Crab Quesadillas with Mango Avocado Salsa

Something about the oppressively hot and humid Florida weather has given me the urge to eat more seafood this summer. Maybe because its lighter fare? Maybe so I can pretend I’m on vacation somewhere tropical? Whatever the case, I had a craving for something pseudo-Mexican in flavors, so somehow, that resulted in quesadillas filled with king crab, a mango and avocado salsa, and some cheddar and monterey jack cheese.

This would have been a really quick meal to prepare if not for the one laborious, slow, somewhat aggravating process of harvesting every last bit of meat from the crab. If you can get help for this step, go for it–make those sharing dinner with you earn their keep! Its not like this step will take you hours, but for how quick the rest of the dinner goes, a little speed boost on this step (or a beer) will make you feel better. Everything else is very quick work: boiling… click to read more…

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Smoked Chicken Thighs with Pineapple Barbecue Sauce

While I’ve professed the wonders of brining turkey to ensure a moist bird, I’d never brined chicken before. However, after seeing what Jeff did with some chicken thighs, it seemed like it was time to give this a try. So I brined, smoked, and glazed some chicken thighs with a tangy pineapple barbecue sauce.

This was absolutely delicious and very well suited to July 4th weekend (or any summer weekend) kind of grilling/barbecuing occasion. The effort is pretty minimal and the results are very flavorful. If you were to taste the sauce alone without the chicken, it will taste a little unbalanced as far as a barbecue sauce goes (in my opinion–it leans most heavily towards sweet and spicy), but when combined with the chicken as a glaze after being flavored with… click to read more…

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Chicken Teriyaki Lo Mein

Asian cookery isn’t one of my strongest areas, so I have a tougher time dissecting flavors. Teriyaki sauce, one of those universal favorites, has always eluded me. The only way I could have it would either be by buying a bottle from the grocery store or having some haute cuisine on a toothpick at the mall. If this sounds familiar, I imagine you’ll be surprised by how simple Chicken Teriyaki can be.

I was originally inspired to try this after seeing some delicious looking Salmon Teriyaki over at Closet Cooking and I was almost shocked by how simple the basic teriyaki sauce was. It almost seemed too easy, but I figured why not just give it a shot. Tasting each component of the sauce individually, I dunno, I still had my doubts. But mixed all together, it was… click to read more…

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Creamy Mustard Pasta

When I think pasta, my head usually gets stuck on one of two kinds of sauces: tomato-based or garlic & cream-based. So imagine my delight when I saw a mustard-based sauce over at Thyme for Cooking. In retrospect, it doesn’t seem at all far-fetched, but it was eye opening at the time, so I had to try my hand at Creamy Mustard Pasta.

This dish is very largely inspired by Katie’s dish and I am very glad I tried it (not to mention beans in pasta, another new idea!)–as soon as we ran out, my wife demanded another batch be made promptly. I wanted something colorful and just full of earthy, vegetal flavors, so there’s a lot of that going on here: peppers, mushrooms, artichokes, kidney beans, pine nuts, etc. This was all tossed with bow-tie pasta (I usually don’t venture far away from linguine, so… click to read more…

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Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Port Cherry Sauce

When you’re entertaining, you want a dish that will look impressive, taste great, and somehow, not keep you chained to the kitchen all day. With new season lamb still gracing the shelves, I chose to roast a leg of lamb when I had guests over. This rendition has a mushroom/olive stuffing and is topped off with a Port cherry sauce.

When I first bought the leg, I had a tough time deciding what I wanted to do with it. Some times, the issue is you have no ideas at all–instead, I had ideas all across the board. Each was missing something, so then I started trying to mix ideas together and I had so many options before me, I was just lost. Somehow, in this fog of ideas, I wound up with this dish. The leg was deboned and marinated in a tangy, yogurt-based mixture overnight. Then, the leg was rolled up around a mushroom & olive-based stuffing before… click to read more…

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Carnitas with Roasted Corn Salsa

Even if Mexican food isn’t your thing, you have to love carnitas. What are carnitas, you might ask? Think something akin to a Mexican twist on pulled pork–juicy, tender, but paradoxically crispy and crunchy at the same time, all served on a tortilla, in this case, with a freshly made roasted corn salsa.

Carnitas with Roasted Corn Salsa

There are many approaches to carnitas out there, but I think they can pretty much be divided into two categories: semi-healthy using braised pork, or, as is the case with this recipe, a more traditional, heart-stopping approach on account of slow-cooking the pork in roughly a pound-for-pound equal amount of lard (like a confit).

Your reaction to that statement will go one of two ways: (1) holy shit awesome! (I agree 😮 ) or (2) grossed out and almost off-handedly ruled out as insanely unhealthy. If you’re in the latter group, slow down now and hear me out! After all, its not like you’re ultimately going… click to read more…

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