Black Bean Dip

 

Black beans make a dramatic, dark colored dip that pops with flavor from lime, jalapeno and cilantro.  Make this a day or two ahead of your party and bring to room temperature prior to serving

  • 2-15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled & chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced finely
  • 1 small red pepper, seeded and diced finely
  • Minced, seeded Jalapeno pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt to taste
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 2-3 TBS cold water

 

  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan on medium high heat.  Sauté garlic, onion and pepper(s) with cumin, until translucent.
  2. Transfer sautéed vegetables to a food processor fitted with the steel blade along with black beans, lime juice, sherry vinegar and salt.  Process until smooth, tasting for seasoning.
  3. For a Summer, no cook version, add vegetables raw to beans before processing.
  4. Add water to thin and additional salt, if necessary.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle w/ oil and garnish with cilantro.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature, with tortilla chips and/or crudités as a dip.

 

 

Grilled Red Snapper with Mango Salsa

Red Snapper is a delicious, mild, sweet and moist fish – perfect for grilling and topping with the fresh and spicy mango  salsa

For the mango salsa
  • 2 cups peeled, diced, ripe mango
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cored and diced
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion (rinsed in a strainer in cold water 2x and drained)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Minced jalapeno or serrano pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Taste for seasoning.

Can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving

For the snapper

  • 4 – 6 oz red snpper filets
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  1.  Preheat a gas grill to medium high.  Oil the racks very well.
  2. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper, liberally.
  3. Grill the fish without turning for approximately 5-6 minutes until fish is just opaque in the center.
  4. Remove fish carefully from grill and place on a serving platter.
  5. Top fish with salsa and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Scallop Ceviche with Orange, Mango and Mint

 

Delicate and flavorful, this preparation is the perfect treatment for ultra fresh, diver scallops

Delicate and flavorful, this preparation is the perfect treatment for ultra fresh, diver scallops

  • 6 Large sushi quality sea scallops (specify diver, dry if available)
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 1 Juice orange, juiced
  • ½ Ripe mango, peeled and diced in very small dice
  • 1 TBS finely minced scallion
  • ½ Jalapeno, finely minced to taste
  • 3 Fresh mint leaves, sliced in julienne
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Salmon Caviar for garnish (optional)

 

  1. Using a large chefs knife, slice scallops horizontally into 4 even slices.
  2. Transfer scallop slices to a large shallow platter with sides or a flat, shallow plastic Tupperware tub. Cover scallops and refrigerate while preparing marinating ingredients.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, combine lime juice, orange juice, mango, scallion, jalapeno and salt to taste.
  4. Pour marinating sauce mixture over scallops, almost covering them and refrigerate for 1 – 3 hours.
  5. Remove scallops from marinating liquid, reserving liquid. Arrange scallops on a serving platter and garnish with some of the marinating liquid and mango to moisten, salt to taste, and julienned mint.  Garnish platter with optional salmon caviar.  Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Sautéed Chicken Breasts Provençal

Fresh and flavorful, this is the perfect weeknight dinner.  From the kitchen counter to the table in 20 minutes, this dish allows you time to dream Provençal dreams! Have your butcher pound out the chicken breasts for you to save time.

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Salt & fresh pepper to taste
  • Crushed hot red pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 6 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped (use italian canned if necessary)
  • 1 cup pitted black niçoise style olives
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbs chopped parsley
  • A handful of chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Season flour w/ plenty of salt & pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour, patting off excess flour.
  2. Heat 2 tbs oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Sauté the chicken on both sides for approximately 1½ minutes per side. Remove breasts from pan and tent w/ foil. Drain excess oil fro pan.
  3. Add 2 additional tbs oil to pan and sauté onions, garlic, crushed hot peppers (if using), yellow and red peppers on medium heat for 5 minutes, until onions and peppers are softened.  Increase heat to medium high heat and add tomatoes, olives and white wine to skillet and cook for 5 -10 minutes, until wine is nearly evaporated.  Add parsley, basil, salt, pepper and any juices, which have accumulated under the chicken to the pan, and cook sauce for 5 minutes longer.
  4. Add chicken to the skillet with the sauce and turn the filets over in the sauce two or three times to reheat and blend flavors.  Transfer the chicken to a warm serving platter and pour the sauce over.  Garnish with additional fresh basil, finely sliced.

Serves 4

 

Herbed Couscous

 

  • 1 cup instant couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 scallion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint, parlsey, and chives
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ½ tsp salt & fresh pepper to taste

 

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat in medium sized pot. Add scallion and garlic seasoning with salt & pepper to taste.  Saute for 2-3 mintues until scallion is wilted, being careful not to burn.
  2. Add couscous and stir to coat with the oil.
  3. Add boiling water, herbs and lemon juice, stirring well, cover and remove from heat for 10 minutes.
  4. Fluff couscous before serving and serve immediately.

 

Serves 4

Artichoke Bruschetta

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

Baguette slices lightly toasted with garlic and topped with pan seared artichoke hearts, olive oil and mint reminds me of a small dish I once had at a wine bar in Rome. This is the perfect last minute snack when friends drop by for a glass of wine.

  • 1 small baguette, sliced thinly into about ¾’’ slices
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, 1 chopped finely, 1 left whole
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained well
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs fresh mint leaves, chopped finely
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese, grated on a rasp or microplane grater

 

  1. Spread drained artichokes on a clean kitchen towel and blot with paper towels to dry as thoroughly as possible.
  2. Heat a stainless steel sauté pan on medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil until oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking.
  3. Carefully place the artichokes in the hot pan and season with salt + pepper.  Allow artichokes to brown before turning, cooking until they are colored, brown + crisp looking. Add chopped garlic clove , stirring constantly so that garlic does not burn, but softens.  Allow artichoke mixture to cool.  When cool enough to touch, roughly chop the artichoke hearts on a cutting board and transfer to a bowl .
  4. Add half of cheese to chopped artichokes reserving balance for garnish and taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and sprinkle with mint, reserving a small bit for garnish, stirring to combine.
  5. Place bread slices on a sheet pan lined with foil. Using a silicone brush, lightly brush bread with 1 tbs of olive oil. Toast bread slices until lightly browned and toasted or alternately, grill bread slices until golden brown with grill marks on the grill.
  6. Allow bread to cool until you can lift a slice without burning your fingers and then rub each slice of toasted bread with the peeled whole  garlic clove.
  7. Top each toast with a teaspoon of artichoke mixture, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with cheese and more mint.
  8. Serve immediately.  The artichoke mixture can be prepared earlier in the day and reserved covered on the counter top, assembling the toasts when ready to serve.

 

Makes approx 18 toasts

 

 

Grilled Greek Island Style Chicken Breasts

Grilled boneless chicken breasts served warm with a cool, Greek style chopped salad on top is the perfect summer dish for a breezy, al fresco dinner

Grilled boneless chicken breasts served warm with a cool, Greek style chopped salad on top is the perfect summer dish for a breezy, al fresco dinner

  •  4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded 3/4” thin

For the marinade

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tblespoons chopped mint
  • Salt & pepper

For the garnish

  • 1 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons sweet vidalia type onion, chopped finely
  • 3 tablespoons small capers in brine, drained
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoons each, flat leaf parsley and mint chopped for garnish

 

 

  1.  Marinate chicken breasts for one hour in marinade.
  2. Prepare garnish by combining all ingredients and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.  Garnish may be made up to 6 hours ahead, but do not add feta cheese until ready to serve.
  3. Preheat grill to high heat.  Grill chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, remove chicken from the grill and place on serving platter, spooning garnish directly over chicken.
  4. Serve immediately, or at room temperature as part of a buffet.
Serves 4

Grilled Asparagus

Grilling asparagus imparts a charred, sweet, smokey flavor and is equally as delicious served hot, warm, at room temperature or, as part of a buffet or even chilled in a salad, total versatility!

Grilling asparagus imparts a charred, sweet, smokey flavor and is equally as delicious served hot, warm, at room temperature or, as part of a buffet or even chilled in a salad, total versatility!

  • 1 pound green asparagus
  • 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & fresh black pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest.
  1. Wash and trim asparagus, drying thoroughly.
  2. Preheat grill to high heat.
  3. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil and coat thoroughly.
  4. Sprinkle asparagus with liberal amounts of salt and freshly ground pepper.
  5. Grill until nicely charred, rolling constantly over grates.
  6. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with lemon zest.
  7. Serve immediately or at room temperature as part of a buffet.
Serves 4

Green Pea Soup with Mint

Bright emerald green and bursting with clean, fresh mint flavor, this soup is so simple and like a breath of new spring air.  Serve it warm on a chilly night or icy cold as a warm weather lunch.

Bright emerald green and bursting with clean, fresh mint flavor, this soup is so simple and like a breath of new spring air. Serve it warm on a chilly night or icy cold as a warm weather lunch.

 

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 small bag of frozen baby peas
  • 12 fresh mint leaves
  • 3 cups of water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs Crème Fraîche stirred together with salt to taste (for garnish)
  1. Heat oil in medium sized pot on medium heat.
  2. Sauté scallions, seasoning with salt and pepper, stirring often for several minutes.
  3. Add peas, mint, water, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until peas are cooked but till bright green.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Carefully transfer mixture to a blender.  Blend carefully, allowing steam to escape, stirring and scraping blender container as necessary.
  6. Continue to blend until all ingredients are well pureed.  Add some additional water if necessary to thin the soup.
  7. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve immediately or allow cool, refrigerating and serving the next day.
  9. Garnish each serving of soup with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

 

Note: Be extra careful when blending hot ingredients in a blender to allow some hot air to escape while blending ingredients, by slightly moving lid to a side position or removing the center plastic part of the lid and covering with a towel so the ingredients don’t splatter.  Neglecting this step can cause a hot explosion.

 

Serves 4

photo by Kristi Senat

 

Warm Steak Salad with Mustard and Greens

Warm slices of garlicky, charred, juicy steak sitting on top of cold crisp greens, herbs and ripe tomatoes all dressed with a spicy red wine and Dijon vinaigrette could be Summer’s best salad

(4) 6-8 oz individual filet or ny strip steaks

For marinade

  • 2 tbs dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • 1 garlic clove smashed or pressed
  • 2 tbs chopped italian parsley
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups mixed greens for salad
  • 2 red ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped finely

For vinaigrette

  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, chives, mint
  1. For the marinade, mix dijon mustard, red wine, garlic, parsley, salt & pepper until combined.
  2. Place steak and marinade in a zip lock baggie, squeeze out excess air, and seal bag well.  Move steaks around in bag to distribute marinade evenly around meat.  Marinate for several hours, removing meat from the refrigerator 1 hour before grilling.
  3. Make the vinaigrette.  Mix dijon, red wine vinegar, salt & pepper together well, and then add olive oil slowly in a stream, mixing well until emulsified. Stir in fresh herbs (reserving a small amount for garnish), tomatoes and scallions and set aside until ready to compose dishes.
  4. Pre-heat grill to medium high heat.  Remove meat from marinade and pat dry.  Grill for approximately 5 minutes per side for medium rare.
  5. Remove meat from grill and let stand for 5-10 minutes to rest.  Alternately, steaks may be pan sauteed or broiled.
  6. Toss salad greens with reserved vinaigrette, tomatoes and scallions.  Place a serving of salad on the center of each plate.  Slice steaks thinly across the grain and lay slices decoratively over salads and serve.

 

Serves 4 – 6