Tag Archives: Basil

Week 23, Meal 1: You’re new fava-rite fish dish

Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets, not only because they’re protein-packed, but because they’re freakin’ delicious, too.

They’re a pain to get to, but the result is a bean that’s not as texturally gross as the lima, with a pleasant taste almost like zucchini squash.

Quick-cooked in olive oil with onions, these beans were a hearty meal on their own, but topped with a slab of pink salmon and  a sour, herbaceous salad – this just might be you’re new fava-rite fish dish.

Here’s Week 23, Meal 1: Grilled salmon over fava beans, spring onion and basil topped with parsley and radish salad in lemon vinaigrette. Continue reading Week 23, Meal 1: You’re new fava-rite fish dish

Week 22, Meal 3: Caper-olive-anchovy surprise

Wifey Nadia is always giving me grief for writing essentially the same intro for Fat Dude posts.

I usually say something like “OMG, blah blah blah … I’ve never tried this food and liked it before, but Chef Brian’s amazing … whatever, whatever … make this dish.”

She’s right about the setup — though I mostly write that way because Chef Brian is amazing and tends to make delicious things from foods I’ve stayed away from or never had — but Week 22, Meal 3: Open-faced grilled chicken sandwich with fresh mozzarella and a tomato and olive relish was one dish where the tables were turned.

“Olives and anchovies, yucky,” she repeated over and over. Then she had a bite of this fancy half-sandwich and in an instant she was converted.

Surprise! Continue reading Week 22, Meal 3: Caper-olive-anchovy surprise

Week 22, Meal 2: Cop these lamb chops!

I’m always asking Chef Brian for simpler recipes.

Part of it is because I’m lazy, and part of it is because I’m not the quickest cook. So any recipe that allows me to come home, put in a little bit of work and enjoy the spoils of a better-than-drive-thru dinner is the kind of meal I’m really in to.

Week 22, Meal 2: Marinated and grilled lamb chops over green beans, fennel, and tomato fits that bill. The salad is fast and flavorful and the lamb chops, as simple as the marinade ingredients are, bursts with a sweet and salty succulence unlike any lamb we’ve cooked so far on the blog. Continue reading Week 22, Meal 2: Cop these lamb chops!

Week 22, Meal 1: Italian summer salsa ‘n’ shrimp

Grilled shrimp is a favorite meal at my house — Wifey Nadia is most fond of my “summer picnic” with grilled shrimp and asparagus, plus lemon wedges and French bread — but for too long my go-to marinade for shrimp has always been a simple one: parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Week 22, Meal 1: Marinated and grilled shrimp tossed in an Italian summer salsa over sliced heirloom tomatoes took me out of my parsley-and-garlic-smothered comfort zone and into some sideways seafood universe where the sauce is based in tomato.

Not my usual marinade, but one that proved to be a great departure from the same-ol’ scrimp(t). Continue reading Week 22, Meal 1: Italian summer salsa ‘n’ shrimp

Week 21, Meal 1: Sweet and spicy pork

I asked Chef Brian to write a grilling menu because my skills on the grill are solid but the number of dishes I know is limited.

This recipe was good for a few good reasons: I never have pork chops on the grill, but these turned out delicious; I learned I was prepping cippolini all wrong; and I’m starting to love balsamic vinegar and this dish uses it to perfection.

I’m playing catch up. Here’s Week 21, Meal 1: Grilled pork chop with balsamic-glazed cippolini onions, mixed peppers and tomatoes with basil.

Continue reading Week 21, Meal 1: Sweet and spicy pork

Week 20, Meal 1: French aromatherapy

Of the three meals on the menu for Week 20, I was most excited for Week 20, Meal 1: Bouillbaisse with crouton and garlicky yogurt rouille.

There’s something about making French food that makes me feel more distinguished as a home cook. Maybe because for many chefs, French cuisine is the starter to learning classic techniques and the fundamental lesson that simple really is better.

That we’ve never much cooked with seafood on the blog (save  for fish and shrimp) or made much broth (except that awesome oxtail broth for the pho), this meal provided a new challenge that I knew would have a big  payoff at the end. Continue reading Week 20, Meal 1: French aromatherapy

Week 19, Meal 1: Pork ‘n’ slaw

If I’m eating pork ‘n’ slaw, it’s usually pulled pork and coleslaw, with a big ol’ hunk of cornbread to sop up the sauce and juice on the bottom of the plate.

For the first time, those words take on another meaning, with Week 19, Meal 1: Vietnamese pork meatball lettuce wrap with carrot and cucumber salad in fish sauce and lime vinaigrette.

I’m not really a fan of lettuce wraps — they’re kinda wimpy IMO — but three of these wraps, made with big ol’ leafs of bibb lettuce and stuffed full of savory, lemon-y pork did the trick.

An added bonus, I didn’t get the sleepies like I usually do after a plate of BBQ. Continue reading Week 19, Meal 1: Pork ‘n’ slaw

Week 18, Meal 2: Not your everyday chicken dinner

I love basil for its lemony fragrance and cooling flavor, but I’ve mostly used the leaves as a garnish to pasta dishes in the past.

Week 18, Meal 2: Black pepper and parsley crusted chicken breast over green beans in basil vinaigrette with cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, garlic and pecorino romano is a dish that puts the bright herb up front, balancing its essence with super-salty sheep’s milk cheese and peppery, herb-crusted chicken.

Eat with your eyes and it’s just chicken and veggies, but take just one bite and you’ll know this is not your everyday chicken dinner. Continue reading Week 18, Meal 2: Not your everyday chicken dinner

Week 14, Meal 3: Simple and perfect spaghetti and meatballs

Few words can describe the beauty of homemade spaghetti and meatballs as well as “simple” and “perfect.”

Though Chef Brian’s light and fruity pomodoro sauce has a handful of ingredients, the time-tested combination of carrot, onion, celery, rosemary and thyme is aromatic enough to make your head spin.

His turkey meatballs follow suit, pairing the same herbs with a couple of cheeses, egg and a whole lotta lean turkey.

Rounding out our week of making romantic meals by cooking with aphrodisiacs, here’s one inspired by “Lady and the Tramp.” It’s Week 14, Meal 3: Whole wheat spaghetti Pomodoro with turkey meatballs and shaved Parmesan. Continue reading Week 14, Meal 3: Simple and perfect spaghetti and meatballs

Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper

I tried to make this meal look as beautiful as I could to show my appreciation for my wife’s family, which hails from Jordan.

I often joke that the best part of marrying her was the food. Before, I only had an appreciation for the flavors, but now I have respect for anyone who has ever made tabbouleh, because in all honesty, the wheat-based staple is a pain in the ass to prepare.

No matter though. The effort was worth the final product. Here’s Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper. Continue reading Week 13, Meal 1: Parsley and black pepper-crusted ahi over tabbouleh with mint yogurt and roasted bell pepper

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