Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Classic Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa

Warm Those Chips: Classic Fire-Roasted Tomato Salsa. Cheaper than Pace, I promise, and so much better.


  • 1 to 2 fresh jalapeño chiles
  • 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, preferably fire roasted
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt


  • Small skillet
  • Food processor
  • Cutting Board, Knife


  1. Roast the chiles and garlic. In a small ungreased skillet over medium heat, roast the chiles and garlic, turning regularly, until they are soft and blotchy brown, about 10 minutes for the chiles, 15 minutes for the garlic. Cool until handleable, then pull the stem(s) off the chile(s) and roughly chop. Peel the skin off the garlic. Scoop into a food processor and pulse until quite finely chopped.
  2. Finish the salsa. Add the tomatoes with their juice. Re-cover and pulse until you have a coarse puree. Scrape into a serving dish. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. You’re ready to serve.

*Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Garlicky Linguine with Seared Shrimp, Chipotle and Queso Anejo


  • 2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and (if you wish) deveined
  • Salt
  • 1 to 3 canned chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 pound dried linguine
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro
  • 3/4 cup grated Mexican queso anejo, Parmesan or Romano


  • Saute Pan for shrimp
  • Cutting Board, Knife, cheese grater
  • Stock Pot with Strainer


  1. Fill a very large (6- to 8-quart) pot about 2/3 full of water. Add 2 tablespoons salt, cover and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, spoon 2 tablespoons of the oil from the mojo into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Set over medium-high heat. Pat the shrimp dry, sprinkle with salt and, when the oil is hot, lay them in the skillet. Cook until the shrimp just lose their translucency in the center, about 1 minute per side. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped chile(s) and the rest of the mojo.
  3. Slide the pasta into the boiling water, stir, then let boil until the pasta is as done as you like—usually about 6 minutes for al dente linguine.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then pour the pasta into a colander set in a sink. Return the pasta and the 1/2 cup water to the pot. Scrape in the shrimp mixture, sprinkle with the chopped watercress, parsley or cilantro, toss together and divide among warm plates. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and serve without hesitation.

*Rick Bayless…Serves 4.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Woodland Mushrooms with Mojo de Ajo

Great as either a tapa over toasted baguette (for mushroom “montaditos”) or as a taco filling, these hearty and satisfying mushrooms are great and impressive to serve in parchment packs.


  • 12 ounces mushrooms—I love a mixture of cultivated shiitakes and oysters with a handful of wild mushrooms (porcini, chanterelle, hedgehog) thrown in, sliced 1/2- inch thick (you’ll have about 6 cups of slices)
  • 2 large (or 4 small) hoja santa leaves (or 32 large epazote leaves, or cilantro)
  • 2 medium-thick slices of bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (Use Fakin’ Bacon for a veg option, or simply omit)
  • 1/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 limes, cut in wedges


  • Baking Sheet, Oven
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Parchment paper and Rafia for Packets


  1. Soak the parchment. Cut four 12-inch squares of parchment paper, loosely roll them together submerge them in a large bowl of tap water and weight with a light plate to keep them submerged. Soak 30 minutes.
  2. Form and bake the packages. Turn on the oven to 325 degrees. Lay the soaked parchment pieces out on your work surface. If using the hoja santa, place 1/2 leaf (or a whole leaf if you’re using small ones) in the center of each parchment square. In a large bowl, mix the sliced mushrooms, bacon and garlic mojo (throw in the epazote leaves that’s what you’re using). Sprinkle with the salt, stir to coat everything evenly, then scoop a portion into the center of each parchment piece. Gather up the corners of each one to form a pouch. Pinch the parchment together just above the mushrooms and tie securely with a piece of string or raffia. Slide onto a baking sheet, then slide the sheet into the oven. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling vigorously in the packages.
  3. Serve. Open the packages in front of your guests so they can enjoy the explosion of aroma into the room. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze on plus fresh tortillas for making soft tacos or toasted baguette for making montaditos.

*Yet another Rick Bayless treat…Serves 8 as a tapa or soft taco filling.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Seared Fish Fillets in Fruity, Nutty, Garlicky Mojo


  • 2/3 cup Slow-Cooked Garlic Mojo (stir before measuring, include about 1/4 cup oil in this quantity)
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) coarsely broken or chopped pecans
  • 1 cup (about 5 ounces) coarsely chopped dried fruit—I love a mixture of dried apricots and prunes, though made with a single fruit it’s good, too
  • 1/2 cup fruity red wine
  • Salt
  • 4 5- or 6-ounce fish fillets – try meaty fish like halibut, snapper or mahi for good results
  • About 1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (or cilantro)


  • Large Skillet
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Sauce pan for Mojo


  1. Spoon a couple of tablespoons oil off the mojo de ajo into a very large (12-inch) skillet. Scrape the remaining mojo into a small saucepan and add the nuts, dried fruit, wine and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer over medium heat until the wine has reduced and the nuts and fruit start to slowly sizzle in the oil, about 5 minutes; reduce the heat to low.
  2. Set the skillet with the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle both sides of the fish fillets with salt and lay them into the oil. When brown underneath, about 3 minutes, flip the fillets over and cook the other side until the fish is as done as you like—about 3 minutes more for medium-done halibut or snapper. Transfer to warm dinner plates. Stir the parsley into the fruity, nutty mojo and spoon it over the fish. Serve right away.

*Courtesy Rick Bayless. Serves 4.

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

Achiote Seared Shrimp with Habanero Pickled Onions and Cilantro

Another Rick Bayless gem. The onions can be made well in advance. I plated here using a basting brush, but you could simply drizzle the sauce or use a squeeze bottle. I had the temptation to write out a word or draw a heart or some such…perhaps next time. :)


  • 1/2 small package (3 1/2 ounces) prepared achiote paste (such as Yucateco, La Anita or Marin brand)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • Salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds (about 24 pieces) large shrimp, peeled, leaving tail and final segment intact/li>

Ingredients, Onions

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small habanero chile, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

Ingredients, To Finish

  • 3 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • Roughly chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish


  • Large Skillet
  • Blender
  • Cutting Board, Knife
  • Bowl to Marinate Onions
  • Bowl or dish to marinate shrimp


  1. Marinate the shrimp. Break the achiote paste into a blender jar and add the garlic, orange and lime juices, vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Pour over the shrimp, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the onions. In a small bowl, combine the onion, habanero (or as much of it as you think you’ll like), lime and 1 scant teaspoon salt. Cover and let stand until the shrimp is ready. (If working ahead, the onions may be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for several days.)
  3. Cook the shrimp. In a very large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the shrimp out of the marinade and into the hot oil, leaving behind as much marinade as possible. Stir-fry until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Scoop onto a serving plate, pour all of the marinade into the skillet, and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Thin the sauce with a little water until it’s the consistency of a cream sauce. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve with the pickled onions.

*Serves 4.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Freedom Fries

You can par-fry these and bag into individual portions to keep in the freezer. Then you can cook up one of those portions in just 5 minutes when you feel like some. For that reason, make a bunch some Saturday and keep them around. A hollandaise or any homemade aioli is lovely to dip them in, but for a fast and classic twist I mix Sriracha into some organic ketchup to taste.

Ingredients, Fries

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled (optional), and cut into 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch fries
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 quarts peanut oil (my large “fry daddy” takes a gallon or 4 quarts)


  • Mandolin
  • Deep Fryer
  • Cutting Board, Knife

Directions, First Fry

  1. Heat oil to 400 degrees
  2. Clean and cut potatoes
  3. Boil 2 quarts water, 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  4. Add potatoes and boil for 10 minutes
  5. Remove fries to paper-lined cookie sheet and dry for 5 minutes
  6. Pat dry and fry for 50 seconds
  7. Let dry for 30 minutes (can be frozen overnight or up to two months, or used immediately)

Directions, Second Fry

  1. Fry fries 3.5 minutes or until golden brown, place on cooling rack, dress with salt (or some minced fresh parsley or other herbs such as sage).

*Serves 4

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Chicken Milanese with Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad

An easy weeknight meal: Chicken Milanese with a Slow Roasted Cherry Tomato and Arugula salad.

Ingredients, Chicken Milanese

  • 4 skinless, free-range, organic boneless chicken breasts, washed and dried
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs (Japanese panko makes the crispiest crust) mixed with 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients, Slow-roasted Cherry tomatoes & Arugula

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups wild arugula
  • 1 tablespoon high-quality balsamic vinegar


  • Oven
  • Baking dish or sheet
  • Non-Stick Saute or Frying Pan
  • Saran Wrap and Mallet to Pound Chicken


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F°
  2. Place tomatoes in a small baking pan and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re split and blistered and super sweet.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the chicken. Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of baking parchment paper or Saran wrap. Using a mallet, pound the chicken breasts until they’re very, very thin – you should be able to almost see through them- about 1/6-inch thick.
  4. Put the milk in a shallow bowl and the bread crumbs on a large plate. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then dredge it in the breadcrumbs, tapping off the excess. You should have a thin, even coating.
  5. As tomatoes finish, cook the chicken. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet big enough to hold 2 pieces of chicken in a single layer. Cook for about 4 minutes on the first side, or until evenly browned and crisp. Flip and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes, or until the other side is browned and crisp and the chicken is firm to the touch. Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and the remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, toss the arugula with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the vinegar, and a pinch of salt. Fold the tomatoes into the arugula.
  7. Place one piece of chicken on each of four dinner plates and mound a handful of arugula on each piece, making sure everyone gets plenty of tomatoes.

*Serves 4

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

Heirloom Tomato and Grilled-Corn Salad with Basil Vinaigrette


  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 ears of corn in husks
  • 1 1/4 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 10-ounce container small heirloom cherry tomatoes


  • Grill for corn
  • Whisk for dressing
  • Knife and Cutting Board


  1. Mix vinegar and garlic in bowl. Whisk in oil, then basil. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Fill large bowl (or sink) with water. Mix in 1 teaspoon sea salt. Add corn; soak 1 hour.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Drain corn. Grill in husks until outside is very charred and corn kernels are tender, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes.
  4. Cool corn. Remove husks and cut kernels off cobs into large bowl. Add tomatoes. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season salad with salt and pepper.

*Serves 4-6

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Sauce and Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients, Quinoa Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp crumbled feta
  • 10 kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper and salt to taste

Ingredients, Yogurt Mint Sauce

  • 6 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 7 ounces Greek-style yogurt (recommended: Fage Total)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients, Lamb Chops

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 racks of lamb, cut into 4 chops each, with 2 bones in, about 1-1.5 inches thick


  • Rice Cooker for Quinoa
  • Food Processor for Sauce
  • Grill for Lamb
  • Dish for Marinating Lamb
  • Knife and Cutting Board

Directions, Quinoa Salad

  1. Using a fine mesh sieve rinse 1.5 cup of organic quinoa in cold water (unless it states on the box that you don’t need to rinse).
  2. Dump rinsed quinoa into your rice cooker. Add 3 cups fresh water, and turn rice cooker on.
  3. Takes about 15 minutes. While quinoa cooks, prep other ingredients.
  4. Combine all ingredients, adjust proportions to taste and serve hot or cold. (I prefer hot with the lamb, but cold is great otherwise)

Directions, Yogurt Mint Sauce

  1. Place the scallions, mint, dill, red pepper flakes, olive oil, and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until it’s a coarse paste.
  2. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to develop.

Directions, Lamb Chops

  1. Place the garlic, rosemary, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the herbs are finely minced. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, and red wine and combine.
  2. Place the chops in a glass or ceramic dish just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Pour the marinade over the chops, turning to coat both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  3. 2 hours before cooking, remove lamb from fridge to bring to room temperature. This step is important to proper cooking.
  4. When ready to cook, preheat the gas grill to high and remove the lamb from the marinade, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper
  5. Place lamb chops on very hot grill and close lid. This will help chops cook from all angles and sear in juices.
  6. Cook lamb chops with lid down for 3–4 minutes. Flip chops over (at 4 minutes) using grilling tongs. Do not use a fork as it will let out all of the juices you are trying to keep in.
  7. Close lid, grilling lamb chops until preferred doneness. Another 3-4 minutes, on either end of medium-rare.
  8. Use the “hand trick” to determine doneness of your grilled lamb chops. Medium rare should feel like the base of your thumb — spongy with a little bit of give. Medium should feel like the middle of your palm — firmer. Video Instructions here.
  9. Serve hot with the cold yogurt mint sauce and warm salad.

*Serves 4

All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.