking for something delicious for dinner? Something easy to make and good enough to serve company? Then this One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken is just the thing!

This dish is not only delicious it’s pretty too! The spinach and sun dried tomatoes give this dish a festive look. I serve it with steamed long grain rice or pasta. Oh, and by the way it’s keto friendly, just serve it with zucchini spaghetti!

But the best part about this Creamy Tuscan Chicken is that it’s so easy to make. You really just need one skillet. I use a pretty skillet that can double as the serving dish so clean up’s a breeze!

Here’s the recipe!

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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
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One Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
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Instructions
  1. Generously sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet, add butter to melt
  3. Add onions and sauté until they turn translucent
  4. Add garlic and sauté about one minute, don’t allow garlic to turn brown
  5. Add chicken pieces and cook until done, about 3-4 minutes per side
  6. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside
  7. Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté until they turn soft
  8. Add chicken broth and Italian seasoning
  9. Bring to a boil
  10. Stir in Half and Half and lower heat
  11. Simmer about 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened
  12. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted
  13. Stir in sun dried tomatoes and grated cheese, sauce should be slightly thickened
  14. Place chicken back into skillet and heat over low heat until chicken is hot
  15. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
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