Grilled Artichokes with Mint and Chiles

Another winner from Mario Batali Italian Grill!!

I've been finding recipes online but I think I'm going to have to check this book out at the library and try a few more recipes. If there's more success I'll add it to my collection.

My cookbook collection isn't large. It used to be. Or I thought it was until I learned there are people on the CL boards that have thousands of cookbooks. I thinned mine a few years ago when I realized I hadn't used a lot of them.

I decided before I buy a new cookbook I would check it out at the library first and try as many recipes as possible. If most of the recipes are great or if I check the book out more than once I either buy it or put it on my wish list. I get Amazon gift certificates at work on a regular basis and that is my cookbook budget.

Back to the artichokes.

I had all the ingredients on hand because I intended to make this earlier in the week. In my opinion artichokes are a PITA to prepare but the payoff is worth it. The heart is my favorite part and I always save it for last.

The chicken on the plate isn't interesting. It's just a boneless skinless breast I marinated in my home made vinaigrette and grilled.

The artichoke would be the perfect compliment to a steak!


Grilled Artichokes with Mint and Chiles

- serves 6 -
Adapted from Mario Batali Italian Grill by Mario Batali

6 large artichokes, preferably with stems
2 lemons, halved
1 bunch mint, chopped, stems and all, plus about 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves cut into chiffonade (thin slivers)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 4 red jalapeños, diced or thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt

1. Fill a large bowl with about 6 cups of water and add the juice of 1 1/2 of the lemons; add the 3 lemon halves too. Snap off the tough outer leaves from one artichoke until you come to the leaves that are pale yellow toward the bottom. Cut off the top 1 inch of the leaves. As you work, rub the cut surfaces with the remaining lemon half. Trim off the bottom of the stem and, using a paring knife, trim away the tough outer layer from the stem. Trim any dark green parts from the bottom of the artichoke. Halve the artichoke lengthwise and, using a grapefruit spoon or small sharp spoon, remove the fuzzy choke. Pull out the small purple inner leaves. Put the trimmed artichoke in the bowl of lemon water, and repeat with the remaining artichokes.

2. Combine the chopped mint, garlic, olive oil, and wine in a large pot. Add the artichokes and the lemon water, along with the lemon shells, then add more water if necessary to cover the artichokes. Put a pan lid on top of the artichokes to keep them submerged and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until just tender, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. Drain and allow to cool.

3. Preheat a gas grill or prepare a fire in a charcoal grill.

4. Place the artichokes cut side down over the hottest part of the grill and cook, unmoved, for 3 to 5 minutes, until nicely charred. Turn and cook for 5 minutes more, or until golden brown on the second side.

5. Place the artichokes on a platter and strew with the remaining mint and the jalepenos. Serve with a bowl of coarse salt.

Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata-Italy

I really wanted to do grilled artichokes with this but when I went to fire up my grill the flint was broken. Wah! Grill repairman comes Friday.

So I did this on my cast iron grill pan which filled the house with smoke but the end result was great! Be sure and scrape up any little charred bits. They're tasty!!

I made 2 mistakes-neither one ruined the dish:

-I forgot to put the parsley in the bread crumb mixture so I sprinkled it on the final dish.

-I missed the part of the recipe where the oil was supposed to sit overnight. Mine sat for a hour and I just skimmed some off with a spoon. I imagine my leftovers will be better.


Chicken Thighs with Snap Peas and Agliata

- makes 6 servings -
Adapted from Mario Batali Italian Grill by Mario Batali.

12 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 salt-packed anchovies, filleted, rinsed, and patted dry, or 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 shallots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 pound snap peas, blanched in boiling water just until bright green, chilled in an ice bath, and drained
Olio Piccante for drizzling

1. Combine the garlic, 1/2 cup of the oil, the anchovies, parsley, and bread crumbs in a food processor and zap until smoothish.

2. Put the chicken thighs in a large bowl and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture, turning to coat well. Arrange in a single layer on a platter and put in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for indirect grilling.

4. Place the chicken thighs skinned side up on the cooler part of the grill, cover the grill, and grill, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes per side.

5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and anchovy paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the snap peas and cook, stirring, just until heated through. Transfer the snap peas to a platter and set aside.

6. Arrange the thighs on top of the snap peas and serve with a drizzle of olio piccante.

Olio Piccante

- makes about 1 1/2 cups -

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
5 jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1. In a small saucepan, combine the oil, jalapeños, pepper flakes, and paprika and bring to just a simmer over medium heat.

2. Pour the oil (and all the flavorings) into a heatproof bowl and let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.

3. Strain the oil and keep refrigerated until ready to use. It can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar for up to 10 days—no longer.

Sesame Soba Noodles with Cucumber, Bok Choy, and Mixed Greens

I have a lot of odds and ends in the fridge so I was searching for recipes where I would only have to buy one to two ingredients. I came across this and I only had to buy baby bok choy. Score!

And this was a jackpot in more ways than one as I think it's pretty healthy(or at least wholesome), quick, easy and tastes fantabulous. I love soba noodles with a good peanut sauce and this one has just the right amount of tang and heat.

Try this. You won't be sorry!

I made the recipe as is.


Sesame Soba Noodles with Cucumber, Bok Choy, and Mixed Greens

Bon Appetit June 2008

Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon finely grated orange peel
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper, divided
1/3 cup canola oil
8 ounces soba noodles
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
3 cups (loosely packed) mixed baby greens
2 heads of baby bok choy, cored, thinly sliced crosswise
1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into matchstick-size strips
3 green onions, cut into matchstick-size strips
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
Salted roasted peanuts

Puree first 9 ingredients and 1 teaspoon red pepper in blender until smooth. With machine running, gradually add canola oil through opening in lid. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Cook soba noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well. Using kitchen shears, cut noodles crosswise in 2 to 3 places. Drizzle noodles in strainer with sesame oil and toss to coat.

Place greens, bok choy, cucumber, green onions, chopped cilantro, and mint in large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon red pepper, dressing, and noodles; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and peanuts and serve.

Salad Days; Grilled Asian Flank Steak With Sweet Slaw, Grilled Chicken and Romaine with Caper Dressing, and Nicoise Salad

Summer to me means lots and lots of salads. It gets so darn hot I absolutely hate turning on the oven.

We painted walls over the weekend so the air wasn't on. I discovered my breaking point is 105 degrees. Today it was 110. It seems to early in the year for this and Mother Nature must agree as it's going to be back down in the 70's on Thursday. Go figure.

Today I have three salads, two I've never made before and one old favorite. What's great about these is that I usually have most if not all the ingredients on hand.

Salad #1 is Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Sweet Slaw from the June 2008 issue of Bon Appetit.

This was excellent although I must have had a turbo charged jalepeno. It was green since Fry's didn't have red. When I cut it open I could tell it would be strong so I used one half of one jalepeno seeded. The dressing was still a little too spicy and I am not a wimp to spice.

I also like that this is incredibly easy and you can chop the veggies and prep the dressing while the steak is marinating.


Grilled Asian Flank Steak with Sweet Slaw

1/4 cup soy sauce
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 1 1/2-pound flank steak
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 red jalapeños, thinly sliced into rounds
5 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 9 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped green onions, divided

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Mix soy sauce, oil, 3 teaspoons ginger, and garlic in resealable plastic bag. Add flank steak and seal bag; turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Stir sugar and vinegar in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves; remove from heat. Add jalapeños and remaining 2 teaspoons ginger. Place cabbage and 1/2 cup green onions in medium bowl.

Pour vinegar mixture over and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand while grilling steak, tossing occasionally.

Grill steak until cooked to desired doneness, about 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer to work surface. Let rest 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly against grain. Sprinkle 1/4 cup green onions over slaw.


The following night I made Grilled Chicken and Romaine with Caper Dressing. I love grilled radicchio and was intrigued by the grilled romaine. I would say this is a salad that is good but needs some tweaking. I liked the grilled lettuce and the dressing is very similar to my standard home made vinaigrette but it needed more veggies. Grilled veggies!


Grilled Chicken and Romaine with Caper Dressing Bon Appetit, March 2008

3 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise, core left intact
Shaved Manchego or Parmesan cheese

Preheat barbecue (medium-high heat). Puree vinegar and next 4 ingredients in small processor until almost smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Combine chicken and 1/4 cup dressing in medium bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes. Place romaine, cut side up, on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1/4 cup dressing; turn to coat. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Grill romaine until charred and slightly wilted on all sides, about 2 minutes.

Transfer 1 chicken breast and 1 romaine spear to each of 4 plates. Drizzle chicken with remaining dressing, sprinkle generously with cheese, and serve.

And finally we come to the classic Nicoise Salad which I've been making from memory for quite some time. The best Nicoise salad I ever had was in Nice of course. Mine will never be as good but that's ok.

And yes I know I have to turn on the oven for this one but it's worth it!


Unfortunately I don't measure when I make this. I just eyeball it until it looks right. Generally I use one egg, one small red potato and one 3 oz can of water packed tuna and a tablespoon of dressing per salad.

I use my basic vinaigrette dressing which is 1/4 cup olive oil and 3 tbs white wine vinegar whirled in a blender to emulsify. I then add some rough chopped shallot and dijon mustard, salt and pepper and whirl again, adjusting ingredients to taste. I keep this in a jar in my pantry.

For the salad make sure you have a hard boiled egg. You can also roast the green beans and red potato ahead of time. Just toss with olive oil salt and pepper and roast at 450. I start the potato first then turn at about 8 minutes, add the beans to the pan and roast another 8 minutes or so.

The salad consists of greens (I use romaine or whatever other greens are in the fridge), chopped hard cooked egg, canned tuna, capers, kalamata olives, and the roasted green beans and potato.

Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding

A friend of mine commented on the lack of desserts on this blog. The reason is that I'm one of those weird people without a sweet tooth. I have a salt tooth, a spice tooth and even a garlic tooth but dessert just doesn't entice me.

I made this pudding for the first time a couple of years ago for a work poutluck and my coworkers have requested it for every potluck ever since. I don't mind. It's easy and I never take home leftovers. It's always a hit.

This is also the only Paula Deen recipe I have ever made. Which is probably why, after having blood work done last week, the doctor told me my blood pressure, cholesterol and gluclose levels are all perfect. Paula's recipes tend to scare me. I once saw her fry butter. Yes fried butter. My arteries clogged at the mere thought.


Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5-ounce) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping thawed, or equal amount sweetened whipped cream (Cool Whip and their store brand equivalents only come in 8 and 16 oz containers. I bought a 16 and eyeballed it.)

Line the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer.

Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth.

Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended.

Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover with the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve

Cheese-Gilded Linguine with Smoky Tomatoes-Naples

The words "cheese gilded" sounded like heaven to me when I was reading The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. This is not as decadent as it sounds and makes a great Sunday afternoon dinner. I'd serve it as an informal meal to company.


Cheese-Gilded Linguine with Smoky Tomatoes

Serves 4 as a main dish

15 minutes pre time; 20 minutes stove time.
The sauce can be made 1 hour before serving.

You can buck up the personality of a bowl of pasta by merely switching the order of how grated cheese and tomato sauce are blended with the noodles. Bring in smoky flavors and a snap of chile, and you have a modern improvisation.

This cheese trick comes from Naples, where cooks make simple tomato-sauced pastas more substantial by tossing the pasta first with the grated cheese, then with the sauce.

* 5 quarts salted water in a 6-quart pot
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 6 thick slices bacon, sliced into 1/4-inch-wide sticks
* 1 medium to large onion, chopped into 1/4-inch dice
* Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
* 5 large garlic cloves, minced
* 2-1/2 to 3 pounds delicious ripe tomatoes, cored and fine chopped (do not peel or seed); or one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with their liquid, plus one 14-ounce can, drained(I used one can whole and one can chopped)
* 1 pound imported linguine
* 1 generous cup fresh-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for the table

1. Bring the salted water to a boil.

2. Lightly film a straight-sided 12-inch saute pan with oil, add the bacon, and set over medium-high heat. Saute until the bacon is golden. Remove it with a slotted spoon, setting it on paper towels to drain. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.

3. Return the pan to the heat, and stir in the onions, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Reduce the heat to medium. Sauté until the onions soften and start to color, 5 to 8 minutes.

4. Blend in the garlic, cooking for 1 minute, and then add the tomatoes. If using canned ones, crush them as they go into the pan. Stir in the cooked bacon. Bring the sauce to a lively bubble and cook until it is thick, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring to keep it from sticking. Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning, and cover the pan. The sauce can wait on the stovetop for up to an hour. Bring it to a bubble before adding it to the pasta.

5. Drop the pasta into the boiling water, and cook until it is tender but still a little firm to the bite. Drain, and turn it into a serving bowl. Toss with the 1 cup cheese until it clings to the noodles, then toss with the sauce. Serve hot, with additional cheese at the table if desired.

Warm White Bean Salad with Fragrant Garlic and Rosemary. And my new free kitchen gadget!

I just got a new fantabulous cookbook, The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift. I'm a faithful Splendid Table pocast listener and a fan of Lynne's other cookbooks.

This one is chock full of anecdotes, quotes, and tip including the one I adopted tonight-the garlic rock.

Sally prefers to smash garlic with a rock rather than the edge of a knife and I'll admit a rock does a pretty good job. I found mine in my front yard. It has a really nice flat edge. I plan on using it a lot!

My garlic rock.


On to the recipe...

This was quick and very good. With the bread it made a great light meal.

I used Great Northern beans but if I do it again I'll use cannellini as I prefer them. She says NOT to use any thicker skinned beans as they won't absorb the flavor as well. Also do not stir the beans as they will break apart. Instead fold them gently with a spatula.


Warm White Bean Salad with Fragrant Garlic and Rosemary


1/2 slice of coarse whole grain bead course ground in a food processor(about 2 heaping tablespoons)

3 tbs fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper


5 large garlic cloves crushed with 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tight packed tbs fresh rosemary coarse chopped
2 15 oz cans organic cannellini or Great Northern beans drained and rinsed
Large handful of salad greens (I used baby greens)

In a dry skillet toast the crumbs till brown. Transfer to a small bowl and add the Parmigiano cheese and pepper when cool.

In the same pan slowly warm the garlic in the olive oil over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the rosemary, blending for another minute or so.

Raise the heat to medium, add the beans and fold them gently so they don't break apart until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the greens and fold until slightly wilted, 30 seconds to one minute.

Turn into a serving bowl and top with the crumb mixture and salt and pepper.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

I found this recipe on Epicurious under "Healthy Recipes" while looking for something else. I can't even tell you what that other dish was as this one has occupied my brain.

Let me tell you this is definitely going to be on regular rotation at my house. It is worthy of every rave review and then some! It makes the house smell wonderful too!

I'm always looking for ways to use my smoked paprika. Especially since I have two tins (one was a gift). It's the spice I can't resist inhaling when I'm in the pantry. Penzeys carries it if you need some.

Anyway, this dish is also pretty much a full meal with the tomatoes and beans. I also roasted some asparagus because it was 99 cents a pound and I love asparagus!

You can bet I'll take the leftovers in a pita as suggested for lunch tomorrow!


Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Paprika

Use leftovers for sandwiches the next day: Place shredded chicken, garbanzos, and tomatoes in a pita bread and top with the yogurt sauce.

Prep: 15 minutes; Total: 35 minutes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
4 chicken breast halves with bones(I also took the skin off)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450°. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.

*Sometimes labeled Pimentón Dulce or Pimentón de La Vera Dulce; available at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores, and from

Servings: Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 405 calories, 24g fat (5g saturated), 59mg cholesterol, 286mg sodium, 22g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 25g protein (nutritional analysis provided by Nutrition Data)

Flank Steak with Hot Peanut Sauce with Glazed Baby Bok Choy

I haven't been in the mood to cook lately. It happens every summer. The temperature goes up and my appetite goes away. I usually graze on salads, fruits and the like.

These recipes are from the April 2008 issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I decided to try them because they looked easy and received rave reviews on the website.

I have to say they were easy and tasty! I also steamed some now precious jasmine rice.

It pays to make friends with your butcher. I hear flank steak is hard to find. I got mine at Whole Foods. The butcher told me it isn't a desirable cut of meat. When I saw the $14.99/lb price tag I commented on paying so much for a disrespected cut. The butcher wrapped my meat and wrote N/C on the package. Yep "no charge"! I told him he didn't need to do that and he said he always likes helping me even though I ask 50 million questions and to be sure and tell him how the dish turns out.

On to the recipes. I marinated my meat overnight and used creamy peanut butter. I'm posting the nutritional information but keep in mind it's for a 3 oz portion of meat so don't go crazy and pile your plate.


Flank Steak with Hot Peanut Sauce

1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed and cut diagonally into thin slices
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place steak and 1/4 cup onion mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally.

2. Combine remaining 1/4 cup marinade, 1/2 cup water, peanut butter, and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Remove steak from bag, discarding marinade. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces steak and about 1/4 cup sauce)

CALORIES 212 (38% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 2.9g,mono 3.7g,poly 1.4g); PROTEIN 25.8g; CHOLESTEROL 37mg; CALCIUM 29mg; SODIUM 549mg; FIBER 0.7g; IRON 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.4g

Cooking Light, APRIL 2008

Glazed Baby Bok Choy

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 lb halved baby bok choy and cover. Cook for four minutes. remove bok choy and wipe pan with paper towels. Heat 2 tsp dark sesame oil over medium heat and sautee 1 chopped garlic clove and 1/2 tsp minced ginger for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 tbs rice vinegar, 1 tbs hoisin sauce, and 1 tbs soy sauce. Cook 1 minute and add bok choy and toss to coat.