Roasted Shrimp with Salsa Calabrese

Did I mention that I met Bobby Flay this summer? It’s true! It was fun but really not that exciting. 😉 He came to our mall for the 10th anniversary of his first “Bobby’s Burger Palace” restaurant. I stood outside in a huge line in 90+ degree heat with my kids and friends for the opportunity to meet him. I think that I waited so long to share this news because the photo of me with Mr. Flay is terrible. I was also too shy to ask him to write to “the brook cook” in my new Bobby Flay cookbook. Ugh. Overall, we all had good time, I bought a great cookbook, and we got free milkshakes. 🙂

Now seems like the time to share this dish because it’s from his “Fit” cookbook, healthy and tasty. Perfect for the season of resolutions and dietary changes.

The recipe is adapted from Bobby Flay Fit: 200 Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle by Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson. I used graffiti eggplant instead of Japanese, grape tomatoes instead of plum, and increased the garlic. I made the dish a little more caloric by serving it over brown Basmati rice. Cauliflower rice would also be a nice option- or without rice as in the original recipe.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 2 graffiti eggplants or 4 Japanese eggplants, about 1 pound, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 12 grape tomatoes or 2 seeded plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste, preferably Calabrian
  • 5 T olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • brown Basmati rice or cauliflower rice, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons of the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the vegetables on a large, parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring a few times, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and purée until almost smooth. Add the vinegar and 1/4 cup of water, and continue processing until smooth.
  5. Add the basil and the parsley and pulse a few times to incorporate while still leaving flecks of herbs. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to a bowl.
  6. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the fennel and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Spread the shrimp in an even layer on a large, parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until pink and firm and just cooked through, about 8 minutes.
  8. To serve, spoon sauce over prepared rice, if desired, or in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with about 5 shrimp and garnish with whole basil leaves.

Note: The vegetable sauce can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Roast Chicken with Roasted-Garlic Pan Sauce

This dinner was like a mini-Thanksgiving feast. 🙂 I served the chicken with roasted gold and sweet potatoes, broccoli, and acorn squash. The incredibly flavorful, rich sauce made the meal complete.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by José Andrés. It was inspired by the rotisserie chicken and sauce made by the Morales family at El Asador de Nati in Córdoba, Spain. The sauce incorporates the pan drippings with an entire head of roasted garlic. Wonderful.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place in a large ovenproof skillet (I used a 12″ sauté pan) along with the head of garlic, cut sides down. Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until 
an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part 
of the chicken breast registers 160°. (I used the oven probe.)
  3. Transfer the chicken 
and garlic to a cutting board; let rest for 15 minutes. Pour the pan drippings into a heatproof bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, in the skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, minced garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the wine, bay leaf, thyme and the reserved pan drippings.
  6. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the sauce and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over moderately low heat until slightly reduced, 5 minutes.
  7. Discard the bay leaf. Transfer to a blender, add 2 tablespoons of water and puree until very smooth. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. (I used a Vitamix.)
  8. Carve the chicken and transfer to a platter. Drizzle with sauce and serve additional roasted-garlic pan sauce on the side.

Chipotle-Rubbed Chicken Sheet-Pan Dinner with Roasted Salsa Verde & Acorn Squash

I am such a sauce person! This roasted tomatillo and garlic sauce was absolutely incredible. The acorn squash is roasted on the sheet pan with the chicken and sauce ingredients, absorbing all of the flavors too. It would be a wonderful dish to serve as part of a Cinco de Mayo celebration. In fact, I might make it again on Cinco de Mayo! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. I used boneless, skinless thighs instead of bone-in, and adjusted the method and roasting times accordingly.

I’m bringing this delicious dish to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #221 this week, hosted by Jenny @ Dragonfly Home Recipes. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 4 to 5
  • 12 oz tomatillos (about 6 medium)
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • coarse salt
  • 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs), trimmed
  • 2 T adobo sauce, from 1 can chipotles in adobo
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin, divided
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • ½ bunch cilantro, divided
  • lime wedges, for serving
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Start by assembling all the ingredients for the salsa: Remove husks from the tomatillos and rinse. Cut any larger ones in half and arrange on a baking sheet.
  3. Smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of your knife and remove skins. Add to baking sheet with tomatillos.
  4. Trim ends of scallions and discard, then cut scallions crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add to baking sheet.
  5. Cut the jalapeño in half lengthwise, pull out stem and ribs, and place on baking sheet. Wash hands!
  6. Drizzle 2 T oil over vegetables; season with salt. Toss with hands to coat, then push vegetables to one side of baking sheet so they’re taking up about one-third of sheet; set aside.
  7. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds with spoon. Cut each half in quarters again to make 8 equal wedges.
  8. Arrange squash on baking sheet on the opposite side of the baking sheet from the tomatillos (leaving room in the center for the chicken). (I placed each slice on its side so that it could absorb more pan drippings.)
  9. Drizzle squash with 2 T oil. Season with salt and sprinkle with remaining ½ tsp cumin.
  10. Place baking sheet with tomatillo mixture and acorn squash in the preheated oven for 12 minutes while you prepare the chicken.
  11. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt.
  12. Whisk 2 T adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotles in adobo), 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp cumin, and 2 T oil in a large bowl until smooth.
  13. Add chicken to bowl and toss with tongs until coated.
  14. After the vegetables have par-baked for 12 minutes, arrange chicken, using tongs, in the center of the baking sheet.
  15. Roast until chicken thighs are browned on top and meat is cooked through (165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), tomatillos are lightly charred on top, and squash is fork-tender about 20 additional minutes.
  16. Let cool slightly. While chicken is cooling, pick about ½ cup cilantro leaves from bunch, reserving stems, and set aside for serving.
  17. Transfer chicken and squash to a platter.
  18. Tip all remaining ingredients, along with ½ cup of pan juices, into a blender. (I used a Vitamix.) Add cilantro, stems and all; season with a bit more salt. Blend, thinning with more pan juices if needed, until smooth and pourable.
  19. Spoon salsa over platter and top with reserved cilantro leaves.
  20. Serve with brown Basmati rice and lime wedges alongside.

One Year Ago: Roasted Chicken Thighs over Herbed Pea & Spinach Puree

Two Years Ago: North African Meatballs

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Wild Mushroom Crêpes with Sunny Eggs

When we lived in Chicago, one of our favorite weekend traditions in the winter was going to see a movie and then eating at La Creperie. The restaurant was cozy and warm and the food was delicious. This dish brought us back there. 🙂

This wonderful dinner was also reminiscent of the mushroom crêpes that my Mother-in-Law serves on Christmas Eve as part of a traditional multi-course Ukrainian feast. I loved that this version incorporated roasted wild mushrooms- it made them rich with mushroom flavor. Incorporating an egg made them hearty enough to serve for dinner. (This dish really could be served any meal of the day.)

This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe contributed by Twin Cities chef Thomas Boemer. I increased the garlic and modified the proportions and method. We ate them with roasted asparagus on the side. Perfect!

I’m sharing my cozy dish at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #215 this week, co-hosted by Laurena@ Life Diet Health and Alex @Turks Who Eat. Enjoy!
Yield: Serves 6

Make the Sauce:

  1. In a medium saucepan (I used a 1.5 quart), melt 1 tablespoon butter over moderate heat.
  2. Whisk in all-purpose flour until combined.
  3. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup cream and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Gradually whisk in remaining 1/2 cup cream, nutmeg, and 1/2 cup of the mushroom filling.
  5. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until no floury taste remains, about 7 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a food processor, blender, or using an immersion blender in the pot, purée until smooth.
  7. Return sauce to pan and season with salt to taste. Keep warm.

Make the Crêpes:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk 4 eggs, milk, bread flour, melted butter, and kosher salt until smooth.
  2. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet or crêpe pan over moderate heat; brush with melted butter or oil. (I did 2 pans at once.)
  3. Add about 1/4 cup of the batter, about one-sixth, swirling to coat the pan evenly. Cook until lightly browned on bottom, about 2 minutes.
  4. Using a spatula, flip crêpe; reduce heat to moderately low.
  5. Arrange about one-sixth of the remaining mushroom sauce in a ring on crêpe, about 4 large spoonfuls, and immediately crack 
1 egg in center of ring. Lift the ring and allow the egg white to spread around the crêpe.
  6. Cook until egg white is set and yolk is still runny, about 3 minutes.
  7. Top with a few mesclun leaves. Drizzle with one-sixth of the roasted mushroom filling, mushroom sauce, and garnish with thyme, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a plate.
  8. Repeat procedure to make 5 more crepes. Serve immediately.

One Year Ago: Buckwheat Popovers

Two Years Ago: Pear Clafoutis

Three Years Ago: Vanilla-Bean Sablés and Viennese Sablés

Four Years Ago: Bread Machine Brioche

Five Years Ago: Asparagus Gruyère Tart

Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Sauce

I have a lot of kitchen gadgets- a LOT- but until recently, I didn’t have a good pair of kitchen shears. I was thrilled to be able to halve this chicken with my new shears. Just like all of the chefs on television. 😉

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used ancho chile powder instead of pasilla chile powder, used dried aji amarillo powder instead of paste, increased the amount of garlic in the marinade, and lowered the roasting temperature.

I incorporated my CSA cilantro into the incredible creamy green sauce. I served the chicken on a bed of sautéed CSA leeks and greens (collard and turnip) with roasted CSA potatoes on the side. It was a celebration of my vegetable share. 🙂 Spectacular.

Yield: 4 servings

For the Chicken:

  • 10 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste or another chile paste such as sriracha or sambal
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (from 1/2 of a lime)
  • 1 teaspoon aji panca paste or 1 teaspoon pasilla or ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound) chicken, halved (see Note) or 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts
  • extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup/1 ounce crumbled feta cheese (I used sheep’s milk feta)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lime juice, more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon aji amarillo or other chile paste (I used aji amarillo powder)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • lime wedges, for garnish
  1. For the marinade: In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, aji amarillo paste, lime juice, aji panca paste, mustard, cumin, pepper and salt.
  2. Add chicken halves, turning to coat them all over with marinade. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours. (I marinated the chicken for 10 hours.)
  3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection roast. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange skin-side up on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil.
  4. Roast until skin is golden and chicken is cooked through, tenting with foil after 30 minutes, for 35 to 45 minutes (if using chicken parts, remove the breasts after 25 to 35 minutes), or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes before serving.
  5. While chicken is roasting, make the sauce. In a blender, blend cilantro, jalapeños, feta, garlic, lime juice, oregano, salt, mustard, aji amarillo paste, honey, and cumin until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil until mixture is emulsified. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt or lime juice or both.
  6. Carve the chicken and serve with the sauce and lime wedges on the side.

Note: To cut a chicken in half, use a sturdy pair of poultry shears to cut lengthwise through the breastbone. Turn over and cut again, along the backbone. If desired, cut along the other side of the backbone and remove it.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Hugh Acheson’s Bucatini Amatriciana

I have a couple of fast weeknight pasta dishes to share. Classics. Both are served with bucatini, a house favorite. 🙂

This amatriciana sauce has rich and meaty flavor from the pancetta which balances nicely with the spiciness from crushed red pepper flakes. The flavors really come together as the sauce simmers. Simple and delicious.

This recipe was adapted from a “staff-favorite” Food and Wine recipe, contributed by Hugh Acheson. I omitted the marjoram.

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

Five Years Ago:

Marcella Hazan’s Butter, Tomato, & Onion Sauce

I made this sauce when I was still swimming in gorgeous fresh tomatoes. Because the sauce is so simple, it really showcases them. That being said, the quality of the tomatoes used is very important.

There are many debates about this famous sauce online. Much of the discussion is about whether or not butter (and its richness) should be incorporated into a tomato sauce. My vote is “YES!” 🙂 After tasting it, I think most would agree with me. Other discussions revolve around dissatisfaction with the results compared to the “hype.” Comments about the sauce being soupy and underwhelming may stem from using lower quality tomatoes or an abbreviated cooking time. We loved it.

My intention was to freeze the sauce to enjoy it during the winter, but it was too delicious to wait. The debate about this sauce in my house was about what type of pasta to serve it with! 😉 My husband won with his choice of pappardelle. Great.

This recipe was adapted from Hazan Family Favorites: Beloved Italian Recipes by Guiliano Hazan, via Epicurious.com. I increased the cooking time and reserved the onions after removing them from the tomato mixture (I pureed and seasoned them to serve as a spread on toasted baguette slices). Using fresh instead of canned tomatoes may have altered the total cooking time. I more than doubled the cooking time in order to achieve my desired consistency. I also pureed the finished sauce. Addictive!

Yield: Makes enough sauce for 1 pound of pasta

  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes (or 3 cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, preferably San Marzano)
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, to finish
  1. If using fresh tomatoes, peel them: Score the base of each tomato and place it in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the tomato with a wire strainer and peel off the skin.
  2. Coarsely chop the fresh or canned tomatoes.
  3. Trim both ends of the onion; peel it and cut it in half lengthwise.
  4. Put the tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt in a 4- to 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, lower the heat to a slow but steady simmer. Cook, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatoes are no longer watery and the sauce has reduced, about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size and shape of the pot. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.) The sauce is done when the butter has separated from the tomatoes and there is no remaining liquid.
  5. Puree the finished sauce, if desired.
  6. Prepare one pound of pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions.
  7. When you toss pasta with the sauce, add about 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Note: If the sauce is doubled, the cooking time will increase.

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