Thursday, March 29, 2018

PAN FRIED SOLE WITH LEMON-BUTTER SAUCE

If it was Friday, we had fish for dinner. My mom always served fish with corn cakes, aka corn hoecakes or johnnycakes. It was a Southern tradition to serve them with fish in case you swallowed a fish bone. There are two types of sole; Dover (caught in the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean) and Pacific (caught from California to Alaska). Pacific Sole does not fall apart as easily as Dover Sole, but they are equally delicious. You can also make this with flounder, cod, halibut, trout, or snapper. My recipe for a salad with Lemon-Vinaigrette follows.



6 sole fillets
½ cup flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup avocado oil
4 T unsalted butter
2 t grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T minced Italian parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and have a heatproof platter ready.


In a shallow bowl, add the flour and season generously with salt and pepper.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels and dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off excess.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Fry 2 fillets at a time for about 2 minutes on each side.
Place on a platter and keep warm in the oven while frying the rest of the fillets.

Pour out any oil in the pan and carefully wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
Add the butter and melt over medium-low heat.
Add the lemon zest and lemon juice to the pan and heat through.

Pour over the fish, sprinkle with minced parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with lemon wedges.


Serves 2 to 4


VEGETABLE SALAD WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE

This is one of our favorite salads to have with pan-fried sole. It would also be good with any grilled meat.



Lemon Vinaigrette 
2 t Dijon mustard
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, pressed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place above ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
You can also do this in a jar fitted with a tight lid and shake to combine.
Set aside while assembling the salad.

1 large bunch arugula
1 large bunch spinach, stems trimmed
1 small bunch watercress
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced
1 bunch French green beans, steamed for 3 to 4 minutes
Pea shoots, optional
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 to 6 jarred or canned anchovy fillets, drained
Lemon wedges, for serving

Place a bed of arugula, spinach, and watercress on a large platter.

Add the eggs, tomatoes, cucumber slices, green beans, pea shoots, scallions, and anchovy fillets. 
Drizzle with the Lemon Vinaigrette and garnish with lemon wedges.

Serves 4










Monday, March 26, 2018

THAI CUCUMBER SALAD

Cucumbers are extremely beneficial for your health. They are mostly made of water and important nutrients. This is a healthy version of an Asian cucumber salad. I added a couple of Thai chiles for a little heat.



2 English cucumbers, washed, unpeeled, and thinly sliced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 T cilantro leaves, chopped
¼ cup rice vinegar
2 t sesame oil
1 T honey or granulated sugar
1 T fresh lime juice
2 Thai red chilies, thinly sliced or ¼ t red pepper flakes
½ t sea salt

1 t toasted sesame seeds

Place cucumber slices in a large bowl.
Add the scallions, cilantro, vinegar, sesame oil, honey or sugar, lime juice, red chiles or red pepper flakes, and salt.
Toss to combine and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Friday, March 23, 2018

INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN

Here is another one of our favorite Asian dishes. This dish comes from India and you can make it with lamb if you prefer. Somehow all of those curry spices make your stomach feel good. 


4 boneless chicken breast halves
Juice of ½ large lemon 
1 t hot chile powder
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 t ground turmeric
½ t ground coriander
½ t ground cumin
1 t garam masala
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 T grated fresh ginger

Curry Sauce
6 T unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 T grated fresh ginger
½ t sea salt
1 t ground fenugreek seeds (I grind them in a designated coffee grinder for spices) 
1 t paprika
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 ½ cups chicken stock or broth
½ cup half-and-half or Greek yogurt

Cut chicken into chunks and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, chile powder, yogurt turmeric, coriander, cumin, garam masala, garlic, and ginger.
Add chicken to mixture, stir to combine, cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat broiler to high.
Place chicken pieces on a baking sheet or cast-iron skillet and brown under broiler. Flip over with a spatula and brown the other side. This should take about 7 minutes on each side.
Remove from oven and set aside.

In a large cast-iron skillet, h
eat the butter over medium heat and cook the onion and jalapeño pepper for 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute.
Add the chicken to the skillet. 
In a medium-size bowl, mix together the salt, ground fenugreek seeds, paprika, tomato paste, and chicken broth.
Pour into the skillet and stir to combine well with chicken.

Cook a couple more minutes and then stir in the half-and-half or Greek yogurt.

Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve with cooked Basmati rice.
Before serving, sprinkle with chopped cilantro

Serves 4 to 6 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

THE ULTIMATE CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

These enchiladas are as good as you can get in a Mexican restaurant and you know what the ingredients are. If it's only two of you, you have enough for another dinner. You can also make this a day before you want to serve them. Just cover and refrigerate and bake as directed. If you are in a hurry, use canned enchilada sauce.



3 large bone-in chicken breasts
1 T avocado oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Southwest or Mexican seasoning

Homemade Enchilada Sauce, recipe below, or 2 (10 oz )cans red enchilada sauce
8 flour tortillas
1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1½ cups Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, shredded

Sour cream, for serving
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Pumpkin seeds, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving                               
                                                                       
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place chicken in a large cast-iron skillet and drizzle with oil.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place in oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until skin is golden and juices run clear.
Temperature with an instant-read thermometer should register 165 degrees F.

Remove chicken to a platter and allow to cool.

Add onion and jalapeno to skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute. 
Add the Mexican or Southwest seasoning and cook another minute.
Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the Homemade Enchilada Sauce or cans of enchilada sauce to the skillet and let slowly simmer while shredding the chicken.

Grate cheeses and add to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

Pour enough of the enchilada sauce to coat the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.  

Place tortillas on a work surface and evenly divide the shredded chicken and most of the grated cheeses into the center of the tortilla.
Spoon in about a tablespoon of enchilada sauce on top.
Roll up and place filled tortillas, seam side down, in the baking dish.

Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over and top with the rest of the grated cheese.
Cover loosely with parchment-lined aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve enchiladas topped with a dollop of sour cream, cilantro, and a lime wedge.

Serve with black beans sprinkled with pumpkin seeds.

Serves 4 to 6

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

4 T tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 T ancho or New Mexican chile power, or your favorite 
1 t chipotle chile powder
½ t oregano
½ t ground cumin
½ t ground coriander
1 t red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place above ingredients, except salt and pepper, in a saucepan and let simmer 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6

Friday, March 16, 2018

OLD VIRGINIA BRUNSWICK STEW

Brunswick Stew was served at Virginia's tobacco-curing, sheep shearing, barn building, and other gatherings. The story goes that a hunting party in Brunswick County, well provisioned with tomatoes, onions, butter beans, okra, bacon, salt, and corn, left one man behind to have the dinner ready at the end of the day. He could only find a squirrel within range of the camp. So he shot it, cleaned it, and threw it into the pot with the vegetables. When it was served, all of the hunters agreed that squirrel was the finest and tenderest of all wild meats. Chicken is now substituted...and that's a good thing! 
In 1775 my 5th great grandfather, Capt. David Chadwell appeared at the Colonial Capitol in the City of Williamsburg to testify against another man who stole his horse. I like to think that maybe that evening he dined at one of the taverns and had Brunswick Stew. 

Lee's Kitchen Tips:
If you do not have or like okra, which also is a healthy thickener, just spoon out 3 tablespoons of the melted butter-bacon grease mixture into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of flour to make a paste. Use this to thicken the stew before you add the boneless chicken pieces.
You can make this stew with your favorite bone-in chicken pieces or 1 whole chicken, cut up, including the backbone.



Chicken Stock
3 to 4 lbs, bone-in chicken pieces, remove most of the skin, or your favorite chicken pieces
1-quart chicken stock or broth
3 cups water

Stew
6 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced
4 T unsalted butter
1 large sweet onion, coarsely chopped
2 (14.5-oz) cans stewed tomatoes
2 cups frozen lima beans
2 cups frozen corn
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cups chopped okra 
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 sprig thyme or 1 t dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 t Old Bay seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce, optional

In a large cast-iron stew pot or Dutch oven, add the chicken pieces, chicken stock, and water.
Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 ½ hours.

Remove chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to cool. 
Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher or measuring cup. 
You should have about 3 ½ cups of stock.

In the same cast-iron stew pot or Dutch oven, fry the diced bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.
Add butter to the pot with the bacon fat and let melt.

Add the chopped onions to the butter mixture and sauté for 10 minutes.
Pour the strained chicken broth into the pot with the sautéed onions.

Add the stewed tomatoes, lima beans, corn, potatoes, okra, Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaves, and Old Bay into the pot.
Simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile remove the rest of the skin from the chicken and pull the chicken off the bones into bite size pieces and add to the pot. 
Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Simmer another 5 minutes, add the cooked bacon bits and serve with cornbread muffins and hot sauce, if desired.

Serves 6