Juniper Berry Rub Chicken Roast with Potatoes

A little while ago, my cousin sent me this juniper berry rub. (I’m so lucky to have a cousin that lives in California, although I will feel luckier when she moves back to the east coast.) But it’s nice to get a little bit of California flavor out here on the east coast. This is such a nice spice combination, a little salty, a touch sweet from the juniper and allspice and a hint of citrus. I started using this back in autumn and it made everything extra special but now that the holidays are over and I’m not quite ready, (I’m never ready for the holidays to be over) this juniper berry rub is just the perfect fix for getting a little missed holiday flavor in on a Tuesday night.Enjoy!

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  • 2 chicken breasts, skin on, bone-in
  • 3-4 Yukon Gold potatoes, cut-up
  • 1 head of garlic, broken up into cloves
  • 1 cup of water
  • a little olive oil
  • the amazing juniper spice rub

Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with the spice rub and place in the pan. Spread the potatoes and garlic cloves around the chicken breasts and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Drizzle the pan with a little olive oil and pour the cup of water over the potatoes and garlic cloves. Bake uncovered for about an hour and fifteen minutes at 350 degrees, until the chicken breast are tender and the juices run clear. Check the pan after about an hour for doneness and adjust the baking time as needed. Serves 2-3 with possibly some leftovers to toss into salad the next day.

DSC05173 The amazing spice rub…Be sure to check out their other spice rubs…They look like they will add alot of excitement to any mid-January meal.

Parsley ala Gremolata

My obsession with gremolata began last week. I don’t know what got into me but I thought our turkey for Thanksgiving would be incomplete without gremolata? Usually it’s a nice condiment for summer fare but it made our turkey all the better-the garlic, the slightest burst of lemon and freshness of the parsley…So we had turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, chestnuts, my fennel salad and bright green gremolata…and it all went really well together. And I have been obsessed with it ever since. This is my third batch within a week. It’s great on eggs, tossed into rice, used as a topping for fish, roast chicken, turkey…or an upcoming holiday roast. Enjoy!

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  • 1 bunch parsley, washed, leaves only, finely chopped (reserve those stems for when making broth)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, chopped and smashed
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt
  • Maldon’s salt, *optional

In a bowl, add in the parsley, garlic, zest, olive oil and salt. Give it a good stir and taste, adjusting as needed. I try not to over salt because I like to finish it off with a good crunchy salt like Maldon’s.

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Super Garlicky Turkey Puttanesca

Don’t plan to make this on a make-out night with your love, unless you are both garlic lovers. This sauce is full of garlic cloves, super spicy and has a fiery effect, that is almost sexy. Using a good jarred marinara sauce saves on time and has dinner on the table in less than an hour. Pair with a nice Riesling and enjoy!

  • 1 pound turkey breast cutlets, cut into bite size pieces
  • 10 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • (1) 26. oz. jar good marinara sauce
  • 20 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise
  • a tablespoons of capers, quickly rinsed
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • generous sprinkling of red pepper chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • sea salt

Start off by combining the garlic slices and olive oil in a large Dutch oven, heat on low for about 7 minutes, until they are softened a bit. Stirring often is key and keeping an eye on the garlic so it doesn’t even begin to brown is really important to a good sauce. Remove the garlic and any garlic bits and set aside. Into the remaining oil, add in the turkey (patted dry) and saute for about 5 minutes on low heat. (You don’t want it to brown, so it really absorbs all of the rich flavors.) Add in the garlic, olives, capers, chili flakes, marinara sauce, Sriracha sauce, bay leaf and black pepper. Give it a good stir and increase the heat until it boils. Once it boils, lower the heat on the lowest setting and simmer for half an hour, stirring often so it doesn’t stick. Season with sea salt if needed. Start the meal off with a chunky green salad and pair the turkey puttanesca with ziti, pan-fried potatoes, rice or a creamy polenta. Makes 4 servings and this is great heated up as leftovers.

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Turkey, Sorrel & Garlic Patties

The panic that I felt early on this year when I saw those bikinis at Target is amplified as I’m no where near bikini ready. My attempted juice fast was not as successful as I had hoped, as I cut it short. My gym sweatathons, felt great but I just love food too much and I need to make wiser choices as well as portion control. Taking advice given to me moons ago from a trusted psychic, I’m going to avoid sugar and dairy, along with my beloved gluten. (Deep, deep sigh.) Please join me as I lighten up my recipes a bit and hopefully in turn the numbers on the scale, will lighten up also. With that said, was I excited as I walked out of the door a few weeks ago, to find my sorrel growing, knowing how much flavor it adds to dishes. But since it was still chilly out, I wasn’t in the mood for its’ lemony fresh flavor yet. But today is a beautiful spring day, that’s just perfect for all of the brightness that it has to offer. If you don’t have sorrel available, substitute a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and a little lemon zest. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound ground lean turkey
  • 1/2 zucchini finely grated, about 1/2 a cup
  • a few leaves of sorrel or more, finely chopped, plus one leaf used for garnish
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • sea salt
  • ground black pepper
  • cooking spray

Smash the garlic and mince finely. Sprinkle with sea salt to create a paste, using the back of the knife helps. Set aside the garlic and squeeze the the zucchini dry. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and divide into 8 patties, about a quarter to a half an inch thick. Heat up the cooking spray in a non-stick pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes per each side. These are nice piping hot or room temperature. If you aren’t avoiding carbs, these would be nice as sliders, topped with sliced tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese. Garnish with slivers of sorrel. Makes 8 patties to snack on or 4 servings.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Chimichurri

At my first Easter dinner having grilled lamb chops, (about more than a century ago at this point) I covered them with as much mint jelly as possible. I didn’t appreciate them as much as I do today. When I was asked with a little bit of a smile, “Mary…are you enjoying your lamb chops?” I replied, “Yes…I just really, REALLY like mint jelly.” (Which was true, I could eat mint jelly by the spoonful. I just love it.) But as the years past, I noticed I put less and less mint jelly on my lamb chops and have grown to enjoy them, especially around springtime. So, whether celebrating Easter, Seder dinner or just a nice dinner welcoming spring…Enjoy!

  • 8 lamb chops

For the mint chimichurri:

  • 2 cups loosely packed mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry white balsamic vinegar
  • generous pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • red pepper flakes* optional

Finely chop, mince and mash your garlic. Adding salt always helps with this process. Use a mortal and pestle if you have one, if not, keep mashing and chopping until you get a paste with occasional pieces of garlic, if you are a garlic lover. Combine the mint, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and peppers. Add more salt if needed and let sit at room temperature for about 2 hours, so the flavors blend together. Grill your lamb chops and serve with the chimichurri on the side. Serves 4. Enjoy!

Spanish Style Garlic Shrimp

October has arrived! One of my favorite months of the year! Where ghouls and ghosts abound and when extra protection from vampires is needed. And I’ve come up with the perfect dish to be enjoyed while protecting yourself from those pesty bloodsuckers. You don’t have to fear Dracula coming near you, when making this garlic shrimp, actually, loved ones may not want to come near either, lol. So enjoy this with a fellow garlic lover, maybe when the sun is out, just in case ;) Enjoy!

  
  • 1 pound shrimp, (any size) deveined and patted dry
  • 7 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • a few saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vegeta
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • sea salt, if needed

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan, combine 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, the butter and the garlic. Let this barely saute on the lowest heat possible, for 20 minutes, stirring often. You don’t want the garlic to burn, you want it to get so soft, that the garlic becomes sweet. Stir in the shrimp and increase the heat slightly, to a regular low heat. Stir often for about 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through and are opaque. Adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve nice and hot with crusty bread to dip into the garlic paprika scented olive oil. This is a nice appetizer or can serve 4 as a meal, when paired with buttered orzo and a nice salad. Enjoy!

Oven-Fried Rosemary & Garlic Chicken Wings

Rosemary is a powerful herb. And if there is too much of it, it can be overwhelming. But when used in the right amount, it’s absolutely delicious and makes the dish even better. There was a deli in my hometown, that made the best rosemary chicken wings, using whole rosemary leaves. There were so many rosemary leaves among the coating of the chicken, I don’t even know how they weren’t overwhelming but it was a perfect union of juicy chicken and earthy rosemary, that made the taste buds happy! That deli has been unfortunately closed for many many years. And I wish I could say this is the recipe, but in their own right, these are so good! And if you are a rosemary and garlic lover, you won’t be disappointed. Serve with the garlic aioli on the side, to compliment the chicken. Serve 4 for dinner or more as an appetizer. Enjoy!

For the chicken wings, you will need:

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • flour for dredging
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • heaping 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, plus for garnishing
  • 3/4 teaspoon Vegeta or any all-purpose seasoning you like
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 sweet paprika
  • fresh ground pepper
  • cooking spray

For the garlic aioli, you will need:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • sea salt
  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon light cream

Combine the bread crumbs, rosemary, Vegeta, garlic powder, paprika and fresh ground pepper. Adjust the seasoning, as needed. Set up your breading station, having a plate for each of the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Dredge your wings in the flour, then the eggs and lastly the bread crumbs. Generously spray the bottom of a heavy bottomed 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray and place your wings into the pan, in a single layer. Bake your wings in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and again, generously spray the top of the wings with cooking spray. Flip the wings over, so they brown on the other side. Bake for 20 more minutes. While the wings bake, you can make your aioli. Smash and mince your clove of garlic with a little sea salt until it forms a paste and set aside. In a small bowl, slowly whisk your olive oil into the egg yolk until well emulsified. Add the garlic paste in, until well blended, followed by the mayonnaise and cream. Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Garnish the wings and aioli with extra rosemary sprinkled over them, if you like.

Spanish Style Pork Chops

Smoked Spanish Paprika, what a great spice to have in your cabinet! When I started sauteing the garlic and I added the paprika, it tasted so good, I wanted to just eat it, alone, lol, maybe on crusty bread. And my head started spinning with possible ways to use this spice. This is a new addition to my spice cabinet, that I am really excited about! Once you open the tin, you get a burst of earthy smokiness and a subtle unexpected sweet aroma. This recipe is a little time consuming, so make it when you don’t have to rush or when you have a pair of helping hands in the kitchen. Enjoy with Manchego mashed potatoes to get a little taste of Spain in your kitchen tonight. Enjoy!

For the pork chops you will need:

  • 4 center cut pork chops, about 1 1/4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Spanish Paprika, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Vegeta or any all purpose seasoning you like, divided
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 1-2 eggs
  • canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 heaping tablespoon halved Manzanilla olives

For the Manchego mashed potatoes you will need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes, roughly chopped, skin left on, cooked until soft
  • 1/4 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • 2 oz. light cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt
  • handful of raw sliced almonds, toasted *optional

Start off my setting up your breading station, having the flour, eggs and bread crumbs on separate plates, with an extra for the breaded chops. To the bread crumbs add 1/4 teaspoon of the paprika, 1/2 teaspoon Vegeta and fresh ground pepper. Adjust the seasoning of the breadcrumbs as needed. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat up the canola oil. Put enough oil in the pan, to fry the pork chops. You want to fry the pork chops on medium heat, until light golden brown on both sides. They will finish cooking in the oven. Once done frying your pork chops, drain on paper towels and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the minced garlic, 1/4 teaspoon paprika and a few saffron threads. Let the garlic cook on low heat until soft, add in the can of tomatoes, with the juice, 1/2 teaspoon of Vegeta, the capers and the olives. Crush your tomato mixture with a potato masher to break down the tomatoes a little bit. Let this cook for 10 minutes. Place your pork chops down in a single layer, in a 13×9 baking pan. Spoon your tomato mixture over the pork chops and around them evenly. Drizzle a little extra olive oil over the top. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes. If making the Manchego mashed potatoes to go with your pork chops, you want to put them on the stove the about same time that you start sauteing your garlic. To your cooked potatoes, add the butter, cream, cheese and salt. Mash until combined and creamy and adjust the seasonings as needed. Top with the toasted almond slices and enjoy!

Shrimp & Grits

This isn’t really the traditional shrimp and grits recipe with bacon and green pepper sauteed with the shrimp, this is more of a shrimp scampi and grits. And the grits have Parmesan and ricotta cheeses folded in it instead of the Cheddar cheese. I know, I know I am typing as fast as I can so you get the ingredients you need to make this tonight, lol. It’s really good especially when the wine and butter garlic sauce meets the cheesy grits on your fork! What’s good about this dish is it’s quick enough for dinner when you are in a rush and nice enough for company, especially when paired with a caesar salad with chunky croutons and a flourless chocolate torte for dessert. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 7 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Moscato wine
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup stone ground corn grits
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1.2 cup ricotta cheese
  • freshly ground pepper
  • sea salt

In a dutch oven, saute the garlic, 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil. Heat this on low heat, stirring often and make sure you don’t burn it. Once your garlic is soft, stir in the shrimp until it turns pink around the edges. This happens quickly. Next add in the wine and let it come to a boil and flip the shrimp over. Increase the heat and add in the parsley and one tablespoon of butter. Stir and make sure the biggest piece of shrimp is cooked through and opaque. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Meanwhile, you can make the grits according to package. Once they are done, keep the heat on low and stir in one tablespoon of butter, the Parmesan and ricotta cheeses. Season with salt and pepper according to taste. This serves about 4 people. Spoon the shrimp alongside the grits with lots of wine butter sauce. Serve with fresh ground pepper.

Salty Garlic Clams

I had dinner plans tonight, but they got cancelled. (deflated sigh) I had my meal planned already, lol An appetizer of Mussels Josephine as my entree with a seltzer and lemon, no bread. I saved my calorie intake for the day to really enjoy my mussels. And so my taste buds were anticipating a salty shellfish dish, and they didn’t let up, so I made a salty clam dish to substitute. I’ve made this before, and I feel I need to put a disclaimer out there. This is a supreme trinity of salt, clams and garlic. I used cherrystone clams which are saltier vs. littleneck, which are sweeter, so if you prefer littleneck, use 2 dozen. The dish, not shy with any of its’ flavors, all of them bold and representing themselves equally. The briny saltiness of the clams marries beautifully with the sweet tomato wine sauce. So if you are craving a salty, slightly sweet garlicky clam dish, this one is for you.

  • 1 dozen cherrystone clams, scrubbed clean
  • 9 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced fine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Moscato wine
  • 1/3 cup good marinara sauce, I used Victoria’s

On low heat combine the olive oil and garlic. The secret to cooking garlic so it doesn’t burn, is low heat, and lots of stirring. Cook the garlic for 10 minutes. Add your wine and tomato sauce, bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 more minutes. Bring the heat up to medium/high and add your butter and clams till they pop open, about 15 minutes. Serve with some crusty bread, to soak up all the salty clam broth. Enjoy!