Lemon and Rosemary Martini

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One of my favorite things about living in Lexington is the food scene. We have tons of new restaurants and food based events. This past week, we had Burger Week; 36 establishments created and sold a $5 specialty burger. Some were creative, using things like kimchi or other non-traditional toppings. Others were more traditional but used high end ingredients like homemade corned beef with homemade kraut and dressing. This week encourages you to go out and try new places.

While at Napa Prime, located between Lexington and Versailles, I was pleased to see a Lemon and Rosemary Martini on the menu. Though I drank sangria that night, I was inspired to go home and create. Below is my version. Multiply this recipe by the number of total drinks you want to make…. Or just be selfish and make one only for you….

Martini

Lemon and Rosemary Martini

  • 2 oz gin (or vodka if you prefer) *use gluten free spirits for gluten free version
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • Ice, preferably crushed
  • Lemon peel and additional rosemary to garnish

In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, juice, syrup and the rosemary sprigs. Top with ice and then shake vigorously. Strain and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with the lemon peel and a rosemary sprig. Serves 1.

Avocado and Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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My sweet boyfriend is out of town at annual training with the Army for 3 weeks. What does that mean for me, other than being lonely? DIET TIME! Since dating, I have gained those 10 pounds of “happy weight” that everyone dreads. How can I NOT eat when someone makes me a delicious dinner? How can I NOT drink a beer when there are several new, fun breweries and pubs? So I have been enjoying too much. These three weeks are crunch time! Exercise more. Eat less. Wish that it was easier to lose than gain…. Cheers to more bunny food!

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Avocado and Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 chicken breast from a rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 large leaves from iceburg or romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
  • Red onion, to taste
  • 2 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 slices of cheese
  • Dijon mustard, to taste

Pretend like you are making a burrito. Lay the leaf of lettuce on a plate. On one third of the lettuce, layer the chicken, avocado, onion, 4 pieces of tomato, the slice of cheese broken in half, and mustard to taste. Gently roll the lettuce up into a burrito shape. Makes 2 rolls.

Grilled Peaches

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It’s that perfect time of year…. PEACH TIME!

Nothing beats sweet, juicy Southern peaches warm from the summer sun. I don’t like to do too much to them. I want to embrace their perfection, not mask it. This dessert is a quick one, perfect to thrown on the grill while you each the burgers you just made.

Peaches

Grilled Peaches

  • 2 ripe peaches, halved
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Almond slices to garnish

In a bowl, drizzle the peach halves with the honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Place on grill over medium heat. Grill for 2 minutes per side. Garnish with the almonds. Serves 2.

Mojo de Ajo Asado aka Roasted Garlic Mojo

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After hearing an interview with Rick Bayless on NPR, I knew I had to check out one of his cookbooks. I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD! I have never met a dish I didn’t like. I also appreciate Rick’s approach to this cuisine. It’s not that fried, unhealthy “Mexican” that can be found in every average Mexican restaurant in the US. This is homemade, home grown Mexican.

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Mojo de Ajo Asado aka Roasted Garlic Mojo (from More Mexican Everyday)

  • 4 heads of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

In a large iron skillet, scatter the garlic and roast, turning regularly until evenly spotted brown. You may need to do two batches. (This method is super easy!) Allow the roasted garlic to cool then remove the clove from the peel. Add to a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Turn the processor on and slowly pour the olive oil into the garlic. Stop the processor and add the lime juice and the salt. Pulse until incorporated. Store in a glass jar. Lasts several months. Makes 2 cups.

Rick suggests adding a chili flakes for heat, stirring it to mayo for a quick aioli, using it to saute shrimp, or spreading onto bread before grilling it. 

 

The Perfect Remoulade

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Rarely do I try a recipe and love it so much I don’t feel the need to make changes. This recipe is one of those perfect recipes I simply adore just the way it is. I make it for fried fish, salmon patties and burgers, po’ boys, etc. Really it is so good I would eat it with a spoon. Don’t judge me. And don’t freak out about the large amount of ingredients. They are all things you have in your cabinet. This recipes is well worth the effort.

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The Perfect Remoulade (from Smoke & Pickles by Edward Lee)

  • 2 large eggs, soft boiled
  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pickled okra (or cornichons if you dont have pickled okra)
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned
  • 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tsp fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 3/4 tsp worchestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 dashes of tabasco

Add everything EXCEPT the eggs to a large bowl and stir to combine. When all is mixed well, add the eggs by mashing them against the bowl wall with a fork. They are ok left in chunks smaller than a dime. Refrigerate to let the flavors meld. Serve with anything. You cannot go wrong here. Makes approx 2 cups.

 

 

Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

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This snowy, coldness is getting on my nerves. I don’t want to be stuck inside any more. I am craving some “trail therapy” and the smell of the woods. Fresh produce and the bright flavors of spring. Until then, I will just do my best to create the illusion of such things. This salad reminds me of summer picnics and my gardening. How many more days until spring??

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Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • 12 oz. orzo
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus with woody ends removed
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Marinated artichoke hearts, halved
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Feta
  • Vinaigrette of preference (bottled or homemade)

Bring a pot of water with salt added to a boil. Cook the orzo per package directions. Drain and set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a cookie sheet, add the asparagus. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until just turning bright green. Remove from the oven and cut into 1 inch pieces.

In a bowl, combine the orzo, asparagus, tomato halves, feta, parsley, and vinaigrette. Toss until evenly mixed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Can serve room temperature or cold. Serves 6.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon and Greek Olives

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This is one of my new favorite work night meals. The lemon, onion, and olives meld together with the chicken drippings to form a luscious gravy. And it’s even better the next day!

Chicken

Braised Chicken Thighs with Garlic, Lemon, and Greek Olives (from here)

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (remove the excessive fat and skin)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds discarded
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup mixed Greek olives, pitted
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350°. Season on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven large enough to hold all the thighs in a single layer, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken, skin-side down, and sear until golden brown. Add the garlic and flip the thighs over. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, lemon slices and oregano. Season with more salt and pepper. Cook, until the onions have wilted and the juices have de-glazed the pan. Place the thighs skin-side up in the onion mixture; add the garlic and the olives. Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and put into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve. Serves 6.

 

 

Am I Really Back This Time?

Here one day, gone the next…. That describes my blogging for sure! It has been a rough 2 years. But one step at a time things are looking up and getting better. Now that life seem to be hitting a stride, I am trying to get back to the things that I love. That includes this blog. I am going to aim low so as not to disappoint you or me. Posting once a week is the goal. Please be understanding if this doesn’t work out. Redefining the “new normal” is hard work, y’all!!

So here we go… Onward and upward in this sometimes struggle known as life!

Ravioli with a Fresh Tomato Sauce

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This is a quick work night dinner or busy weekend lunch that you can make to use up the last of this season’s tomatoes. I am sad that winter is coming but looking forward to fall foods… I can’t wait for soups, chowders, and root veggie hash. Mmmm!

ravioli

Ravioli with a Fresh Tomato Sauce

  • 2 servings of fresh cheese ravioli
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 leaves of basil, sliced very thinly
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 small onion, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley, chopped, to garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare the ravioli per package instructions. In a skillet, heat up about 1 tbsp. olive oil and sauté the mushrooms, garlic, and onion until tender. Add the tomatoes and warm through. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Place al dente ravioli on plates; top with sauce and garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 2.

Fruit Salad with Sweet Basil and Lime Dressing

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I love good fruit but sometimes it gets old eating the same old apples and bananas. This fruit salad tastes fancy but is a snap to toss together. And the lime/basil combination is delicious. You could substitute the basil for mint or thyme too. Yum!

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Fruit Salad with Sweet Basil and Lime Dressing

  • 1 cup of 4 kinds of fruit (I used grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi)
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 5 to 8 leaves of basil, julienned

In a bowl, combie the lime juice, zest, and sugar. Pour over the fruit. Toss lightly. Sprinkle with basil. Serves 4.

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