15th July 2007

Ahi Burgers & Grilled Stuffed Portobellos

We were short on time to prepare dinner tonight, so we had Ahi Tuna Burgers from Whole Foods, and found a good onion salsa recipe to garnish it (along with some wasabi mayo!), and a grilled portobello recipe as a side. We also grilled some bell peppers, green onions, and tomato. We heart grilled veggies.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
2/3 cup chopped plum tomato
1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh or 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 (5-inch) portobello mushroom caps
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley

Prepare grill.
Combine the tomato, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon oil, rosemary, pepper, and garlic in a small bowl.
Remove brown gills from the undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon, and discard gills. Remove stems; discard. Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil, juice, and soy sauce in a small bowl; brush over both sides of mushroom caps. Place the mushroom caps, stem sides down, on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until soft.
Spoon 1/4 cup tomato mixture into each mushroom cap. Cover and grill 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 4

Onion Salsa
2 cups chopped Maui onion (or other sweet onion)
1/2 cup minced scallions
1/4 cup pickled ginger, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Mix all ingredients, place in bowl in refrigerator to allow flavors to mix.

posted in Main Dishes | 0 Comments

12th July 2007

Nicaraguan Churrasco

Our main dish tonight was this grilled beef tenderloin, with chimichurri sauce and grilled sweet onions. Tender, highly flavorful, and surprisingly quick. Both the steak and chimichurri recipes are from Healthy Latin Cuisine.

Nicaraguan Grilled Beef Tenderloin
1 lb beef tenderloin, trimmed of all visible fat
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp sherry
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
4 large sweet onions, cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick slices
1/2 cup chimichurri (recipe below)

Lay the beef on a cutting board with the long side facing you. Holding a sharp knife parallel to the board, cut the beef through the side lengthwise into 4 flat, even slices. Place each slice between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the side of a cleaver to a thickness of 1/4″. Season each slice with salt and pepper and place in a 13″x9″ baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine the thinly sliced onions, parsley, garlic, sherry, bay leaves, and red-wine vinegar. Mix, and pour over the meat. Cover and marinate for 15 minutes, turning once.
Preheat the grill to high.
Coat the sweet onions with nonstick spray. Place on a grill tray and grill for 4 minutes per side, or until nicely browned. Turn carefully with a metal spatula. Transfer to a platter.
Drain the beef and discard the marinade. Grill the beef for 2 minutes per side for medium-rare, or slightly longer for medium. Arrange the beef on top of the onions, top with chimichurri.

4 servings

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, minced
4-8 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3-5 tbsp white-wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, starting with just 3 tbsp of the vinegar. Whisk to mix. The sauce should be highly seasoned; add more salt and vinegar, if desired. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

2 cups

posted in Healthy Latin Cooking, Main Dishes | 1 Comment

7th July 2007

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Rice Noodles

It’s been pretty warm here lately, so we’ve been planning recipes that rely heavily on grilling outdoors as to not heat up the kitchen. This grilled chicken and noodles dish was delicious, and the marinade smelled fantastic. I’m always pleasantly surprised at how little oil goes into a lot of the Vietnamese and Thai recipes we make at home. We’ll definitely be making this one again. The recipe below is adapted from Williams-Sonoma Asian Cooking, and the nuoc cham is from Authentic Vietnamese Cooking.

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken with Rice Noodles
1.5 lb chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/6 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp chinese rice wine
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 lb rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
Nuoc Cham (see below)
1 thai pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/8 cup very finely julienned carrots
4 or 5 cilantro sprigs

Cut the chicken breasts into large pieces and set aside in a shallow bowl. In a mortar, combine the garlic, shallot, cilantro, lime leaves, salt, and pepper and grind together with a pestle to form a paste. Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, rice wine, soy sauce, and peanut oil. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and turn to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Set a grill to high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the grill, turning until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Lower the grill heat to medium, cover, and continue to heat the chicken until cooked through.
Just before the chicken is ready, bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Add the rice vermicelli and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Drain, place in a bowl, and toss with 1/8 cup of the Nuoc Cham.
Divide the noodles between two serving plates and arrange the chicken on top. Garnish with the chili pepper, carrots, and cilantro sprigs. Serve with the remaining Nuoc Cham for dipping.

Serves 2.

Nuoc Cham
Makes about 2 cups
2 1/2 tbsps sugar
1 1/2 tbsps water
1/6 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Thai chili, minced

Whisk together the sugar, water, fish sauce, and lime juice in a bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the garlic and chili, then let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Makes approx. 1 cup.

posted in Asian, Main Dishes | 3 Comments

30th May 2007

Grilled Shrimp, Grilled Pineapple, and Spinach Orzo Salad

Thad and Abbie came over for dinner tonight, which gave us yet another excuse to fire up the grill. The marinade for the lemongrass-skewered shrimp was based on what we had in the kitchen and what “sounded good” — you really can’t go wrong with lemon and garlic! Lisa prepared a delicious Orzo salad made with spinach, basil, lemon, and cherry tomatoes, and we grilled some pineapple after quartering it and brushing it with melted butter, honey, and brown sugar. Turned out to be quite the tasty combination!

Grilled Shrimp on Lemongrass skewers
1 lb shrimp
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green onion, chopped
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp capers
3 stalks lemongrass, cut in half, dry outer layers removed

Peel shrimp, leave tails on. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add shrimp, and marinate for 2 hours. Soak lemongrass in water for 15 minutes, and then use to skewer shrimp. Cook shrimp on medium-heat grill for 4-5 minutes or until opaque in center.

The orzo recipe: Orzo with Spinach and Tomatoes

posted in Main Dishes | 1 Comment

29th May 2007

Surin’s Thai Beef Salad

Jenn sent us this recipe for Spicy Thai Beef Salad, the way it’s made at Surin of Thailand in Atlanta. We liked this version better than the one we made a few weeks ago — it was a lot easier, and the meat cooked a lot faster on the grill since it was already sliced. As listed below, I’d call the salad “medium” on the spicy scale, I added extra chili paste to mine to enable sweat-head.

Surin’s Spicy Beef Salad
2 servings

Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp red chili paste
1 lb flank steak
1 small cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and julienned
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tomato, sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp chopped green onion
romaine lettuce, in bite sized pieces

Preheat a grill to medium heat. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste; set aside. Slice the beef into thin strips, then grill to medium. Add to the bowl with the chili paste mixture and toss to coat. Arrange the cucumber, onion, tomato, cilantro and green onion in a bowl. Add the steak and lightly toss. Put a handful of romaine lettuce on each plate and top with the steak and cucumber mixture.

posted in Main Dishes, Thai | 1 Comment