One of my favorite salads of all time, the Caesar Salad. If you have ordered one in a restaurant, it is one of those dishes that the chef walks up with the cart and makes a show of the preparation. It is a wonderful thing to see. The magic of this dish is the flavor complexity accomplished with the ingredient’s simplicity.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
Many people mistakingly believe that this salad was invented in the Caesar Palace. This common misconception is wrong. It was invented by an Italian-Mexican in Tijuana named Caesar Cardini. Another topic of debate surrounding this dish is one is the use of anchovies. The original recipes contained no anchovies according to its creator. For my preference I can go either way, depending if I want a stronger taste or a much lighter taste. It is customary to serve the romaine lettuce leaves whole, because originally the dish was meant to be served as bar finger food. The addition of grilled chicken is one of those variations that work very well with the dish.
For Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
2 Chicken Breast
1 Teaspoon Oregano
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4 Anchovies (optional)
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen hammer. Marinate the chicken breast with a dash of salt, a dash pepper, and oregano. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Cook in a frying pan on high heat until golden brown on one side. Turn over, and cook until the other side is golden brown. Cover in aluminum foil and let them rest. In a bowl mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until you form a uniform paste. If you are going to add the optional anchovies, blend into the paste at this moment. Add the juice of 2 limes, an egg and the worcestershire sauce. Mix. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until the caesar dressing is emulsified. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the heads of lettuce. Shred the lettuce into small 1 inch pieces. Add the lettuce to the plate. Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of caesar dressing per plate. Add the chicken pieces. Grate parmesan cheese over the salad. Add the croutons. Optional – you can leave the lettuce leaves intact and serve them as finger foods.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese could be quite simply Italy’s best know pasta dish. What is interesting about this is that this dish does not exist in Italy, since it is an American creation. In Bologna, you will find that they serve Ragu alla Bolognese, which resembles the meat sauce, but they will never serve over spaghetti. They will only serve it tagliatelle, which is a thicker pasta that is simillar to fetuccine.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese
As with the Americanization of many other favorite foods, this is a recipe that I have enjoyed since I was young. For me it doesn’t matter if they do not serve it in Italy, and even if the original idea has been changed around it still makes for a wonderful dish. I usually do not like to take shortcuts in my recipes, but for this one I will make an exception. I will use ready made spaghetti sauce. Since we are already breaking with the Bolognese tradition, lets Americanize this with full force. It also saves like 3 to 4 hours in making a real ragu. So in keeping with a new tradition, please enjoy my recipe for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.
For Spaghetti alla Bolognese
8 Ounces of Spaghetti pasta
1/2 Pound of Ground Beef
1 Cup of Spaghetti Sauce (Ragu brand is the one I use)
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram
1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta an cook for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta n a colander. While the pasta was cooking, add the olive oil to a 12 inch frying pan and set to medium heat. Dice the onion in a 1/4 inch dice. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is brown, and the onions are semi transparent. Add the oregano, marjoram, salt, and black pepper and let it cook for 30 seconds and longer and you will burn the spices. Add the spaghetti sauces and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the sauce reduces a little. Serve the pasta in the plates, and top with the cooked spaghetti sauce. Garnish with as much grated parmesan as you like. Optional – Some people like to salt the water in which the pasta cooks, since it gives a better flavor and reduces the time water requires to boil. If you want to salt the water add 2 Tablespoons of salt to the stock pot water before adding the pasta to cook.
A great accompaniment to any dish, beans have been regarded a staple in our everyday cooking. If cooked properly, beans can also be a main course. Baked beans is a curious name for the dish, because most baked beans are simmered in low heat, and are not baked. The name comes from the frontier days, where they were left in a dutch oven for several hours to cook slowly over a fireplace. Before the fast food restaurants, baked beans were the original fast food for early settlers.
Nutrition-wise, Baked beans are great source of many essential nutrients and vitamins. They are a good source of protein, and are naturally low fat. They have very high amounts of phosphorous, fiber, and folic acid. There is always a discussion that if you cook beans with salt, they will not soften. I believe this to be false. I hope you enjoy my recipe for Baked Beans.
For Baked Beans
2 Cups of Pinto or Navy Beans
3/4 Cups of Chopped Carrots
1/2 Cups of Diced Onion
1/2 Cup of Celery
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Salt
Leave the beans soaking in a large pot filled with 6 cups water overnight. Remove anything that floats. Drain. Add the chicken broth to the stock pot, and add the beans. Bring to a boil. After it is boiling adjust the temperature to a simmer. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and the salt. Cook for 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Grind black pepper, and add more salt if needed.
When its summer time, you want to be outside. You want food that tastes refreshing and that does not weigh you down. Today I am making Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese. It is a very refreshing salad, with a strong blend of flavors from the cheese, onion and garlic.
Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese
This is a simple dish to do, and I cant be created in at very short notice. The cheese I am using is a Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese, which should not be confused with Feta Cheese. It has a cream like consistency with an acidic taste. This balances all the flavors out , just like in my Apple Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.
For the Salad
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
10 Cherry Tomatos
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 Cup of Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup of Salad Dressing
Wash the lettuce. Cut into small Pieces. Serve directly in the plates. Peel and slice half a cucumber. Layer the cucumber over the lettuce. Dice 1/4 of red onions. Add over the cucumbers. Cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half. Add over the onions. Add the Kalamata Olives and the Goat’s Milk Cheese. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of the salad dressing per plate.
For the Salad Dressing
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons of Oregano
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
Finely mince the cloves of garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and black pepper to a small mix bowl. Mix until you have incorporated all the ingredients. Add kosher salt according to your taste.
Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor cooking. One of my favorite recipes is a good old fashioned hamburger. Today there is a large variety of toppings and condiments that are placed over a hamburger. I like to experiment with new flavors, but sometimes I preffer something that brings me back home. It is easy to forget the genius and simplicity of a regular hamburger. Buns, beef, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, it needs nothing more.
Old Fashion Hamburger
When people share their hamburger recipes, I am amazed at how many ingredients they use to prepare the meat. After trying several recipes, I settled with the simplest one. Based on my cooking experiments, the best prepared hamburger meat only requires two ingredients, black pepper and kosher salt. When I share my recipe nobody believes it is that simple. One thing I have noticed over several years of cooking is that some of the best recipes require the least amount of ingredients. One thing is for sure, a grilled hamburger taste better than anything cooked in a pan.
For Old Fashioned Hamburgers
1 1/2 Lbs Gorund Beef
4-6 Hamburger Buns
American Cheese Slices
Divide the meat into 4 or 6 pieces depending on the size you want for your hamburgers. Form the hamburger patties trying to press the meat the less than you can. Season the patties liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the meat on the grill for 2 1/2 minutes on each side. If you don’t have a grill you can pan fry them until the meat crust has formed and is brown on each side. Place the meat on the bottom part of the buns, and add the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and the top part of the bun. Condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise can be added by the guests. Variations – You can add bacon, onions or pickles.
Every time I have this chowder, I am reminded of the ocean. Clam Chowder has silky taste of the cream blended with the potatoes that is accentuated by the salty sea flavor of the clams. When I make this chowder my whole kitchen smells like I am just blocks away from the beach.
New England Clam Chowder
New England Clam Chowder is probably the world’s most recognized chowder. Chowders are usually considered soups. This is because commercial chowders you buy in restaurants are thin, flavorless and laking all heartiness. I believe that chowders are much more than a soup, a chowder is a complete meal. A homemade hearty clam chowder can be served as the main course and none of my guests will leave with an empty stomach.
For New England Clam Chowder
4 Lbs Small Cherrystone Clams
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Large Potatoes
5 Strips of Bacon
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Teaspoon of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cups of Cream
2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper
Wash the clams from dirt and mud. In a steamer, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the clams to the steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the clams. The water will now contain clam juice. Reserver the clam juice for later. Remove the meat from the clams, discarding any unopened clams. Dice the bacon in a 1/4 inch die. Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp and brown. Meanwhile, dice the onion into a 1/2 inch die. Cut the celery into 1/4 inch pieces. Remove all the fat from the cooking of the bacon and butter only leaving 1 Tablespoon. Add the onions and celery with the bacon, and cook until the onions are transparent. Peel the potatoes. Dice the potatoes into a 1/2 die. Add the clam juice, potatoes, thyme and the bay leaf. Cook for 10 on boiling or until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Dice the clam meat. Add the cream and diced clam meat into the pot. Add the black pepper. Let it cool down and serve with garnish of celery and croutons.
Well it is Sushi Friday again, so I have a wonderful dish filled with Japanese flavor. This time I have a soy sauce and ginger marinated salmon with a tartar sauce. You can serve this with a side order of sushi rice.
Soy Ginger Salmon
This dish is combines the delicate flavors of the salmon, with the salty of the soy and the sweetness of the ginger and mirin. It is a simple dish that can be made in short notice. The dish will surprise your guests as it appears that you spent a lot of time in the kitchen. It is sushi friday, so enjoy the start of your weekend with this dish.
For Soy Ginger Salmon
1 1/2 Lb of salmon
1 Cup soy sauce
1/2 Cup of mirin
1 Tablespoon of sugar
2 Tablespoons of pickled ginger
1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of shichimi togareshi
1 teaspoon of coarse grind pepper
1/4 Cup tartar sauce
To make the marinade, add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugar to a small tray. Mix all the ingredients. Cut the salmon into 4 to 6 pieces. Place salmon skin down on the marinade. Add the ginger, garlic, and shichimi togareshi over the salmon pieces. Sprinkle with the coarse grind pepper. Add a few tablespoons of marinade over the salmon. Let the salmon stand in the marinade for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Add the salmon to a baking sheet. Place one spoonful of tartar sauce over each salmon steak. Cook the salmon for 20 minutes. Let the salmon cool down before serving.
Gyros are a very delicious food that has meat, onions, tomatoes all topped with Tzatziki Sauce. The meat is placed on a vertical spit and it is rotated in front of a fire rack. Where I live there are not many places were you can get a good gyro, so I had to learn how to make my own. It turns out it is not that hard to do once you know how to season the meat. You can even make it in your oven, since most of you will not have a spit or a rotisserie.
My brother ate gyros yesterday, and he asked me If I had a good recipe. “Of course!”, I said. Here you have my family approved gyros recipe.
For Greek Gyros
1Lb Lean Ground Beef, Ground Pork or Ground Lamb
1 Large Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 TableSpoon Oregano
1/2 TableSpoon Marjoram
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
Chop the half of the onion and the garlic in a food processor. Add the meat, oregano, marjoram, black pepper, and the salt and and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Form a square shape with the meat and place in a ovenproof glassware. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cook the meat in the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the meat over and cook for 10 minutes more or until the meat is browned. Cut the meat into 1/4 inch thick strips. Dice the remaining half of the onion. Dice the tomato. Peel the cucumber and slice in half. Slice into thin strips one half of the cucumber. Place about 6 slices of cucumber over the pita bread. Add several strips of cooked meat. Add a several spoonful of diced tomatoes and diced onion. Cover with two o three tablespoons of tzatziki sauce. Fold the pita bread into a roll and wrap in aluminum foil. Edit — I recently tried this recipe with ground pork, and I think it tastes better than ground beef.
For Tzatziki Sauce
1 Cup Unsweetened Plain Yougurt
1/2 Cup Dice Cucumber
2 TableSpoons Sweet Pickles Relish (optional)
1 TableSpoon Fresh Dill
1 TableSpoon Fresh Mint
1 Dash Garlic Powder
1 Dash Salt
Add the yogurt to a mixing bowl. Core the remaining half of the cucumber. Dice the cucumber and add to the bowl. Finely mince the dill and the mint. Add the relish, dill, mint, and garlic powder into the bowl. Mix all the ingredients. Salt according to taste. The sauce tastes better when you let it rest. This lets the ingredient flavors blend.