This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Vallery Lomas. I modified the method and proportions. I forgot the scallion garnish- an issue that I have on holidays. Fantastic nonetheless.
Yield: Serves 6
For the Grits:
3 cups whole or reduced-fat milk (see Tip)
6 T unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups stone-ground grits
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp or sharp Cheddar (I used New Zealand Sharp Cheddar)
For the Shrimp:
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used tail-on 21-25 count shrimp)
2 1/2 tsp Creole seasoning (see Tip) (I used Slap Ya Mama)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
12 ounces Andouille sausage, diced (I used Aidells)
1 medium or large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 green bell peppers, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
21 oz San Marzano tomatoes with juice (about 3/4 of a 28 oz can)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
hot sauce, for serving, optional
2 T thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
To Prepare the Grits:
Bring 3 cups water, milk, butter, salt, and grits to a simmer in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Whisk, turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 25 to 30 minutes.
After the resting period, return the pot to low heat. (At this point, start preparing the shrimp.)
Intermittently, stir while the grits begin to thicken and become creamy, about 20 to 30 minutes. Add additional water a few tablespoons at a time if the grits thicken before they are cooked. When stirring, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent the grits from sticking and burning.
When the grits are done, remove from the heat and stir in the pepper and cheese.
Taste to adjust seasoning, adding up to an additional 1/2 teaspoon more salt, if desired.
To Prepare the Shrimp:
Pat the shrimp dry. Toss them in a medium bowl with the Creole seasoning; set aside.
Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet.)
Add the diced sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until the fat has rendered and the sausage is crispy along the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Working in batches, add the shrimp and cook about 1 1/2 minutes each side, until cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to the plate with the sausage.
Add the diced onion and bell pepper to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes and stock, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon.
Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add shrimp and sausage and cook until hot, about 1 minute.
Turn off the heat and swirl in the sour cream. Taste to adjust seasoning, adding salt or pepper as needed.
Serve immediately, topped with the hot shrimp mixture. Finish with a few dashes of hot sauce, if desired, and a sprinkling of scallions.
For a more savory profile, prepare the grits in 6 cups of low-sodium chicken stock instead of water and milk.
If you don’t have Creole seasoning, you can combine 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) and 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne.
I have two wonderful chicken and rice dishes to share. This dish was part of The New York Times’ List of The Best of 2022- I’m surprised that I missed it when it was first published. It was fresh, delicious, and can be enjoyed in every season. I prepared the chicken in a cast iron skillet on the stove, but it could also be grilled in warmer weather.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I omitted the olives and modified the method and proportions. I served the chicken over white Basmati rice with the cucumber salad and roasted broccoli on the side. Great.
Yield: 6 servings
2 cups plain whole milk Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano or mint
2 1/2 to 3 pounds (about 10) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
1 1/2 pounds cucumbers (preferably Japanese, Persian or mini, seedless cucumbers)
1 pound ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes, halved)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
4 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved (I omitted them)
white or brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional (I used 2 cups of rice with 1 tsp salt)
If serving chicken over rice, prepare the rice according to the package directions. (I used a rice cooker.)
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer 1/2 cup of the yogurt to a medium bowl and reserve.
Coat the chicken: To the large bowl, add the oregano and stir to combine. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add the chicken to the large bowl and turn to coat; set aside.
Start the salad: Smash the cucumbers with the side of your knife until craggy and split. Rip into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a colander placed in the sink. Slice or chop the tomatoes into bite-size pieces. Add to the cucumbers along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but most will drain away.) Toss to combine and leave to drain.
In a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
Scrape excess marinade off the chicken, then cook the chicken in batches, adding oil to the pan if necessary, until it’s well browned and releases from the pan, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a splatter screen! Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer to plates to rest. (For grilling info, see Tip.)
To the medium bowl of yogurt, add the feta and mash with a fork until a chunky paste forms.
Shake the cucumbers and tomatoes to get rid of any excess moisture. Add to the feta yogurt along with the olives (if using) and stir until coated. The balance is dependent on your produce and feta, so season to taste with salt and pepper until flavors are vivid.
Serve the chicken over rice with the cucumber-feta salad on the side.
Tip: To grill the chicken: Heat a grill to medium and clean and grease the grates. Grill the chicken over direct heat until it’s well browned and releases from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip and cook until cooked through, another 5 to 7 minutes. (For a gas grill, close the lid between flips.)
We may have a new favorite pasta dish in my house! I have already made this dish a couple of times. We didn’t even miss the garlic. 😉 It is an incredible version of the classic- a perfect weeknight dish.
The recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff favorite” recipe, inspired by sommelier Arjav Ezekiel, co-owner of Birdie’s in Austin, contributed by Anna Theoktisto. We ate it with our favorite garlic bread and green salad, of course.
Yield: Serves 4 to 5
2 T olive oil
1 medium or large yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 (4 oz) package chopped pancetta
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (28 oz) can whole plum tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely shredded (about 2/3 cup), plus more for serving
3/4 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, finely shredded (about 1/4 cup), plus more for serving
2 T unsalted butter
finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
Add onion, and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes.
Stir in pancetta; cook, stirring often, until pancetta begins to render, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Stir in crushed red pepper.
Using your hands or a wooden spoon, crush tomatoes; add tomatoes and their juices to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, until flavors meld and mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
Stir in salt. Remove from heat.
While sauce cooks, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high. Add rigatoni, and cook according to package instructions for al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.
Add rigatoni, 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, Parmigiano-Reggiano, pecorino Romano, and butter to sauce in skillet.
Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, and garnish with parsley. Serve with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino Romano cheeses, as desired.
My daughter was absolutely obsessed with making cowboy caviar this summer. This recipe made a large volume. The leftovers were perfect to have available to eat as a side, a dip, or over salad greens. Everyone loved it.
This version was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Margaux Laskey. We ate it with tortilla chips and grilled chicken sausages for dinner. 🙂 I served the diced mango as an additional topping on the side to please everyone in my crowd.
Yield: 8 cups
5 T olive oil
4 T freshly squeezed lime juice or red wine vinegar
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp granulated sugar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 beefsteak tomato, seeded, cored, and diced plus 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or any combination of tomatoes resulting about 1 cup diced)
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans or black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 to 4 cobs) or thawed, drained frozen sweet corn (about 8 ounces)(I used kernels from 3 ears of corn)
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems, plus more for garnish, if desired
1 avocado, diced, optional
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled, optional
1 mango, diced, optional
1-2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped, for garnish, optional
tortilla chips, for serving
Make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to combine.
Cut the corn kernels off the cob directly into the bowl with the dressing.
Add the tomatoes, red onion, black beans, pinto/black-eyed peas, bell pepper, jalapeño and cilantro. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
To serve, toss well and season to taste. Add the diced avocado, crumbled feta, and diced mango, if using.
Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with scallions and serve with tortilla chips. (Alternatively, the avocado can also be served over the top.)
We shopped at the farmers market to get beautiful corn and scallions for this summer side dish. I could happily eat corn and basil every day all summer long. 😉
This salad was very fresh and light. It was a perfect accompaniment to our dinner of grilled burgers (and Impossible burgers), pickles, tomato slices drizzled with basil vinaigrette, and potato chips, of course. We even had brownie ice cream sandwiches for dessert. A summer feast.
This recipe is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I incorporated my CSA tomatoes and backyard basil. We ate it immediately but the components can also be made in advance. Perfect.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
cooking oil spray, for grill grates
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
4 ears of corn, husked
1 bunch scallions (I used 4 huge scallions)
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice (I used 1/2 of a large lime)
2 T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz mixed heirloom tomatoes, chopped, and/or cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup sweet basil, chiffonade, plus more for garnish
Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate (before heating).
Grill husked corn and scallions, turning occasionally, until very tender and charred and blackened in spots, 10–12 minutes for corn, 5–7 minutes for scallions. (Alternatively, you can cut kernels from cobs in slabs and slice scallions into ¼”–½” pieces; cook together in a dry large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, turning and stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, about 4 minutes.)
Transfer to a cutting board and let cool.
Meanwhile, whisk lime juice, sherry vinegar, salt, and olive oil in a large bowl to combine; season vinaigrette generously with freshly ground black pepper.
Cut corn kernels from cobs in slabs and slice scallions into 1/2-inch pieces.
Add corn kernels, scallions, tomatoes, and basil to vinaigrette and gently toss to combine.
Top corn and scallion salad with more basil just before serving.
Do ahead: Corn and scallions can be grilled and vinaigrette can be made 3 days ahead; wrap corn and scallions separately and chill. Cover and chill vinaigrette. Salad (without basil topping) can be assembled 3 hours ahead; cover and chill.
This dish is absolutely perfect for entertaining. It is not only quick to prepare, but also needs to rest at room temperature prior to serving. By placing the warm grilled chicken over the raw corn kernels, as well as the thinly sliced tomatoes and red onion, the juices and seasonings enhance every layer.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. I modified the proportions. Next time I would consider adding even more corn, noted below. We ate it with roasted potatoes and green salad. Healthy and delicious. A great summer dish!
1 1/2 pounds large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced (I used 3 large tomatoes plus 1/2 pound Campari tomatoes)
3 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob, plus more, if desired
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
fresh oregano leaves, for garnish, optional
In a medium bowl, coat the chicken with 4 tablespoons olive oil, chili powder and 1 teaspoon salt; set aside. (You can do this step up to 1 day ahead; covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking.)
Thinly slice the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Drain excess liquid before using.
Hold each ear of corn upright over a bowl; slice off the kernels. Repeat with remaining ears.
Using a mandoline, slice the red onion into 1/8-inch rounds.
On a large platter, layer the corn kernels, red onion, and (seasoned and drained) tomatoes. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, if desired. (I omitted the additional oil.)
Heat the grill to medium-high.
When ready to grill, clean the grates with a grill brush, then lightly grease the grates.
Grill the chicken until browned and cooked through, and it releases easily from the grates, 5 to 7 minutes per side.
Transfer the chicken to the prepared platter; let rest for 5 to 20 minutes. Garnish with fresh oregano before serving, as desired.
Once again, Ina did not disappoint. 🙂 This classic baked macaroni and cheese recipe incorporated two of my ultimate favorite cheeses and was upgraded with a colorful tomato topping. It was really delicious- a new favorite!
This dish was part of my husband’s birthday feast this year. I was able to assemble the dish the day prior to baking it which was very helpful. I actually grated the cheeses two days in advance- which would be completely unnecessary if making this dish on its own, of course.
The recipe was adapted from FoodNetwork.com, contributed by Ina Garten. I modified the method and used Campari tomatoes and panko in the topping.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8 as a main dish or 10 to 12 as a side dish
1 pound (16 oz) elbow macaroni or cavatappi (I used 17.6 oz Gigli pasta)
4 cups (1 quart) milk (I used whole milk)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (about 4 cups)(I used Swiss Raw Milk Le Gruyère aged over 120 days from Trader Joe’s)
8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)(I used Cabot 3-year extra-sharp white cheddar)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 Campari tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (I set my oven to convection.)
Grate the cheeses with a food processor, if desired.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain well. Reserve the pot for the sauce.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it.
Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in the large pot (the pasta cooking pot) and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
Off the heat, add the shredded Gruyere, cheddar, 1 tablespoon coarse salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Add the cooked pasta and stir well.
Pour into a 3-quart baking dish. (I chose a shallow baking dish to increase the surface area for tomatoes and crispy panko topping.)*If making in advance, cover and refrigerate after this step.
Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. (I sliced the tomatoes about 1/4-inch thick.)
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine with the panko, and sprinkle on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the pasta is browned on the top.
Note: To make ahead, put the macaroni and cheese in the baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Put the tomatoes and panko on top and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.