Chicken with Lemon and Ginger

The first time that I made these, I didn’t really have enough chicken to go around so I cut the chicken up in chunks and served it over rice. The combination of the tart lemon, the ginger and the spicy red pepper flakes is just perfect. Whole chicken breasts are even better. The lemon zest is best cut with a zester, to achieve long strands of lemon rather than the minced lemon you get from a grater.

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Asian Chicken

1 ¾ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
4 scallions, white and green chopped, plus additional whole scallions for garnish
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Place everything, except the canola oil, salt and cilantro, in a bowl and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to four.

Sprinkle the chicken with the salt. Place a large cast iron or non stick skillet over high heat and when it is hot, add the canola oil. Place the chicken, skinned side down, in the skillet, one at a time, waiting about 30 seconds between additions. Cook until well browned and cooked throughout, about 5- 7 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve immediately garnished with the cilantro leaves and additional scallions.

Coconut Spice Chicken

This is a wonderful, aromatic but not really spicy chicken that can be paired with any sweet tropical fruit: mangoes, pineapples and bananas are particularly good. The chicken can be grilled instead of pan-fried and it is equally good cold.

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Chili Chicken Breasts

Essentially fried chicken with a kick, this dish is easy to prepare. The longer it sits in the marinade, the hotter the spice will be. If you don’t have a lot of time and you want more heat, add 1 teaspoon chili powder to the cornmeal and flour mixture. Serve with a dark green salad.

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Herb Chicken with White Bean Salad

With the help of good quality canned white beans, this meal can be whipped up in minutes. If you want to make the salad in advance, leave out the oil, vinegar and lemon juice until just prior to serving. The chicken can also be made in advance, by this method or on a grill, and served cold. With sliced cucumbers and a bottle of white wine, it makes a perfect summer picnic.

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Sticky Tamari Orange Chicken

Somewhat Asian in flavor, this dish can be enhanced by cilantro, sesame seeds or both.

1 ¾ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
grated zest of one well washed orange
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon canola or soy oil

Place the chicken, soy sauce, brown sugar, orange juice, garlic and ginger root in a large non-reactive shallow bowl and stir to combine. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least ½ hour and not more than two hours.

Remove and discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Place a large cast iron or non stick skillet over high heat and when it is hot, add the oil. Add the chicken breasts, skinned side down, one at a time, waiting about 30 seconds between additions. Cook until well browned and cooked throughout, about 5- 7 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve immediately.

Quick Roasted Chicken for Two

Roasted chicken always seems like a long cooking luxury fit only for weekends but with this method, of cooking at a very high heat, roasted chicken can be yours in less time than it takes to order one for take-out. If you want to serve four, buy two chickens rather than one larger one.

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Tomato and Mozzarella Tart

For the pastry:
¾ plus 2 tablespoons all purpose white flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon white sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and sliced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ice water
For the filling:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or grated
½ cup ricotta cheese
3 – 4 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

To make the dough, place the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and pulse to blend. Add the butter, one slice at a time, and mix until crumbly and there are no clumps of butter left. Add the water and mix until a ball forms, about 30 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sprinkle flour on the countertop, place the dough on it and with a rolling pin, roll it out into a 10 inch circle. If you are using a pie pan, crimp the edges about ½ way up the sides: this is a shallow tart. Line the pan with the dough and cover with aluminum foil or wax paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for 1- 12 additional minutes.

Increase the temperature to 400 degrees.

Line the dough with the mustard and then with the ricotta. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and place the tomato slices in circular pattern. Drizzle the tomatoes with the garlic, oregano and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Tuscan Bread Salad

2 cups day old french or sourdough bread, cubed
½ pound ricotta salata cheese or feta cheese, cut in chunks
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, if desired; halved and thinly sliced
1 red onion, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or pressed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine bread, cheese, vegetables and herbs in a large mixing bowl.

Place garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil in a bowl and mix well. Drizzle over vegetables.

Greek Salad Revived

Depending on what you serve with this and how hungry you are, this salad will serve 2- 4 people. For two hungry people who don’t want to heat up a kitchen and don’t want to make anything else, add pita bread and this salad will satisfy. For a slightly more demanding crowd, the addition of soup will round this out nicely. If you don’t have leftover chicken, you can simply omit it.

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Spicy Peanut Noodle with Broccoli

1 pound rotini, cooked al dente and cooled under cold water
1 bunch scallions, cut diagonally into one inch pieces
1 small head broccoli, woody end discarded, florets separated, stem peeled and julienned
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

For the spicy peanut dressing:
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 egg, room temperature
3/4 cup natural peanut butter (no salt, no sugar, no preservatives)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup Oriental sesame oil

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until completely tender. Drain immediately and rinse several times with cold water. Transfer pasta to a large mixing bowl.

While the pasta is cooking, make the spicy peanut dressing.
Place garlic and ginger in a blender or in a food processor fitted with a steel blade; process until the garlic is chopped. Add red pepper, chili powder, mustard, egg, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and water and process until combined. Gradually add oils. Pour dressing over cooled pasta.

Place broccoli in colander and rinse with hottest water possible. Rinse and refresh with cold water.

Add broccoli, scallions, pepper and sesame seeds just prior to serving.

Serves 8

Avocado and Shrimp “Seviche”

1 pound cooked shrimp, cut into large chunks
grated zest and juice of 2 limes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 avocadoes, cubed
½ cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 tomato, cored and chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Place the shrimp, lime zest and juice, cilantro, avocado, pineapple, tomato, red pepper flakes and salt in a large glass or ceramic bowl and toss to combine.
  2. Cover and refrigerate at least 20 minutes but no longer than 1 hour. Serve with tortilla chips.

Gazpacho with Feta Cheese and Croutons

1 garlic clove, minced
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
3 vine- ripe tomatoes, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
3 cups tomato or v8 juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup crumbled Feta cheese
2 cups croutons

Place the garlic, cucumbers, onion, tomatoes, yellow pepper, tomato juice and vinegar in a bowl and mix to combine. Remove 2- 3 cups and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth and return to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour and up to overnight.
Serve garnished with Feta cheese and croutons.

Curried Chicken

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 bunch scallions, whites chopped and greens thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped ginger root
1/3 cup grated, unsweetened fresh or dried coconut
2 carrots, peeled, if desired, and sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
2 – 3 tablespoons curry powder
6 cups chicken stock
¾ – 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 cup heavy cream
1 large orange, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Place a large pot over a medium high heat and when it is hot, add the butter. Add the scallion whites, coconut, carrot, celery and cook until the coconut is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the curry and cook for one minute.

Add the chicken stock and chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. It is not necessary for the vegetables to be completely cooked. Remove the chicken and when it is cool enough to handle, chop it.

Place the remaining broth in a blender, one cup at a time, and blend until smooth, gradually adding the cream. Cover and refrigerate until it is very, very cold, about 4 hours. Serve garnished with the scallion greens, chicken, orange and cilantro.

Makes about 8- 10 cups

Grape Gazpacho

1 1/2 cups small seedless grapes 
1 – 1 1/2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, if desired and chopped 
1 ½ Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in small dice
¼ – ½ red onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 ½- 3 cups skim milk buttermilk
1 ½ cups ice water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 radishes, sliced paper thin

Place the grapes, cucumbers, apple and onion in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and quickly pulse until chopped well.  Transfer to a mixing or serving bowl and add the dill, buttermilk, water, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, about 1- 2 hours.  Serve garnished with the radishes. 

Yield: about 8 – 9 cups