Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, reduced-sodium
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple rings, plus 1/3 cup juice from the can
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Whisk sherry, soy sauce, brown sugar and the 1/3 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl. Add pineapple rings and chicken and gently stir to coat. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium-high.
  3. Remove the chicken and pineapple from the marinade and pat dry; reserve the marinade. Oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken and pineapple until the chicken is cooked through and the pineapple is marked, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Whisk the reserved marinade and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking, until reduced and thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in butter. Serve the chicken and pineapple drizzled with the sauce.

Tonight, I’m serving with shelled edamane, garden salad and fruit compote.

Cuban-Style Pork & Rice

  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons rum, (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, plus 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, divided
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops, (3/4-1 inch thick), trimmed, cut into cubes
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice, or short-grain brown rice
  • 2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, (see Note)
  • 16 large raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined (optional)
  • 2 cups frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, or cooked green beans, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into strips

 

  1. Combine paprika, lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, rum (if using), 2 teaspoons minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and cumin in a medium bowl, stirring to make a homogeneous paste. Add pork and stir to coat.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork, leaving any excess spice mixture in the bowl to add later. Cook the pork, stirring, until just cooked on the outside and the spices are very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  3. Add onion and the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until well coated with the onion mixture. Stir in broth, tomatoes, capers, saffron and any remaining spice mixture. (If using brown rice, also add 3/4 cup water now.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes for arborio, 30 minutes for brown rice.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Stir shrimp (if using) and artichokes (or green beans) into the rice. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Stir in the pork and any accumulated juices from the plate; scatter roasted peppers on top. Cover and continue baking until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed (if you’ve added shrimp, they should be opaque and pink), 10 to 15 minutes more.

Note: Saffron is the dried stigma of a saffron crocus. It contributes a pungent flavor and intense yellow color to classic dishes like paella. Saffron is sold in threads and powdered form

Tonight back to the routine, serving with fresh green garden salad and fruit compote.

Spanish Pork Burgers

Spanish Pork Burgers

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Spanish green olives, such as Manzanilla
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Pimentón de la Vera, (see Tip) or Hungarian paprika
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of  saffron, (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup Manchego or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 4  whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • 2  whole jarred Piquillo peppers, (see Tip) or jarred pimientos, halved lengthwise
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside half the onion for topping; finely chop the other half.
  2. Preheat grill to medium.
  3. Place the chopped onion in a large bowl; add pork, olives, garlic, paprika, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick.
  4. Combine mayonnaise, lemon zest, lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl.
  5. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 10 to 12 minutes total. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  6. Assemble the burgers on toasted buns with the lemon-saffron mayonnaise, some of the reserved onions and a half a Piquillo (or pimiento) pepper.

Spain is known for its superb paprika called Pimentón de la Vera, which has a smoky flavor, and for intensely flavored peppers called Piquillos. Look for these specialty ingredients in well-stocked supermarkets or gourmet-food shops. Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. Each crocus produces only 3 stigma, requiring over 75,000 flowers for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It’s used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and tienda.com. Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years. To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Note to self: Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)

Flank Steak, Big Papi Style

Flank Steak, Big Papi Style

  • · 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • · 6 tablespoons concentrated chicken broth (lower sodium if available)
  • · 1/2 cup honey
  • · 1/2 cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • · 4 green onions (the white and part of the green) cut into thin, diagonal slices
  • · 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger)
  • · 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 teaspoons fresh minced garlic)
  • · 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • · 1 medium-large

Combine canola oil, chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium bowl with a whisk; set aside.

Remove any visible fat from the flank. Lightly score the meat with a serrated knife, cutting about 1/4-inch into the meat in a crisscross pattern (leave about an inch between cuts) on the top and bottom of the flank.

Put the flank in a rectangular plastic container, add the marinade, and coat the steak well all over. Cover and marinate the flank steak (a few hours) all day or overnight is better, turning occasionally.

Grill 10-15 minutes on each side or until cooked to desired doneness. Use a carving knife to cut diagonally across the grain of the meat into slices of your desired thickness.

Tonight I,m serving with oven roasted fingerling potatoes, baby arugula salad and fruit compote.

Thai Chicken Pizza

Thai Chicken Pizza

  • 20 ounces prepared whole-wheat pizza dough, (see Shopping Tip)
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed and diced
  • 1  red bell pepper, diced
  • 4  scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  1. Place oven rack in the lowest position; preheat to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Roll out or stretch dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough 16-inch oval. Transfer to the baking sheet. Bake on the bottom rack until puffed and lightly crisped on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk peanut butter, water, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger and garlic in a small bowl until well combined.
  4. Heat oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add bell pepper, scallions and 1 tablespoon of the peanut sauce to the chicken; toss to combine.
  5. Remove the crust from the oven; spread evenly with the remaining peanut sauce. Top with the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with cheese. Return the pizza to the oven and bake on the bottom rack until the crust is crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, 11 to 13 minutes.

Shopping Tip: Look for balls of whole-wheat pizza dough, fresh or frozen, at your supermarket. Choose a brand without hydrogenated oils.

Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata

1 pound chicken scaloppini (about 4 ounces each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, divided
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, zest reserved for optional garnish, about 2 tablespoons juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Baby arugula for garnish
Whole-wheat angel hair pasta or roasted potatoes, for serving

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour.

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot; cook the cutlets until opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a plate. (Reserve the skillet.) Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium.

Add the remaining teaspoon oil and garlic to the same skillet; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk together the broth, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon flour, and add to the pan.

Simmer sauce until reduced and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar,cilantro and capers. Swirl in the butter until sauce is shiny and slightly thickened.

Serve chicken with the sauce. Toss the arugula and freshly grated lemon zest with a light drizzle of olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper, scatter over chicken. Serve with pasta or potatoes as desired.