Tag Archives: meat

weekend ease: maple miso mustard grilled chicken

maple miso mustard grilled chicken

We’re going out of town (again!) for a quick snap starting tomorrow morning, with an overnight stop in LA-la land and then continuing on for a few nights spent under the great big Western sky with my in-laws* in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I’m packing my Chacos (yes, I own them, and don’t even think of judging me, remember – I did live in Boulder) and a pair of my favorite tall boots (nights in Jackson this time of year should nestle somewhere comfortably in the mid 40s), and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t pumped to browse around for a cozy blanket to toss around my shoulders at the Pendleton shop that’s in town.

*I hate calling them this! It has such a negative connotation, like I’m forced to be bound to them or hang out with them only by law. What can we start calling “in-laws” that we love?! I’m formally accepting your suggestions.

maple miso mustard grilled chicken seasoning

I’m not generally a fan of dumping lots of canned this and that together and – look mom! I made a recipe! – but this here grilled chicken “recipe” does pretty much exactly that.  This maple mustard miso chicken (say that three times fast) comes together exactly as it sounds: stir together sweet white miso paste, dijon mustard, and maple syrup as your marinade and ‘glaze,’ season chicken thighs with a little S&P, and grill them up till they’re crisped and charred on the edges and juicy and tender in the middle. That’s it!

maple miso mustard chicken the tru=ifecta

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and at it again: herb-jalapeno lamb patties in pitas with cucumber yogurt sauce, arugula, and baby tomatoes

lamb pitas with herb jalapeno lamb patties, cucumber yogurt sauce, arugula, and baby tomatoes

Apparently I am having a tough time deciding between tree hugger (KALE! QUINOA!) and burly carnivore, because nipping at the heels of a meat-ball-esque meal, I’m back extolling the virtues of another meat-in-ball-form dish.

lamb patties - perfectly sliced cukes

But I really somehow think you’re going to be OK with it. These bad boys are goo-o–o-ood!  Hear me out:

lamb patties - jalapeno!

Take lamb, add plenty of bright green jalapeno and fresh herbs, make patties and fry them till golden and crisped, then stuff them into warm and toasty pitas filled with creamy and cool cucumber sauce, peppery arugula, and sweet baby tomatoes. Some sliced red onion (because, duh) and a sidecar of vinegary hot sauce, and you’ve got yourself something really special in not a lot of time (and, I’ll add, with not all that much effort).

lamb patties - ground lamb

In non-ground form, lamb is generally prohibitively expensive for more than just the occasional meal; I don’t know about you, but my other/better half has mucha hambre after stomping around avocado groves all day, and seeing as he can put back a cool 7 or 8 lamb lollipops, we’re not exactly dishing those guys out on a random Tuesday.

lamb patties - fresh herbs ready to be chopped

But ground lamb is very affordable, and infinitely more forgiving when it comes to cooking temperatures (because really, is there anything more sad than a gorgeous lamb lolly that’s been cooked even a smidge past medium rare?), and as these pitas come together in less than a half hour, they’re just what the weeknight Dinner Doctor ordered.

lamb patties - herbs!

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on ribs and granny carts: honey herb pork tenderloin

honey herb pork tenderloin

Some years ago, in New York City, I would become very frustrated when I would find a recipe that was perfectly suited for whatever occasion it was, and then a harsh reality would hit.  I’d realize that I didn’t have things like stand mixers for coconut cakes and fancy French mandolins for perfectly cut matchstick slaw, and, oh yeah, I didn’t have that backyard outfitted with a grill that those finger-lickin’ ribs necessitated either.

honey herb pork tenderloin - fresh herbs and garlic

Instead I had a rickety and rusty 1960’s four burner gas stove (of which, two worked reliably, one was dead, and one threatened a gas explosion each time you encouraged it to light), a janky communal collection of pots and pans bequeathed to us from various donors, and a fire escape ‘patio’ that threatened to buckle each time we crawled out the window to enjoy a glass of wine ‘al fresco.’

honey herb pork tenderloin - pureed flavors

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individual chipotle turkey meatloaves (with homemade chipotle bbq sauce)

individual chipotle turkey meatloaves

I had wondered if it would ever feel like ‘Fall’ in San Francisco, and the answer is a resounding YES! Despite the fact that my previous Mid-West and Eastern homes have harkened in this lovely and crisp season with a more pronounced and defined transition occuring somewhere in mid to late September, now that we have settled into the tail ends of October (!), there are finally crunching leaves underfoot, tall boots and leggings tromping up and over the hills, and the return of the painfully ubiquitous “PSL” (that’s ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte’ for those of you not ITK [duh…’In The Know’]).

individual chipotle turkey meatloaves - chipotles

And, speaking of which, not to be a curmudgeon, but I’ve really had it with the Pumpkin Spice Latte hysteria. Beyond and beside the fact that I am a self-professed avoider of all things SBUX (I’ll take my daily fix from a janky corner coffee shop with some personality any day…..or, better yet, a freshly brewed cup of Stumptown (swoon!) from my pals over at Le Marais), I just can’t wrap my head around something that smells like the instant nausea trigger that is a Yankee Candle store and manages to pack 470 calories (yes, really) in that massive “Venti” size that has morphed into somewhat of a fashion accessory.

individual chipotle turkey meatloaves - fresh veggies

Sure I get giddy when I see the return of my favorite totally-fake-food, candy corn, at the corner drug store, and I’m absolutely aware that anything made of sugar, corn syrup (um, more sugar), and wax has nutritional benefits situated somewhere soundly below 0, but let’s get real folks. That’s what Fall is really about.

individual chipotle turkey meatloaves - cumin

In other news, I’ve been eyeballs deep in that project I hinted of a few posts back, which incidentally was also a few months back. (I’m sorry! Again.) I’m thisclose to sharing with you everything about the baby I’ve been working very hard to hatch, and, incidentally, it has nothing to do with cooking, writing, or being in the general vicinity of the kitchen. It does however have to do with some very pretty and very sparkly things, and I can promise you that I’ll be looping you in in the next few weeks.

individual chipotle turkey meatloaves - chopped chipotles

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not like grandma used to make: chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, and rice noodles in a ginger, garlic, and lemon broth

chicken noodle soup with snow peas, baby bok choy, and rice noodles

In the past three weekends I’ve had the immense pleasure of:

1) hosting 2 of our favorite Los-Angelenos for a weekend of concerts & friends
2) hosting one of my bridesmaids and her fabulous boyfriend from Austin, and
3) flying SFO-NYC, driving five hours north to Lake Placid, and witnessing two of the most good natured and hilarous people I know get hitched.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - chopping the carrots

It’s been a pretty special few weeks, and with the tally of free weekends we’ve had since we’ve moved here still hovering at a whopping three (….since March!….), I can’t deny the fact that though this upcoming weekend will hold no knockout dinners (Outerlands, you killed it once again), no afternoons spent drinking white sangria whilst in the grips of a fierce game of bocce (because I can’t not take a visitor to our favorite Sausalito haunt), and no tear stained napkins after one amazingly talented groom-to-be took out his guitar and sang his own flawless rendition of the most touching Avett Brother’s song while we swayed to the last of the daylight amongst the tall Adirondack pines….

It’s a weekend I am fervently anticipating.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - snow peas cut and ready

(Major brownies points for that last one folks. Maje.)

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - washing the bok choy

By now I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say how busy we’ve been (whine, whine, whiiiine!!), and trust…. I’m tired of saying it myself.  But we are finally facing down the second half of a week that will be capped off with *just* a weekend – just one of the plain old vanilla kind, spent here in the city, in and around the neighborhood we now call home, and hopefully punctuated and permeated with all of those fantastic things that make a muted weekend so sweet.

chicken noodle soup with baby bok choy, snow peas, rice noodles, ginger & garlic - fresh rice noodles

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hello, august: heirloom tomato BLT salad with goat cheese and dijon vinaigrette

heirloom tomato BLT salad with goat cheese and dijon vinaigrette

There are few things in life that delight me more than fresh tomatoes ripened on the vine; that earthy and slightly spicy scent that rubs off on your fingers when you carefully twist one apart from it’s branch is, to me anyway, quite possibly one of the most intoxicating perfumes that exists in nature.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - fresh heirlooms

But tomatoes require patience, a virtue that I, categorically speaking, have not exactly been renowned to posses. For try as you may, you simply cannot force a tomato; I am a firm believer that there is nothing in this world less enticing than a watery, mealy, pale round of ‘tomato’ sliding sadly out the side of a sandwich in the middle of Winter. What’s the point?

heirloom tomato BLT salad - thick cut bacon

Sure, you can eek by with some hothouse-grown grape tomatoes in your salads for most of the year, and, in their own right, they will do perfectly fine. But if you forgo the sad and sallow ethylene-ripened specimens and hold out for the Real McCoys, that patience is handsomely rewarded.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - fresh arugula

And come August, they’re ready — and here we suddenly are.

heirloom tomato BLT salad - the makings of a great dressing

heirloom tomato BLT salad - perfect vinaigrette

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it’s a wrap: pork & quinoa lettuce cups with thai chili, bell pepper, and coconut cream

pork & quinoa lettuce cups with thai chili, bell pepper, and coconut cream

I made these lettuce cups a few weeks back, and, lemmetellya — these bad boys are a keeper.

pork & quinoa lettuce cups, quinoa rinsed and ready to cook

I’m not generally one to wrap things up in lettuce and call it a day (I’m sorry, but is there anything more depressing than watching someone attempt to wrap a juicy cheeseburger in a flimsy wisp of romaine lettuce and proclaim that they truly don’t even miss the bun?), but I will admit that sometimes when I crave something that normally requires some sort of vehicle to get it from Point A (the plate) to Point B (your mouth), I don’t actually feel like noshing on said (usually bready) vehicle.

pork & quinoa lettuce cups, fresh thai chilis - warm & spicy!

Tortillas, wraps, pitas – I do love all of them, but after recalling pizza, fish tacos, and a pita-fueled mezze platter on my list of eats week-to-date, I was feeling a bit breaded out.

pork & quinoa lettuce cups, fresh grated ginger & garlic

Enter these lettuce wraps – where the exclusion of any wrap-type thing adds to the intensity of the flavors and lets the ingredients shine. Here, sauteed ground pork is mixed up and folded together with crunchy bell peppers, spicy thai chili rounds, and a hefty dose of garlic and ginger, and the whole lot is bound together by a silky hit of coconut cream.

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