Mediterranean beef kebabs with pistachio relish and cauliflower mash
½ ounce sun-dried tomatoes
10 ounces ground beef
1 white onion
Kebab spice blend (baharat – granulated garlic)
1 head cauliflower
3 tablespoons roasted pistachios
1 wedge preserved lemon
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Prep the sun-dried tomatoes
In a small bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 1 cup very hot tap water until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board; set aside the soaking liquid for the cauliflower. Finely chop the tomatoes.
While the tomatoes soak, prepare the beef mixture.
Prep the beef mixture
Cut a small corner from the ground beef packaging and drain off any excess liquid. Transfer to a plate; pat dry with a paper towel.
Peel and finely chop enough white onion to measure 1 cup; set aside half for the cauliflower.
Strip the mint leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside half for the pistachio relish.
In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, sun-dried tomatoes, kebab spice blend, and half each of the onion and mint. Season generously with salt and pepper and mix until just combined. Let stand while you prepare the cauliflower mash and the pistachio relish.
Make the cauliflower mash
Cut the cauliflower into small florets, discarding any leaves or thick stalks.
Coarsely chop the dill.
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the cauliflower and remaining onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the reserved tomato soaking liquid, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated and the cauliflower is tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a medium bowl. Using a masher or fork, mash until smooth. Stir in the dill and 1 tablespoon oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. If using the pan for the kebabs, wipe out the pan.
While the cauliflower cooks, prepare the pistachio relish.
Make the pistachio relish
Coarsely chop the pistachios.
Remove any pulp from the preserved lemon; finely chop the peel.
In a small bowl, stir together the pistachios, preserved lemon, remaining mint, sherry vinegar, and 2 to 3 teaspoons oil.
Shape and cook the beef kebabs
Using wet hands, form the beef mixture into 6 ovals; thread each onto a wooden skewer.
In a large grill pan or in the same frying pan used for the cauliflower, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the kebabs and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Transfer the cauliflower mash to individual plates. Top with the beef kebabs and the pistachio relish and serve.
TIP: For an ultra-creamy mash, in Step 3, puree the cooked cauliflower mixture in a blender or food processor, then stir in the dill and oil by hand.
Chile-rubbed chicken breasts with tomatillo-avocado salsa and asparagus
Two 6-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
Chicken spice rub (ancho chile powder – cumin – coriander – sweet smoked paprika – chipotle powder)
1 red onion
2½ ounces cherry tomatoes
Peeled fresh garlic
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
5 ounces asparagus
Season the chicken
Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel; season generously with salt and pepper and as much spice rub as you like. Let stand until ready to cook.
Make the tomatillo-avocado salsa
Peel and finely chop enough red onion to measure ½ cup.
Remove the husks from the tomatillos; rinse, pat dry, and coarsely chop the fruit.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half or into quarters.
Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit, scoop out the flesh, and cut the flesh into bite-size pieces.
Finely chop, press, or grate enough garlic to measure 1 teaspoon.
Juice half the lime; cut half into wedges for garnish.
Coarsely chop the cilantro; set aside half for garnish.
In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, tomatillos, tomatoes, avocado, garlic, lime juice, half the cilantro, and 2 to 3 teaspoons oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and as many chile flakes as you like.
Cook the chicken
In a large frying or grill pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 to 2 teaspoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and cook until slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking, turning occasionally, until firm and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer to a plate to rest for 5 minutes. Do not clean the pan.
While the chicken cooks and rests, prepare the asparagus.
Prep and cook the asparagus
Snap off the woody ends from the asparagus.
In the same pan used for the chicken, add the asparagus, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until just starting to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup water and cook, turning once or twice, until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Drain and pat dry.
Transfer the chicken and asparagus to individual plates. Top the chicken with the tomatillo-avocado salsa, garnish with the remaining cilantro, and serve with the lime wedges.
Make It Leaner: The oil in the salsa adds flavor, texture, and good fats but also bumps up the calories. You can lose 60 calories by omitting the oil altogether. To brighten the salsa while keeping calories to a minimum, add some additional lime juice and chile flakes.
Gingered turkey meatballs in Japanese mushroom broth
10 ounces ground turkey
1 pasture-raised organic egg
2 tablespoons coconut flour
3½ ounces beech mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms
½ teaspoon kimchi chile flakes (optional)
1 cup vegetable broth
3 ounces Savoy cabbage
2 ounces snow peas (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Make the meatballs
Cut off a small corner of the ground turkey packaging and drain off any excess liquid. Transfer to a plate and pat dry with a paper towel.
Trim the root ends from the scallions; thinly slice the scallions.
Grate or peel and finely chop the ginger; set aside half for the soup.
In a medium bowl, using a whisk or fork, blend the egg, coconut flour, scallions, and half the ginger. Add the turkey, season generously with salt and pepper, and mix until just combined. Using wet hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs.
Cook the soup and meatballs
Trim the root ends from the beech mushrooms; separate any clusters into individual mushrooms.
Trim the stem ends from the shiitake mushrooms.
In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking. Stir in the remaining ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beech mushrooms and as much kimchi chile as you like and cook for about 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms, chicken broth, and 1½ cups water, and season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, then add the meatballs and simmer until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
While the meatballs cook, prepare the remaining ingredients.
Prep the cabbage and snow peas; finish the soup
Cut away any core from the cabbage; coarsely chop the cabbage.
Trim the ends from the snow peas; thinly slice the snow peas lengthwise or on the diagonal.
Add the cabbage to the soup and cook until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the soup to individual bowls. Garnish with the snow peas and serve.
BACON-WRAPPED PORK TENDERLOIN
2 (1-1½ lb.) pork tenderloins
4 Tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, minced
¼ tsp. kosher salt 1/8
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
14 slices (8 ounces) thin-cut bacon
¼ cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375ᵒF.
Trim tenderloins, removing excess fat and silver skin. Remove the 2-inch tail ends and reserve for another use.
In a bowl, combine mustard, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and brush onto tenderloins, covering entirely.
Arrange 7 bacon slices in a row onto a piece of plastic wrap. Overlap bacon slightly, forming a rectangle wide enough to wrap tenderloin. Place 1 tenderloin on bottom edge of bacon. Pick up edge of plastic wrap and roll bacon around tenderloin, overlapping by ½-inch. Trim excess bacon. Repeat process with remaining tenderloin.
Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and brush rack with oil. Place bacon-wrapped tenderloins onto rack and brush tenderloins with oil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140ᵒF. Remove from oven, cover lightly with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve with La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
White bean-ricotta pizzettas with tomato and basil
⅔ cup cooked white beans
¼ pound fresh ricotta
2 small leeks
Peeled fresh garlic
3 ounces sweet frying peppers
3 ounces cremini mushrooms
1½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
5 ounces cherry tomatoes
2 whole wheat lavash flatbreads
¼ pound mixed greens
¼ teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
Prep the white bean-ricotta mixture
Heat the oven to 400ºF.
Rinse the white beans.
Strip the basil leaves from the stems; coarsely chop the leaves. Set aside half for garnish.
In a medium bowl, using a fork, lightly mash together the ricotta, beans, half the basil, and 1 to 2 teaspoons oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Prep and cook the vegetables
Trim the root ends from the leeks; cut the leeks in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ¼-inch-thick half-moons. Soak the leeks in a medium bowl of cold water, stirring occasionally to loosen any dirt, and allow the dirt to settle at the bottom. Skim the leeks from the surface of the water and pat dry.
Finely chop, press, or grate enough garlic to measure ½ teaspoon.
Remove the stems and seeds from the sweet frying peppers; thinly slice the peppers crosswise.
Cut the mushrooms into quarters.
In a medium frying pan over medium heat, warm 2 to 3 teaspoons oil until hot but not smoking. Add the leeks, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Assemble the pizzettas
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a small bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
On a sheet pan, place the flatbreads side by side. Brush with oil and spread the white bean-ricotta mixture in an even layer, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Top each with the pepper-mushroom mixture and the tomatoes.
Bake the pizzettas
Bake, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, until the crust is crisp, the ricotta mixture starts to brown, and the tomatoes are blistered, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pizzettas to a cutting board. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, drizzle with a little oil, if desired, and cut into squares.
While the pizzettas bake, prepare the salad.
Make the salad
Juice the lemon.
In a medium bowl, combine the mixed greens, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon oil and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Transfer the pizza squares to individual plates, sprinkle with as many chile flakes as you like, and serve with the salad.