Fresh Blueberry Fritters

blueberry fritters-3Celebrate summer, and the glut of blueberries in the market this weekend, with this extra special breakfast treat!

The batter comes together in about 5 minutes. Another 5 to heat up the oil and 4-5 minutes of cooking time and that’s it. I’m giving you a heads up on the timing because you will want to serve and eat these as soon as they are cool enough to touch.

When you are going to spurge on something like this, you should enjoy it at its utmost best…and that is hot out of the fryer with a generous dusting of powdered sugar.

Recipe adapted from Southern Fried, by James Villas.

Wishing everyone a safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

Fresh Blueberry Fritters

Serves 4
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 Large egg
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • confectioner's sugar (for sprinkling)

Note

I find that it is useful to cook one fritter first as a test to make sure the inside is cooked all the way through before continuing with the rest of the batter. That way you can adjust the temperature of the oil if necessary.

If you have a cookie scoop, it is an excellent way to drop the batter into the hot oil.

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and nutmeg until well blended. Gradually add the the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon (this batter is too thick to use a whisk) until smooth. Fold in the blueberries.
2. In a small, deep pan, heat 2-3 inches of the vegetable oil to 350-375 degrees, checking temperature with a thermometer. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time and fry until golden brown on one side. Turn and brown the other side then remove to a wire rack and dust generously with confectioner's sugar. Repeat with the remaining batter and serve hot.

 

 

Cooks Illustrated (Really Good) Oatmeal Muffins

Oatmeal MuffinsThe test kitchen at Cooks Illustrated figured out a way to bake with rolled oats and end up with muffins that actually taste like oats, or actually more like oatmeal with brown sugar and pecans, or even big fluffy oatmeal cookies. In any case, what you get is delicious.

The trick is to toasts the oats in a bit of butter until golden and grind them into a flour in your food processor… an extra step, but worth it.

Cooks Illustrated Oatmeal Muffins

Serves 12
From magazine Cooks Illustrated

Ingredients

for the topping

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup pecans (chopped finely)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

for the muffins

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (for toasting oats)
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 Large eggs (beaten)

Directions

for the topping
1. Combine oats, flour, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Drizzle melted butter over mixture and stir to ­thoroughly combine; set aside.
for the muffins
2. Grease and flour 12-cup muffin tin. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add oats and cook, stirring frequently, until oats turn golden brown and smell of cooking popcorn, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer oats to food processor and process into fine meal, about 30 seconds. Add flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to oats and pulse until combined, about 3 pulses.
3. Stir 6 tablespoons melted butter and sugar together in large bowl until smooth. Add milk and eggs and whisk until smooth. Using whisk, gently fold half of oat mixture into wet ingredients, tapping whisk against side of bowl to release clumps. Add remaining oat mixture and continue to fold with whisk until no streaks of flour remain. Set aside batter for 20 minutes to thicken. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (about ½ cup batter per cup; cups will be filled to rim). Evenly sprinkle topping over muffins (about 2 tablespoons per muffin). Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 25 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
5. Let muffins cool in muffin tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and serve or let cool completely before serving.

Vietnamese Quinoa Salad

Thai Quinoa SaladDon’t let this simple looking salad fool you, it is boldly flavored with the same ingredients as Nuoc Cham, that wonderful sweet, sour, salty, spicy sauce that you use as a dip for vietnamese spring rolls.

To get the right texture and crunch, cut the vegetables into tiny dice…1/4 inch for the red bell pepper and the cucumber and even smaller for the carrot. And you choose the combination of herbs and the amount of heat that you want.

Note that there is no oil in the dressing for this salad.  This keeps the whole dish cool and light and perfect as a side for any grilled meat, fish or seafood…especially those with an asian flair.  Another option would be to add a bit of roasted chicken to this quinoa, serve of a bed of lettuce and make it a meal.

Thai Quinoa Salad

Serves 4-6
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

for the salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 Small red bell pepper (cored and cut into 1/4 inch dice)
  • 1 Small cucumber (cut in half, seeds scraped out, then cut into 1/4 inch dice)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and cut into 1/8 inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, cilantro or mint (or a combination of any of these herbs)

for the dressing

  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • red pepper flakes (to taste)

Directions

1. Rinse the quinoa under cold water then add to a medium saucepan with the salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until water is absorbed and quinoa in tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes then remove cover, stir and let cool completely.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and sugar until sugar ins dissolved. Stir in the fish sauce and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
3. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa with the chopped red bell pepper, carrot and cucumber and mix well. Add the dressing and toss. Gently mix in the fresh herb or herbs of your choice. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Tarragon Salad with Southern Fried Chicken

Attention Chicago friends, you have a new resource for all things cookbookery at 2142 N. Halsted St in Lincoln Park.   If you are as recipe obsessed as I am, set aside some time to browse through some 4000 cookbooks, neatly organized by theme at Read It And Eat, a charming bookshop that also has a beautiful demonstration kitchen and large dining table for visiting cookbook authors and, I assume, events and tastings.

After an absurd amount of time perusing the options, I finally settled upon Salmagundi, by Sally Butcher.  It’s a beautifully photographed book with the subtitle “A Celebration of Salads From around the World” and in it I saw promises of lots of new flavors for our summertime salads.

Once back home in North Carolina, it was a task to choose one of the 15o recipes to sample first. The “Bavarian-Style Kartoffelsalat” (potato salad) caught my eye as did the “Red Rice Salad with Sushi and Wasabi Dressing.

But then I saw the “Tarragon Salad with Southern Fried Chicken” and it was clear; what better way to test this author and her comprehensive tome of salad recipes than to see how she is representing my own neck of the woods?

And it was a winner… a keeper… a fried chicken salad that is most definitely a notch above.

I show it above in a slightly deconstructed format as I like to serve salads with lots of ingredients this way so that each person can compose their own plate to their liking. But the magic you’ll find here is in the buttermilk brined/cornmeal crusted chicken breast, super tender and perfectly seasoned, and the light vinegar based buttermilk dressing flavored with fresh tarragon.

The textures and flavors in this salad will please adults and kids alike, making it the perfect lunch or supper for summertime entertaining.

I’m very much looking forward to my next experiment from Salmagundi and don’t forget to visit Read It And Eat next time you are in Chicago!

Tarragon Salad with Southern Fried Chicken

Serves 4-5
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

for the chicken

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • oil for pan-frying (vegetable or peanut)

for the salad

  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh tarragon (leaves chopped)
  • 1 bunch lettuce (romaine or bibb)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 4 slices bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces and cooked until crispy)
  • 2 ears fresh corn, cooked and sliced from the cob (see note above)

Note

Recipe slightly adapted from Salmagundi, by Sally Butcher.

Chicken can be coated with corneal crust, covered and refrigerated for up to one day in advance.

Buttermilk dressing can be made on day in advance.

The best and easiest way to prepare corn on the cob: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place whole un-husked cobs directly on the oven rack and bake for about 12 minutes. Let cool a bit then remove the husks. the silks will come off with the husks. This is a great method whether you need two cobs of corn or 20. (You will need to increase cooking time a bit if you fill up the entire oven with corn but it still works brilliantly!)

Directions

for the chicken
1. Trim the chicken and cut each breast into 3-4 pieces lengthwise, then cut each piece in half crosswise. Whisk the vinegar, buttermilk, garlic and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat evenly with the buttermilk mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. If you are in a hurry, cover and leave a room temperature for 30 minutes.
2. In a shallow dish, mix the corn meal with the chile pepper and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Coat each piece of chicken with the cornmeal on every side, patting gently to adhere, and set upon a baking sheet or plate in a single layer.
3. Heat a non-stick skillet with about 1/3 inch of vegetable oil over high heat. Pan-fry the chicken in batches, waiting until one side is dark golden brown before turning, until chicken is crispy and brown and cooked through. This will only take 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a wire rack when done.
for the salad dressing
4. Whisk together the buttermilk, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar, fresh tarragon and salt and pepper. Set aside.
for the salad
5. Layer the lettuce with the onion, tomatoes, corn and bacon. Add the chicken (cut into pieces if you like).
6. Toss and serve with the buttermilk dressing.

 

 

Zucchini Mozzarella Crostini with Basil Vinaigrette

Spring BruschettaToday I’m offering up an easy, almost no cook, make ahead appetizer or lunch item that will be a big hit. Shaved fresh zucchini and fresh mozzarella are always a great combination but add this so-good-you’ll-want-to-drink-it vinaigrette and you’ll really have something special.

All of the components to this dish can be made up to a day ahead of time so you’ll just have a quick assembly before serving.  Keep the topping ingredients in the refrigerator and the toasted bread in a zip lock bag at room temperature. But be sure and bring the shaved zucchini, mozzarella and vinaigrette back to room temperature before you make and serve the crostini in order to maximize the flavors.

If you want to make this a gluten-free option, without any sacrifice in flavor, I suggest using Udi’s French Bread . You can find this in the freezer section of Whole Foods and other major supermarkets. Just let the bread come to room temperature before slicing, brush with olive oil, add a little sprinkle of salt and pepper and toast at 350 degrees until crispy.

This recipe is just slightly adapted from Southern My Way, by Gena Knox.  The number of serving will vary depending upon the width of the baguette that you use. In general, it should make 8 larger or up to 16 smaller crostini.

Zucchini Mozzarella Crostini with Basil Vinaigrette

Serves 8
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 Large bunch fresh basil (about 2 cups loosely packed leaves)
  • 1 Medium shallot (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Crostini

  • 2-3 Small zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 baguette
  • olive oil (for brushing)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 ball of fresh, water packed mozzarella

Directions

Vinaigrette
1. Puree basil, shallot, white balsamic, water, sugar and salt in a blender, stopping as needed to scrape down side with a rubber scraper. With motor running, slowly pour in olive oil and puree until smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.
Crostini
2. Using a vegetable peeler, shave zucchini into thin ribbons and gently toss with olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Slice baguette on the diagonal about 1/2 inch thick. Brush with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake until crispy, about 10 minutes.
4. Arrange crostini on a plater and curl zucchini ribbons on top. Tear mozzarella into pieces and divide among the crostini. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper to serve.

 

 

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans, Lemon and Mint

sproutsOk so this dish might not win any beauty contests, but if you like brussels sprouts, and maybe even if you don’t, these will take the prize for taste, texture and simplicity.

As a matter of fact, I found this to be quite addictive, which is fine because it’s a healthy little number too.  You could serve it with any roasted or grilled meat or fish.  Or maybe treat it like a hash and cover it with a sizzling fried egg… that would be amazing.

I just finished it cold, straight from the frig. But I’m a Brussels sprout fanatic so pay no attention.

The lemon and mint give the sprouts a light and fresh warm weather vibe, making this a great side dish to take you right through the summer.

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans, Lemon and Mint

Serves 4
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • lb Brussels Sprouts (trimmed)
  • 2 Large shallots (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 handful pecans (lightly toasted and chopped finely)
  • 1 Large lemon (zested)
  • 5-6 leaves fresh mint (minced (plus more for garnish, if desired))

Directions

1. Cut each Brussels sprout in half then shred them finely with a sharp knife.
2. In a medium skillet over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to caramelize, 5-6 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and add the shredded Brussels sprouts. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are cooked to your liking, adjusting the heat if necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in pecans, lemon zest and mint and toss to combine.
3. Serve with additional mint and/or lemon zest as a garnish if desired.

Spicy Greens with Pan-Roasted Corn and Creamy Manchego Dressing

Spanish SaladHere’s an excellent special occasion salad full of the flavors of Spain… Serrano ham, Marcona almonds and Manchego cheese. You can substitute Prosciutto for the Serrano and regular almonds for the Marconas, if you need to. And although parmesan could stand in for the Manchego, it really won’t be quite the same.  Manchego has topped the list of my favorite cheeses for the last few years so I’m very happy that it is widely available these days.

This lovely salad comes from Chef Henry Salgado of Spanish River Grill in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. It is adapted from Field to Feast, Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs and Artisans.

Spicy Greens with Roasted Corn and Creamy Manchego Dressing

Serves 6
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonaise
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk (or more as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon minced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels
  • 1 bunch spicy greens (such as arugula, dandelion or mustard, or a mixture)
  • 2 tablespoons Marcona almonds
  • 4-5 thin slices Serrano ham

Directions

1. Combine Manchego, sour cream, mayonnaise, buttermilk, green onions, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender and process until smooth and creamy, adding more buttermilk if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Cover and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Cook corn until golden brown then remove from pan. Lower heat to medium and cook the Serrano ham slices until crisped…this will only take a few seconds per side. Cut ham into slivers. Toss corn with the fresh greens and and dressing (you won't need to use it all) and toss to coat well. Garnish salad with the crispy ham and almonds. Season with fresh ground black pepper if desired.

Chopped Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing

chopped saladWhile we endure one last (hopefully) chilly winterish night here in North Carolina, I turned to the summertime chapter of Weeknight Fresh and Fast, by Kristine Kidd and put together this tasty main course salad.  Using cherry tomatoes instead of garden fresh heirlooms was my only concession to the fact that it is not yet summer.

Use the chipotle chilies in adobo to control the spiciness of the dressing.  I minced a small chili then added about 2 teaspoons of the sauce for extra smokey flavor without a huge amount of heat.  Taste as you go to get it right for you and your family.

Enjoy this salad now, but be sure to save it, pin it, or bookmark it for this summer when you want a wonderful no-cook dinner and the basil is growing right outside your kitchen door.

Chopped Salad with Lemon Chipotle Dressing

Serves 3-4
From magazine margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 roasted chicken
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced basil
  • 1 Small shallot (peeled and minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chilies (from a can of chipotle chilies with adobo, minced with sauce)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cucumber (cut in half lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 Large romaine lettuce heart (chopped)
  • 1 Large avocado (diced)

Directions

1. Pull the chicken meat from the bones, discarding the skin. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mustard and lemon juice and whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Mix in the basil, shallot and chipotle with its sauce. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Mix 1/4 cup of the dressing into to chicken and let it marinate while preparing the remaining ingredients.
2. Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell pepper into the chicken. Mix in the lettuce. Add enough dressing to lightly coat the ingredients, Taste and adjust the seasoning. Gently mix in the avocado and serve.

 

Crispy Chicken with Two Mustards

crispy mustard chicken-3If there is a bad recipe in Cook What You Love, By Bob and Melinda Blanchard, I have yet to find it.  I turned to this one night when I needed to get dinner prepped ahead of time and only had a few boring boneless, skinless chicken breasts at hand.

The chicken is coated in a mixture that includes two mustards.  Look closely and you can see the seeds from the whole grain mustard…it seems like a lot and the coating mixture is thick, but trust me, it works. The flavors are spot on.

Look for smallish chicken breast halves…I used Bell and Evans.  For starters, they almost always taste best but also, by the time you pound them out and add the coating, even a small piece of chicken becomes humongous. Just a quarter-inch of oil and a non-stick skillet make this a super easy fried chicken dinner.

Crispy Chicken with Two Mustards

Serves 4
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 Large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup panko
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (small)
  • olive oil for sautéing

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustards, egg yolks, and cream and set aside.
2. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and mix well. Place the bread crumbs in another shallow bowl and set aside as well.
3. Trim the chicken breasts, cover with a piece of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound each one to 1/4 inch thickness. Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Dip into the mustard mixture and coat thoroughly. Finish by coating with the bread panko, patting gently to adhere.
4. At this point, you can lay the chicken on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate for several hours…or continue with the recipe right away.
5. In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom generously over medium high heat. Cook the chicken, leaving it undisturbed until golden brown on each side and cooked through…about 3-4 minutes per side.
6. Serve with additional freshly ground black pepper and minced chives or parsley.

Tuna Souvlaki with Greek Salsa

Tuna with Greek SalsaHere’s a recipe for Gertrude in Chicago, IL who is looking for Just The Right Tuna Recipe.  This is a dish that you will be able to throw together on a work/school night but it is also beautiful and delicious enough to serve at any dinner party.

Sharpen your knife and get those salsa ingredients chopped finely so that you will get all the flavors in each bite.  As for the tomatoes, just buy whatever looks best at the market.  Cherry tomatoes tend to be the best bet in the winter and plum tomatoes would be a good choice for this salsa during the summer months.  Either way, remember to remove the seeds and pulp so that the salsa won’t get watery after you add the salt.

Some people like their tuna just barely seared and others a bit more well done.  This recipe works brilliantly either way and the individual skewers make cooking to order a breeze.

I’m taking requests so let me know if you are looking for Just The Right ____Recipe! (fill in the blank)

Tuna Souvlaki with Greek Salsa

Serves 4
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

greek salsa

  • 1 1/2 cup seeded and finely chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup cubed feta cheese (tiny cubes about 1/4 inch)
  • 12 Greek olives (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

tuna

  • 1 1/2lb fresh Ahi tuna
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • lemon (zested)
  • 1 generous pinch red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

1. Make the salsa: In a medium bowl, mix together the tomatoes, onion, feta, olives, parsley, olive oil and salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
2. Cut the tuna into 1 1/2 inch pieces. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Add the tuna to the bowl and toss gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or cover and refrigerate if you are prepping ahead of time.
3. Thread the tuna onto metal or wooden skewers and lay them on a baking tray. Season them on both sides with a bit of salt and pepper. Heat a ridged grill pan over high heat. Wipe or spray the surface with olive oil. Sear the tuna skewers over high heat until cooked to your liking, turning just once.
4. Serve hot, or at room temperature, with the greek salsa.

Proud Larry’s Grilled Chicken Salad

Proud Larry's Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken salad is usually a safe bet for lunch so like most of us, I’ve ordered it countless times and tasted countless versions.

It should always be good…it’s pretty hard to mess up….yet rarely am I blown away.  But  Proud Larry’s,  a fixture in Oxford, Mississippi for the last 20 years, proved to me that a simple grilled chicken salad can still impress.  The ingredients are fresh and the chicken is tender and warm.  However, it’s probably the homemade Citrus-Cumin Dressing that makes this salad so memorable.

Here is my copycat recipe and I think it comes pretty close to the original.   This tasty combination will become a favorite to serve for lunch or dinner.

Proud Larry’s Grilled Chicken Salad

Serves 6
By author margaret@TheRightRecipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup grapeseed oil (or other light vegetable oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16oz fresh spring greens
  • 1/2 Small red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 8oz button mushrooms (stemmed and thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (lightly toasted)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 Small chicken breast halves (grilled...see note below.)

Note

Go to No-Stick Grilled Chicken Marinade recipe for best grilled chicken for this salad.

Directions

1. For the vinaigrette, place first 6 ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake well. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary adding a pinch of salt and pepper as well. (Oranges and lemons can have different levels of sweet/sour so always taste and tweak)
2. In a large bowl, toss together the greens, red onions, mushrooms and almonds. Shake vinaigrette well and drizzle about 1/2 cup over the greens. Toss to coat well and add more vinaigrette if desired.
3. Divide salad between 6 shallow bowls, sprinkle each with a bit of feta and top with warm, sliced grilled chicken and serve right away with additional ground black pepper to taste.

No-Stick Marinade for Grilled Chicken

No-Stick Marinade for ChickenThis all-purpose marinade for chicken is a great recipe to have in your repertoire.  What you get is nicely seasoned chicken that is versatile enough to add to almost any salad, sandwich or pasta. It also makes grilling easy by creating a lovely non-stick exterior. The recipe is (only slightly adapted) from New South Grilling, by Robert St. John and he notes that it can be use on any poultry, even as a pre-baste and seasoning for your Thanksgiving turkey.

Click here for an excellent recipe featuring this chicken… Proud Larry’s Gilled Chicken Salad.

No-Stick Marinade for Grilled Chicken

Serves 2 1/2 cups
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup light vegetable oil (such as grapeseed)
  • 1 cup light olive oil
  • warm water as needed
  • 2 tablespoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt

Directions

1. Place the egg yolks, mustard, and vinegar in a food processor. Blend for 1-2 minutes.
2. Slowly drizzle oils into the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time. If the marinade becomes too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of warm water. Once all of the oil has been incorporated, add seasoned salt, garlic powder, white pepper, lemon pepper, and celery salt until incorporated.
3. Mixture should have consistency of mayonnaise. Store covered in the refrigerator until needed. (will keep for 2 weeks)
4. Brush liberally onto chicken 1-2 hours before grilling.

 

Banana Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

banana coffee cakeWhat do you need to know about this lovely banana coffee cake?  Well, it uses 4 of those bruised up, way too ripe to eat straight-out, bananas. It has a clever method for creating a gentle cinnamon swirl and a yummy big crumb topping out of one simple and easy mixture.  It gets its moisture from a large dose of creamy Greek yogurt and will keep for several days if you wrap it well.  I think it may even taste best at day 2, when all the flavors have had time to hang out a bit. Oh, and it makes your kitchen smell amazing!

Banana Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Serves 15
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (whole or 2%)
  • 4 over- ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

swirl and topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (cold, divided)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a tube pan with a removable bottom.
2. For the cake: Using a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the yogurt, bananas and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined. (do not over mix after you add the dry ingredients)
3. Make the Swirl and Topping mixture. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Take 6 tablespoons of the cold butter and grate it into the flour/sugar mixture, using a large hole grater. Reserve the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter (to add later) Use your fingers to rub the grated butter into the dry mixture until you have a crumbly dry consistency.
4. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared tube pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Sprinkle half of the Swirl and Topping mixture over the batter in the pan. Now add the rest of the cake batter to the pan and once again, smooth it gently to cover the swirl and even out the surface. Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter that you reserved from earlier and pour it into the remaining cinnamon swirl mixture. Stir with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Use your fingers help the mixture clump together then sprinkle them on the top of the cake batter, a thick layer covering the entire surface.
5. Bake 1 hour, or until cake is golden around the edges and cake tester, or long wooden skewer, comes out clean ( crumbs attached is fine…just no wet batter) Let cool 30 minutes before removing coffee cake from pan.

Salmon with Balsamic Thai Chile Glaze

Salmon Balsamic Thai Chile-5If you like teriyaki anything you will love this salmon recipe. However, the flavors are infinitely more complex and fresh tasting than what you might find in a bottled glaze from the Asian food aisle. This is that kind of sweet/tart glaze that is a decadent treat for adults and might just get kids to try fish for the first time.  I like to cut the salmon fillets in half crosswise so each piece has an approximately even thickness and can be cooked accordingly. Adapted from The New Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook, by Ellen Brown.

Salmon with Balsamic Thai Chile Glaze

Serves 6
By author margaret @ The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 scallions
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 cup sweet Thai chile sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 4-6 salmon fillets (skinless)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions

1. Slice the green tops of the scallions and set aside to use as a garnish. Mince the white parts and put into a small bowl with the sesame oil, garlic and ginger. In another small bowl, stir together the chile sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Set all of these aside while you sear the salmon.
2. Heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet over hight heat. Add the vegetable oil and coat the pan evenly. Season the salmon fillets with salt and pepper. Add the salmon fillets to the hot skillet and sear until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Gently turn the fillets with a spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the fish is just barely cooked through. Remove from the skillet and cover to keep warm. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels and return it to the stove, turning the heat down to medium.
3. Add the sesame oil, garlic, ginger, scallion mixture and stir, about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chile sauce, brown sugar, soy and vinegar mixture and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes until syrupy. Stir in the lime juice.
4. Return the salmon to the skillet with the glaze. Use a brush or a spoon to liberally coat the filets and warm gently. Garnish with the scallion greens and serve with freshly ground black pepper.

My Best Southern Cornmeal Muffins

corn bread muffinsWhite or yellow cornmeal, sugar or no sugar, cast iron or not….it’s a waste of time to argue over what constitutes the perfect southern cornbread recipe.

The fact of the matter is that you like what you grew up with, what your mother and grandmother served at Sunday dinner after church, the last thing to come out of the oven as the call to table was sounded. If you timed it right, you could grab one while it was still almost too hot to touch and slice it open to insert a big pat of butter, remembering to put the top back on quickly so the melting butter would permeate both halves at once.

This is my idea of the perfect cornbread muffin.  Shatteringly crisp on the bottom and sides with almost a pudding-like moistness on the inside.

The ingredients are basic.  It’s the technique that stands between ho-hum and yum-yum.

My Best Southern Cornbread Muffins

Serves 6-12
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups self-rising white corn meal mix (look for Martha White or White Lily brands)
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk (whole buttermilk, if you can find it)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (plus a bit more for greasing the muffin tin)
  • butter for serving

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Put cornmeal mix in a medium bowl. Beat the egg in a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup (or another medium bowl), add buttermilk and vegetable oil and mix until smooth. Pour buttermilk mixture over the cornmeal and stir until combined. Do not over mix…a few small lumps are fine. Set aside while you prepare the pan.
2. Grease a 12-count muffin tin by drizzling 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil in each cup and spreading it around, making sure to coat the sides. Place muffin tin in the hot oven until very hot….you should be able to smell the pan and the oil cooking almost, but not quite, burning …this will only take 5-6 minutes if your oven is nice and hot.
3. Carefully take the hot pan out of the oven and immediately fill with cornmeal batter, each cup about 3/4 full. The batter should sizzle and pop as you pour it in. Do this quickly and immediately return the pan to the hot oven. Bake until dark golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
4. When the muffins come out of the oven, immediately remove them from the pan (otherwise the crusts will steam and turn soft) Serve right away with salted butter.
5. Note: The muffins will still be great for a couple of hours but they are so amazing straight out of the oven that you'll have to try one, slathered with salted butter, right away.

Fresh Shrimp Salad with Lime

Fresh Shrimp Salad with LimeYou know that the Super Bowl party you are going to will have lots of great food…chips and dips, fried things, BBQ things, and sweets galore.  So I propose making this absolutely delicious shrimp salad to add something light and fresh to the festivities.

You can make it several hours in advance….just hold off on adding the salt and the fresh cilantro until serving time if you do.  The flavors will be perfect with all the traditional party favorites and you will not be packing up any leftovers after the game.  Another beautiful recipe adapted from Simply Mexican, by Lourdes Castro.

Fresh Shrimp Salad with Lime

Serves 6-12
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2lb shrimp (peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise)
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes (quartered)
  • 1 Small red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (chopped)
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño pepper (stemmed and chopped, with or without seeds…they contain most of the heat)
  • 2 avocado (pitted, peeled and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 7 limes
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1. Cook the shrimp: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Add the shrimp to the boiling water and cook for exactly one minute. Remove the shrimp from the pot with a slotted spoon and immediately add to the ice water to cool thoroughly. Drain and dry the shrimp a bit on paper towels then put them in a clean bowl.
2. Add the tomatoes, red pepper, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and avocado to the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper and toss lightly.
3. Make the dressing: Finely zest 3 of the limes and juice 6 of them. Combine juice and zest in a small bowl and mix in horseradish, ketchup and olive oil. Pour the dressing over the shrimp and vegetables and toss. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.
4. Garnish with extra cilantro and lime wedges.

Roasted Red Onion Salad with Dijon Balsamic Dressing

 

Roasted Red Onion Salad

Although this salad is really quite season-less, it seems particularly well suited to these cold winter months.  The red onions, deeply caramelized in a hot oven, are a wonderful match for the buttery Manchego cheese and crispy pine nuts.

The recipe will make twice the dressing that you need so store it into a recycled bottle in the frig and use it on any salad you make this week…it’s an all-around great vinaigrette.  If you happen to have the grill fired up, you can grill the onions in about half the time that it takes to roast them.

Roasted Red Onion Salad with Dijon Balsamic Dressing

Serves 8-12
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (each)
  • 2 Large red onions (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch slices)
  • olive oil (to brush onions before roasting)
  • 5oz baby arugula (washed and dried)
  • 1 head red leaf variety of lettuce (washed, dried and torn into bite sized pieces)
  • 1/2 cup pinenuts (lightly toasted in a dry skillet, pay attention)
  • 1/2 cup manchego cheese shavings (use a vegetable peeler)

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard and the vinegar. Slowly add both oils, while whisking, until incorporated. Add salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of the onion slices with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, in a single layer, and roast 15-20 minutes, turning once half way through. The onions should have caramelized brown edges and be very soft in the middle. Remove from baking sheet to a cutting board and let cool. When cool, cut into bite sized pieces.
3. In a large bowl, toss both lettuces with the onions and toasted pine nuts. Drizzle with the Dijon balsamic dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with cheese shavings and serve.

 

Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette

Chipotle Meatballs with Crema

Chipotle Meatballs

I’ve lost my appetite for most chain-type Mexican restaurants. So many of the dishes are heavy and rich…looking different but all tasting the same. However, cooking at home with the incredible ingredients and flavors of Mexico is becoming more and more fun.

These meatballs are an example of a warm, comforting and spicy Mexican meal that is also light, fresh and delicious. Lourdes Castro has a wealth of wonderful recipes in her book, Simply Mexican, and I will probably, eventually, try them all.  I’ve adapted this one slightly to use canned tomatoes and I’ve brought the heat down a bit (those chipotle chilies pack a punch). Feel free to add more if you dare.

Note: It’s easy to make homemade crema. Just stir together equal amounts of sour cream and heavy cream and season it with a bit of salt.

Chipotle Meatballs with Crema

Serves 6
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Small onion (quartered)
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 chipotle chili (from a can of chilies in adobo sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the can of chilies)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4lb ground sirloin
  • 3/4lb ground pork
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup flour ((approx…to lightly coat the meatballs))
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (for browning the meatballs)
  • mexican crema (homemade or store-bought)
  • fresh cilantro

Directions

1. Make the sauce. In a blender, combine the onion, tomatoes, chipotles, adobo sauce, honey and salt and puree until smooth. Transfer mixture to a medium sauce pan, add chicken broth, and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, until sauce is thick and fragrant. (add more chicken broth if sauce gets too thick) Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
2. Make the meatballs. Combine the ground meats in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, oregano, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, mix the ingredients until incorporated…no not over mix. Roll out 1 inch balls and then roll lightly in the flour to coat.
3. Brown the meatballs. Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the meatballs in small batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Brown on all sides but do not cook through…they will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from pan and set aside as they are browned.
4. Simmer the meatballs. Pour the sauce into the pan that you browned the meatballs in. Stir to scrape up any bits meats and bring to a simmer. Return the meatballs to the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to stay warm until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with creme.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Shallots and Capers

Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts-2Here’s a quick and easy way to liven up a simple dish of roasted cauliflower and brussel’s sprouts from Bi Rite Market’s Eat Good Food cookbook.  But if you enjoy the briny punch of capers, you will probably enjoy this sauce on just about any roasted veg.  I cooked these on two separate small sheets to make sure that each would be cooked properly (the cauliflower took about 5 minutes longer than the sprouts), then tossed them together on one sheet with the Caper Lemon Butter for a deliciously dressed up side dish.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Caper Lemon Butter

Serves 6
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • Medium head cauliflower (separated into 1-inch florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 1lb brussels sprouts (halved or quartered)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons capers (rinsed and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Large lemon (zest and juice)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon on olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spread into a single layer. Repeat with brussels sprouts on another baking sheet. Place both pans in the oven and roast until tender and golden. Stir once after about 10 minutes.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and 1/2 teaspoon of slat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent. Add the capers and thyme and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey, lemon zest and juice.
3. Drizzle the sauce on the vegetables and toss to combine. Season with more salt and lemon juice if necessary

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes-2If you’ve never baked with browned butter, you are in for a treat here.  It’s quite amazing how much flavor can be added to a simple buttercream just by cooking the butter until the milk solids are a toasty brown. And may I suggest that you use one of the European butters that are widely available now (i.e. Plugra, Kerrygold) to really take it over the top!

I’ve paired this wonderful frosting with a very simple cocoa based chocolate cupcake that can be thrown together with a small saucepan, a bowl and a whisk.  The flavor is mild, similar to a red velvet cake, and the crumb is tender and moist.

Its an easy bit of baking to warm the soul (and the kitchen) on this frosty day in January.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes

Serves 20-24
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks butter (unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-count cupcake pans with liners.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa, salt and water and cook, stirring, until melted and combined. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the melted butter mixture and whisk until completely blended. Add the remaining butter mixture and whisk. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking each to blend completely before adding the next. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until smooth.
4. Fill the cupcake pans, about 2/3 of the way full. Bake until cupcakes are set, about 10-12 minutes. (the centers will be puffed and bounce back gently when touched) Cool completely before icing.

Browned Butter Frosting

Serves enough for 24 cupcakes
By author margaret at The Right Recipe

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into pieces)
  • 8oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn a rich brown color. The butter will take on a nutty smell. Watch carefully that the butter does not actually burn. Pour into a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator until it hardens to the consistency of softened butter.
2. Beat the browned butter with an electric hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the cream cheese and the vanilla. Slowly sift in the powdered sugar while mixing to make a spreadable frosting.