Archive | August, 2017

Cracking The Skewered Lemon Chicken Code

Cracking the Skewered Lemon Chicken Code is here to share with you. It’s honestly the best grilled chicken I know. I hope you agree.

When my daughter was born, we were living in Brockton, Mass. There was (and still is) a fabulous Italian food shop, International Food Gourmet,  where I could buy all the best ingredients for making exotic and delicious meals: aged provolone, Amaretti di Saronno, and marinating chicken breasts that cooked up deliciously juicy and bursting with bright lemon flavor.

For years I tried to reproduce the flavor and texture. I came across a recipe and have tweaked it over the years.

Skewered Lemon Chicken

Skewered Lemon Chicken

Don’t let the deceptively simple photo fool you. And since we’re paleo and not at all afraid of butter, drizzling lemon butter all over the chicken and vegetables makes for heaven on a plate.

Skewered Lemon Chicken Ingredients

Skewered Lemon Chicken Ingredients

I was struck by the red of the background cloth and flowers of the first photo. I used one of my daughter’s porcelain “tin cans” as a vase. (She’s a RISD-trained ceramist with a lovely artistic soul, and I decided to do a portrait. What do you think? Pretty cool! Know what? So is she!!

Alli's Tin Can and Flowers

Alli’s Tin Can and Flowers

For an additional course, I found some gorgeous figs at my local Whole Foods. The season is nearly over in south Louisiana, but there are fresh, local figs elsewhere. If you happen upon some, this salad is as yummy as it looks. And super simple to make. Sweet, juicy, crunchy, green and salty: what more could you asked for in a salad? Nothing, I say!!

Fig, Prosciutto and Pecan Salad

Fig, Prosciutto and Pecan Salad

We have a new toy to play with and it’s a gem. It’s an Australian grill called a Cobb Cooker. Based on a stove used in Africa where access to electricity is scarce, it’s perfect for 2-4 servings. We’ve cooked all sorts of things on it. Using only 8-10 pieces of charcoal, it’s easy to light, cooks for up to two hours without adding more briquets, and versatile. There’s a griddle, wok pan, frying pan, roasting rack and grill pan. Roast chicken is amazing on this cooker, as is stir-fried shrimp and vegetables, even breakfast.

Cobb Cooker

Cobb Cooker

We’ve done so many delectable meals, we were inspired to get a dozen large blue crabs and grill them, too. Turned out we needed the Weber for the amount of crabs we had, but we definitely got the idea from the Cobb meals we’d been making.

Harris blanched the crabs in boiling water, then cleaned and seasoned them. He cooked them to perfection with his signature touch: adding small pieces of oak and pecan wood to the fire. They were insanely good. I roasted some artichokes and we had a feast!

Grilled Blue Crabs

Grilled Blue Crabs

The playlist is a smattering of tunes I liked this week. Crank up the music and get cracking the skewered lemon chicken code, y’all.

Skewered Lemon Chicken
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Skewered Lemon Chicken
Skewered Lemon Chicken
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  1. Note: Marinating times are specific. Longer time than recommended can yield mushy textures in the chicken and vegetables.
  2. In a gallon zip top bag, add zest and juice from 2 lemons, salt, honey, vinegar, garlic and cayenne. Add the chicken breast meat and marinate for two hours.
  3. Add mushrooms and zucchini, mixing up all ingredients thoroughly. Marinate additional 2 hours.
  4. Melt butter, add remaining lemon zest and juice. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste.
  5. Skewer the chicken and vegetables, alternating ingredients. Heat grill pan or charcoal or gas grill to medium high. Cook skewers, basting with lemon butter until cooked through about 10-12 minutes. (I like to remove a piece of chicken and check to see that it is cooked, but not dry.)
  6. While chicken skewers are cooking, steam cauliflower, 6-8 minutes. Add broccolini and continue steaming until both are tender and the broccolini is still bright green. Set aside and keep warm. Season with salt pepper and lemon butter.
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Fig, Prosciutto and Pecan Salad
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Fig, Prosciutto, Pecan Salad
Sweet, salty, crunchy and delicious. Easy to make and so pretty to serve!
Fig, Prosciutto, Pecan Salad
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Sweet, salty, crunchy and delicious. Easy to make and so pretty to serve!
Servings
4servings
Servings
4servings
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Heat a dry, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add figs, cut side down. Cook for 3-4 minutes to release sugars and flavor. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  2. Place salad greens on individual plates or serving platter. Add figs, pecans, prosciutto and goat cheese (if using). Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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Shrimp Burgers Two Ways

A beef burger without a bun is somewhat lacking. It tastes great, but it seems like the fun is missing. So I decided to experiment with other burger flavors and since they’re not traditional, the missing bun isn’t missed. In fact, a bun would mute the flavors. I’ve made chicken and sausage gumbo burgers, and Italian meat and sauce burgers (a plate of meatballs and sauce also seems so-so, but patty-sized meat with sauce is just right!) The first seafood burger I made was a combination of halibut and crawfish left over from a visit to Hawks. It was a hit!

Thai Green Curry Crawfish Burger

Thai Green Curry Crawfish Burger

Halibut is expensive and boiled crawfish aren’t in season, so I came up with two new shrimp versions: Thai Green Curry and Louisiana. Depending on your mood, one or the other will make a lovely weeknight meal or something amazing to serve to guests.

Shrimp Burger Ingredients - Two Ways

Shrimp Burger Ingredients – Two Ways

On the left are the ingredients for the Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burgers and on the right are the ingredients for the Louisiana Shrimp Burgers. In the final version of the Thai, I decided to skip the sriracha — the patty and sauce are plenty spicy without it.

Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burger

Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burger

The sauce requires a few ingredients, but comes together in minutes. And those flavors are repeated in the patties to amp up the flavor. I chose crisp cucumbers and mellow mango to accompany the burgers and Harris agreed that the two worked nicely with the shrimp and green curry. One ingredient might be hard to find; they’re kaffir lime leaves. But I got them frozen, on Amazon and they last months and months in the freezer. If you’re looking for an ingredient that will send your green curry to the moon and back, this is it.

But the patties are delicious without them, too. All the bright, spicy flavors in Thai Green Curry always make me feel so good. Once I was coming down with a nasty bug and couldn’t lose time at work. I stopped at our favorite Thai restaurant, Pimon Thai and got an order of green curry chicken on my way home. By morning the bug had been blasted to smithereens and I’ve been a fan ever since. Whenever the girls are coming down with something, they know I’ll always suggest green curry for their ills. Don’t wait until you’re feeling unwell for some though, and who knows? Maybe it’ll keep in the pink!

Louisiana Shrimp Burger

Louisiana Shrimp Burger

Not everybody’s down with these pungent flavors. I won’t judge. So I’ve included a variation featuring all the beloved flavors of Louisiana. As I was “shopping” in Harris’s garden for onion tops and a few peppers, I noticed a green eggplant ripe for the picking. This my very most favorite variety, and it was a welcome addition to the Louisiana party. A ripe heirloom tomato completed the dish.

Louisiana Shrimp Burger

Louisiana Shrimp Burger

I hope you’ll try one of these recipes and let me know what you think! There are more summer tunes this week. Have a great Watermelon Day! August 3rd is also National IPA Day. So whether your thirst runs to fruit or to beer, you’re covered!!

Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burger
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Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burgers
Fresh, light and summery, Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burgers are a unique alternative to the usual beef.
Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burgers
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Fresh, light and summery, Thai Green Curry Shrimp Burgers are a unique alternative to the usual beef.
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 7minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
7minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Servings: servings
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Instructions
  1. Make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, ginger, curry paste, garlic, kaffir lime leaves (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Sauté for 2 minutes or until fragrant and shallot is softened. Do not brown.
  2. Add coconut cream and honey, stirring to combine. Taste for seasoning, adding more lime juice, honey or other ingredient to taste. Set aside.
  3. Make the shrimp burgers. In a 12-inch skillet, add 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add shallot, ginger, curry paste, garlic, Kaffir lime leaves (if using), salt and pepper. Remove to a bowl and set aside to cool. (Does not have to be cold.)
  4. In the bowl of a food processor, add half the shrimp, egg white and shallot mixture. Pulse six or seven times until combined. Add remaining shrimp and pulse 2-3 times. With spatula, combine ingredients thoroughly.
  5. In the skillet, add 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Using a large spoon, scoop 1/4 of the shrimp mixture and place in the skillet, smoothing it into a disc. Repeat with remaining shrimp mixture. There will be 4 burgers. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip and continue cooking until cooked through, about 2 minutes.
  6. Place cucumber and mango slices on serving or individual plates. Drizzle with lime juice and olive oil. Place burgers on top and drizzle with green curry sauce.
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Louisiana Shrimp Burger
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Louisiana Shrimp Burgers
A nice change from beef burgers, Louisiana Shrimp Burgers are quick, easy and taste so good!
Louisiana Shrimp Burgers
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A nice change from beef burgers, Louisiana Shrimp Burgers are quick, easy and taste so good!
Servings Prep Time Cook Time
4servings 10minutes 7minutes
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
7minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
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Ingredients
Servings: servings
Units:
Instructions
  1. Make the sauce and refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
  3. In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When shimmering, add onion, celery, bell pepper, green onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent, but not brown. About 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Set aside to cool (does not have to be cold).
  4. In the bowl of a food processor, add half the shrimp. Pulse until there are no large pieces, about 6-7 pulses. Add egg white, onion mixture, and remaining shrimp. Pulse 2-3 times. Mix with spatula to distribute ingredients evenly. Add more seasoning if desired.
  5. In the 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the eggplant until golden and cooked through. Season to taste. About 5 minutes. Remove to a plate and place in the oven to keep warm.
  6. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil to now empty skillet over medium heat. With a large spoon, scoop 1/4 of the shrimp mixture, drop it in the skillet and shape into flat disc. Do the same with the remaining shrimp mixture. There will be 4 burgers. Cook on the first side 2-3 minutes until golden. Flip and cook on the second side another 2 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Plate the burgers with the eggplant and tomatoes and drizzle with sauce.
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