mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops with grilled baked potatoes


Getting depressed about the summer coming to an end? It’s bittersweet for me.  We all know that I love autumn, especially September, but I will miss the long days and warm weather.  I’ll also miss my little brother who heads back to college in upstate NY for his senior year tomorrow! Anyway, don’t despair, there’s still some summer left! And here’s an amazing meal of which all the components can be cooked on the grill while you sit outside and enjoy the last days of August.  Some of you may have seen that I posted a “blog preview” of this meal — I know I made you wait long enough for the recipe (sorry) ! 

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Mint and cumin-spiced lamb chops

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground paprika
  • 2 tsp. allspice (shout out to the neighbors who ground us some fresh allspice!)
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 lbs. lamb chops
  • Vegetable oil

Grilled baked potatoes with chive butter

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 4 baking potatoes


For the lamb:

Pulse onions, parsley, mint, cumin, paprika, allspice, and crushed red pepper in a food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt.  Place lamb in a large dish and rub with the spice mixture. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours (you can also marinate overnight).

Prepare grill for medium-high heat and oil the grate. Grill lamb to desired doneness and let rest five minutes before serving.

For the potatoes:

In a small bowl, mix the butter, chives, sour cream, salt and pepper until smooth. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. 

Slice a raw potato cross-wise at 1/3-inch intervals, cutting down but not all the way through. Add chive butter to each slice. Wrap each potato in aluminum foil. Set the potatoes on the grill over low heat and cook until tender, about 45-50 minutes, turning occasionally. Garnish with more sour cream and chives.

How I eat it: with sautéed green beans on the side and a glass of cabernet

Lamb adapted from Bon Appetit; Potatoes adapted from Food & Wine




blackened salmon with mango & avocado salsa

birds eye view

Apparently I’m really into salmon lately.  So, I apologize if you’re not a salmon fan and all I’ve posted the last few times are salmon recipes. I promise to mix it up in the next post!

Ironically, this recipe was actually an attempt to mix it up.  Usually, I end up doing one of two things when I cook a salmon fillet: roast with teriyaki sauce or roast with some fresh herbs, lemon, and white wine.  Both are delicious, but I wanted something different so I took to the Internet and came across a few blackened salmon recipes.  I immediately thought of Cape Cod and these delicious fish tacos I once had for dinner at the Island Merchant with jerked cod, mango salsa, and guacamole.  Ahhh, take me back to the Cape!

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Again, in an effort to make something different I decided on polenta as the side rather than the same old roasted potatoes or quinoa that usually accompany the fish. Polenta on it’s own is pretty bland so I found a recipe that included sharp cheddar cheese to liven it up. Altogether, this meal definitely satisfied the need to change up my typical salmon and side dish recipes!

mango and avocado salsa


For the salmon:

  • ~ 2 lbs. wild salmon fillets, boneless, skin removed
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter*
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • olive oil

For the salsa:

  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 3 scallions, white part only, thinly sliced
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. parsley (or cilantro if you’d like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the polenta:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste


First make the salsa by combining all ingredients in a bowl. I refrigerated until ready to serve.

To start the polenta, bring the milk and 2 cups of water to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salmon.  Combine all spices, butter, and garlic in a bowl.  Rub the spice mixture on both sides of the salmon.  In a large skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat.  Once hot, add salmon.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until the spices “blacken” and the center is opaque.

Once polenta is done simmering, add more water if it is too thick.  Then add butter, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve salmon over the polenta and top with the mango and avocado salsa!

*I do have one note about the recipe that I will most likely change next time I make it: the butter in the spice mixture made it hard to evenly coat the salmon. I will probably omit the butter and do a completely dry rub to get a more even, crispy coat.

Recipe(s) adapted from: Against All Grain & Shared Appetite

How I eat it: with a little bit of everything in each bite! And a nice fresh salad on the side.

By the way, I revisited this yummy french yogurt cake recipe for dessert tonight. Take a look and enjoy 🙂

 the dish


summer vegetable ceviche

vegetable ceviche ready to eat

Happy Labor Day! I know many of you are probably in denial about summer coming to a close.  Personally, I am looking forward to the start of autumn — pumpkin cookies, pumpkin beers, apple crisps and hearty soups mmm!  But, the tastes of summer don’t have to disappear right away. Here is a deliciously fresh salad that can perfectly complement any grilled meat, chicken, or fish, or can be eaten as a light lunch all by itself! It is crisp, sweet, and limey and a perfect way to wrap up summer.

Ingredients (yields 6-8 servings)

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen lima beans
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
  • zest of one limedressing
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 nectarines, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 avocado, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • raw kernels from one ear of corn
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (optional)


Bring a small pot of water to a boil.  Boil lima beans until tender, 7-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse under cold water.

Whisk together scallions, lime zest and juice, olive oil, and red pepper in large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve chilled.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

How I eat it: Super cold! And it’s been a perfect side to a lobster dinner.

before mixing

skirt steak with accordion potatoes & cucumber-radish salad

the full meal

Oh, yes — spring is upon us. And it’s finally starting to feel like it (okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun a little bit with that statement). I know I haven’t posted since January but here I am, back with a full meal for you.  And even better, it’s a meal for the grill to get you pumped up for the warmer weather to come!  I know a post with a meal may be overwhelming, but I am always debating what sides to make with a certain meat or fish, so I hope you find the ideas helpful!

This Sunday dinner was inspired by the May 2013 Food & Wine Magazine.  All three components of this meal are a slightly modified recipe from the spring-filled edition.


For the skirt steak:pre-mise en place

  • 2 lbs. skirt steak, trimmed of fat and scored
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

For the potatoes:DSC_0719

  • 1 lb. fingerling or baby white potatoes
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • bay leaves

For the salad:

  • 1 large cucumber or 3 Kirby cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small dried red chile, crushedsmoked peppahs
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 large radishes, thinly slice
  • 1 cup mixed herbs (I used parsley and dill)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the steak:

In a food processor, combine parsley, red onion, red pepper flakes, garlic, lime juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and salt and pepper. Puree until nearly smooth.  Scrape marinade into large resealable bag. Add steak and turn until well coated, pressing marinade into steak.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Remove steak from marinade and let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.  Light a grill, oil the grates, and brush steak with oil. Grill steak over high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred outside and medium inside (about 5-6 minutes per side).

Transfer steak to carving board and let sit for 10 minutes.  Slice across the grain.

marinade   DSC_0780

For the potatoes:

Slice potatoes at 1/8-inch intervals, cutting down but not through the potatoes.  Transfer to a baking sheet covered with tin foil. Whisk olive oil with paprika.  Drizzle potatoes with 5 (out of the 6) tablespoons olive oil.  Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Insert small bay leaf into each potato and roast 45 minutes longer. (Note: Roasting time may depend on how large your potatoes are or how well your oven cooks — I adjusted the initial recipe times of 20 and 20 minutes.) Remove potatoes from oven, discard bay leaves, and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

paprika oil   little potatmins

For the salad:

In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the cucumbers, garlic, chile, sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice.  Seal bag, shake, and squeeze slightly to mash the cucumbers and release the juices.  Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Drain cucumbers, reserving 2 tablespoon of cucumber juices. Discard garlic and chile. Whisk cucumber juice with remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add cucumbers, sliced radishes, and herbs. Season salad with pepper.

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Recipes adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

How I eat it: with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon =)

red wine chicken & mushroom risotto

In my last post I went on about how much I love dinner.  The food, the company, etc.  Well, get ready for more of the mushy stuff. Two weeks ago, my aunt and uncle from Florida came up to visit.  I am always looking forward to their stay because we can count on an adventure into the city, some fun and relaxing nights at home, and this year we spent a day on Fire Island as well.  Considering we only see them once, sometimes twice, a year, it always feels really special to catch up and spend some time together in person. The night they arrived I offered to cook dinner for them, my parents, brother, and grandparents.  I dug this old chicken recipe up as I was putting together my recipe book — a topic for a whole other post! Red wine chicken was probably one of the first things I ever cooked for my family (years ago!).  Before my Food & Wine and Bon Appetit reading days, was my source for new dishes and that is where I found this simple and tasteful recipe.

To re-debut the chicken, I paired it with mushroom risotto.  Risotto is one of my favorite sides — you can switch up the flavors to complement almost any meat, fish, or simply veggies! We also had green beans (made special by my dad with his favorite seasoning), and a salad courtesy of my Oma (who always puts together the freshest, most delicious salads!).


Red Wine Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients (serves 8)

For the risotto:

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2  lbs. mushrooms, sliced (I used white since they were on sale, but cremini or shitake would add nice flavor)
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 6-8 cups chicken stock OR vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the chicken:

  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I prefer thin-sliced)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup red wine (I always use wines that you would drink)


For the risotto:

In medium saucepan, bring stock to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  In a large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter.  Once hot, add mushrooms and a bit of salt and pepper, and allow mushrooms to soften and brown (about 10 minutes).  Remove mushrooms and juices and set aside.  Add the rest of the olive oil and butter to the same pan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender (~3-5 minutes).  Add arborio rice and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure that the rice is coated with olive oil/butter.  This assures that your risotto won’t be clumpy/sticky.  Add the red wine and stir until absorbed.  Add 1 cup of stock and stir until nearly absorbed.  Continue adding 1/2 cup of stock at a time and stirring each time until nearly absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and coated in a creamy sauce.  Add the thyme, parmesan, and salt and pepper to taste.

For the chicken: 

Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, coat a large skillet with olive oil.  Add garlic and saute until tender (1-2 minutes).  Brown the chicken, in batches if necessary (about 5 minutes on each side).  It is okay if the chicken is not cooked through yet — you do not want it to dry out later!  Drain the oil from the skillet and add all the chicken to the pan.  Sprinkle with the paprika and brown sugar and pour red wine around the chicken.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, occasionally basting the chicken with the sauce, until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken recipe adapted from

Mushroom risotto recipe adapted from Whole Foods Classic Risotto Recipe

How I eat it: always with a some chicken and risotto in the same bite!