Week Nights

Flank Steak Salad

July 25, 2013

Flank Steak SaladFlank Steak Salad

It’s still hot outside and I am continuing to avoid turning on my oven if I can avoid it.  Here is the perfect summer salad that will definitely leave you feeling satisfied.


3 Ears Fresh Corn (Cooked & Cut From The Cob)

1 Cup Cannellini Beans

1 Large Diced Roasted Red Pepper

2 Cups Green Beans (Blanched & Cut Into 1 Inch Pieces)

1 Cup Grape Tomatoes (Halved Lengthwise)

1/2 Cup Minced Red Onion

1/2 Cup Chopped Olives

1 Diced Yellow Plum

1 Avocado (Cut Into Chunks)

1 Seeded & Minced Jalapeño

10 Basil Leaves

1 1/2 Pounds Marinated Flank Steak

1 Cup Hoisin Sauce (For Marinade)

1 Cup Sriracha Sauce (For Marinade)

Tzatziki Sauce For Dressing

In a medium size bowl combine the hoisin sauce and the sriracha sauce.  Place the flank steak into a large size ziplock bag and pour the hoisin mixture in.  Zip up the bag and give a few gentle shakes to cover all of the flank steak.  Place into the fridge for 4 hours or more.  I like to marinate overnight, but if you’re short on time then 4 hours will work just fine. When you are ready to make the salad remove the flank steak from the fridge and let it rest on the counter while you are assembling the salad.  In a large size bowl toss together the corn, cannellini beans, green beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado, Jalapeño and basil.  Remove the flank steak from the ziplock bag and throw away the bag and the marinade.  On a grill pan grill the flank steak for 4 minutes per side (depending on how rare you like your steak).  Remove the flank steak from the heat and transfer to a plate.  Let rest for 10 minute.  Slice the flank steak and place on top of the salad.  Serve with Tzatziki Sauce as a dressing.  Serves 4


Honeydew Melon Gazpacho

July 16, 2013

Honeydew MelonHoneydew Melon Gazpacho

This cold soup is extremely refreshing.  The sweet honeydew mixes well with garden fresh cucumbers and onions for a sweetened spin on the traditional tomato gazpacho.  Oh and by the way, it’s super easy to make too!


3 Tablespoons Minced Red Onions

3 Tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

1 Large Honeydew Melon (About 8 Cups)

1 Large Peeled & Seeded Cucumber

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Put the minced onions into a small size bowl and add the sherry vinegar.  Let the onions soak for 20 minutes.  Peel and seed the honeydew.  Cut the honeydew into 1 inch cubes and place into a medium size bowl.  Chop the cucumber and place into the honeydew bowl.  Put the onions with the vinegar, honeydew, cucumber and kosher salt into a food processor or a blender.  Pulse until pureed.  Pour into a large size bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours until the gazpacho is completely chilled.  Remove from the fridge when ready to serve and ladle into individual bowls.  Serves 4

Bastille Day Pain Française

July 13, 2013

French BreadBastille Day Pain Française

Tuna sandwiches à la française!  The best way to make this very large sandwich is to make it a day in advance.  This allows the delicious juices to soak into the French bread.  Make sure to use olive oil packed tuna instead of tuna packed in water.


1 Large Loaf of French Bread (Round or Long)

2 Garlic Cloves Cut in Half

1/4 Cup Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar

1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Medium Sliced Ripe Tomatoes

1/2 Cup Fresh Basil

1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint

6 Ounces Canned Tuna Packed in Olive Oil

1/3 Cup Pitted & Chopped Kalamata Olives

2 Chopped Green Onions

1 Tablespoon Capers

1 Large Hard Boiled Egg Sliced

Cut your bread in half horizontally.  Take out some of the soft center from each half to make about a one inch shell.  Rub the inside of the bread halves with the garlic.  In a small sized measuring cup mix together the olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt and pepper.  Drizzle 1/4 of the olive oil mixture onto both halves of the garlic rubbed bread.  On the bottom half of the bread place 1/3 of the tomato slices.  Drizzle about half of the remaining oil mixture onto the tomato slices.  Next top with half of the basil and all of the mint.  Set aside.  Drain the tuna.  In a small size bowl flake the tuna.  Add the olives, green onions and capers.  Spoon the tuna mixture over the tomato and herbs.  Place the egg slices on top.  Put the remaining tomato slices and basil on top of the egg slices.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil mixture.  Place the top half of the bread on top all of this deliciousness.  Wrap this large sandwich tightly with either foil or plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for at least 5 hours or overnight.  Remove from the fridge when ready to serve and cut into 4 separate sandwiches.  Makes 4 main dish servings.

Pain Francais

Spicy Wok Green Beans

July 12, 2013

Green BeansSpicy Wok Green Beans

BUT Victoria I don’t have a wok!  No problem at all if you don’t have a wok then use a large cast-iron skillet, but if you DO have a wok then drag that baby out for this dish.  Searing green beans in a dry wok really gives them a mild smoky flavor.  This dish tends to be a bit spicy because the chiles are sliced and cooked with their seeds (the seeds are the hottest part of the chiles).  If you want to tone down the spiciness then don’t cook the seeds and just throw them away.  Make sure not to touch your mouth or eyes after slicing the Serrano chiles.  Trust me I’ve done it plenty of times.  OUCH!


1 Pound Trimmed Green Beans

4 Sliced Garlic Cloves

2 or 3 Thinly Sliced Red Serrano Chiles

1 Tablespoon Black or White Sesame Seeds

3 Tablespoons Water

2 Tablespoons Tamari

Place your wok or cast-iron skillet on the burner and turn the heat up to high.  Heat the wok until it’s very hot.  Place the green beans into the wok and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir constantly. You will want the green beans to begin to blister and brown in spots.  Now add the garlic, chiles and sesame seeds.  Cook for another minute continuing to stir.  Add the water and then place a lid on the wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.  You will want the green beans to be crisp-tender.  Take the lid off and cook for another minute until there is no water left and the ingredients are dry.  Remove from the heat and stir in the tamari.  Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Tamari is made from soybeans, water and salt.  Tamari has a more intense and more complex flavor than regular soy sauce.  It also has a higher concentration of minerals, has a thicker consistency and is darker than regular soy sauce.


Zucchini Pesto

July 9, 2013

zucchiniZucchini Pesto

Many of us who have gardens or friends with gardens usually have zucchini coming out of their ears!  Yes, even in New York City people have gardens (community gardens & rooftop gardens).  Here is a nice way to make zucchini that is worth a try.


8 Grated Medium Size Zucchini

1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt

2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts

2 Chopped Garlic Cloves

1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

3 Tablespoons Butter

In a large size colander combine the zucchini and 1 tablespoon kosher salt.  Sit it in the sink or over a large bowl, for 30 minutes, in order for it to drain. While the zucchini is draining place the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, kosher salt and Parmesan cheese into a food processor (or blender) and process until mixed well.  In a large sauté pan melt the butter over a medium heat.  Add the drained zucchini and sauté for 3 to 6 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.  Stir in the pesto and serve immediately.  Serves 4

Refreshing Ginger Tea Drink

July 8, 2013

Refreshing Ginger Tea DrinkGinger Tea Drink

Here is a refreshing summer drink that you and your loved ones will take a liking to.  With the hot weather here we all need to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated!


4 Cups Boiling Water

15 Individual Green Tea Bags

3 Cups White Grape Juice

1 Cup Apple Juice

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Ginger

2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint Leaves

1 Green Apple Sliced For Garnish

In a slow cooker combine the boiling water and the tea bags.  If you don’t have a slow cooker you can make this on the stove in a large pot on simmer.  Cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Throw away the tea bags and stir in the grape juice, apple juice, honey and ginger.  Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until heated through.  Strain and transfer to a large covered pitcher (or two covered pitchers).  Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours.  When ready to serve pour into glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves and apple slices.  Makes about 2 quarts.


Okra Tomato Soup

July 6, 2013

Okra 2Okra Tomato Soup

This soup is super fresh and super yummy!  If you don’t want to use beef stock then use a vegetable stock.


1 Pound Peeled & Chopped Ripe Tomatoes

1 Cup Water

1 Pound Trimmed Fresh Okra

4 Cups Beef Stock or Vegetable Stock

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

In a heavy pot place the tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.  Add the trimmed okra.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the okra is nice and tender.  Add the beef stock, kosher salt, pepper, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a large serving bowl.  Serves 4


Summer Orzo Salad

July 3, 2013

Summer Orzo SaladSummer Orzo Salad

I get tired of the same old side salads so I created this lively Summer Orzo Salad that goes with just about everything.This salad is also great for a picnic or potluck because it doesn't contain mayo.


1 Cup Cooked Orzo

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

3 Large Chopped Shallots

1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Cup Halved Grape Tomatoes

10 Sliced Radishes

1/2 Cup White Beans

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1/4 Cup Prepared Italian Dressing

Cook the orzo in a large size pot of boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes until al dente.  I used a fancy black and white orzo, but you can use any kind that you like or have on hand.  Drain the orzo and drizzle on the olive oil.  Give a good stir so the olive oil coats all of the orzo.  Set aside.  In a small size bowl place the chopped shallots and pour the lemon juice over the shallots.  Let the shallots sit in the lemon juice for about 10 minutes.  In a medium size bowl add the tomatoes, radishes, white beans, kosher salt and pepper.  Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and mix well.  In a large size serving bowl add the orzo.  Drain the shallots and discard the lemon juice.  Add the shallots to the orzo and give a good stir.  Now add the vegetable and dressing mixture and combine well.  Finally add the chopped basil and give another good stir.  Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge for 2 to 4 hours.  You can make this ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight.  If you need to add more dressing feel free to do so, but you really don’t want this salad to be drenched in dressing as it really should just be moist.  When you are ready to serve remove from the fridge and serve immediately.  Serves 6

Grilled Duck Breasts

July 3, 2013

Grilled Duck BreastsGrilled Duck Breasts

I don’t often eat duck because quite frankly I forget about it.  While I was at the market last weekend I ran across duck breasts and decided to throw them in my cart not knowing what I was going to do with them of course.  Here is what I came up with.


8 Duck Breasts (2 per Person)

1 Bottle Beer

1/4 Cup Meat Rub

8 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Ziplock Bag

Most of you know that I’m really into marinating things in the ziplock bags.  For these duck breasts you really need to marinate them overnight in the beer.  Place the duck breasts into the ziplock bag and pour the beer in.  Zip up the bag and give it a gentle shake to evenly distribute the beer.  Place the filled bag onto a plate in case there is any drip and put into the fridge overnight.  Remove from the fridge when you are getting ready to grill.  Remove the duck from the beer and throw the beer away.  Place the duck onto a large plate and drizzle both sides with the olive oil.  Then rub your favorite meat rub onto both sides of the duck breasts.  I used Victoria’s Dry Rub which was fabulous.  After preparing the duck breasts let them rest on the counter while you prepare the grill.  Get the grill to a medium-high heat.  Place the prepared duck breasts onto the grill and close the lid.  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side depending on how rare you like them.  Remove from the grill when done and place onto a serving platter.  Let rest for 10 minutes.  Slice or serve whole.  Serves 4

Note:  If you don’t have a grill or can’t barbeque remember that whatever you can do on a grill you can do under an oven broiler or in a grill pan on top of a burner.

Tender Salt Chicken

June 29, 2013

Tender Salt ChickenTender Salt Chicken

If you’re looking for a new way to make chicken here is a nice change of pace.  It’s made with a wonderful Asian ingredient called Shio-Koji.  Shio-Koji is a Japanese traditional condiment made from malted rice and salt.  Its salty flavor can be a great substitute for salt, by lowering the overall salt content to less than 50%.  Shio-Koji is a live food that is rich in enzymes.  It brings out the umami in foods.  Shio-Koji imparts a rich savory flavor making any dish delicious.  It is excellent to use when marinating fish or meat and can be found in most Asian grocery stores.


2 Tablespoons Miso

1 Tablespoon Shio-Koji

1 Pound Chicken Thighs

4 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

In a medium size bowl combine the yogurt, miso and Shio-Koji.  Mix well to combine.  Place the chicken thighs in a large ziplock bag and pour the Shio-Koji mixture in the bag to cover the chicken.  Zip up the bag and give a good shake to ensure that all of the chicken is nicely covered.  Place in the fridge and let sit for at least 2 hours.  Place a large size sauté pan on the stove and pour in the olive oil.  Turn the heat to medium-high and place the chicken thighs into the sauté pan.  Cook one side for 3 minutes and then turn over.  Cook the other side for another 3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a serving plate.  Serves 2


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