Toasted Spice Vinaigrette with Grilled Steak

10 Jul

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This month’s Bon Appetit features the most beautiful steak and tomato dish drizzled with a Toasted Spice Vinaigrette. Once I flipped through the pages (by the pool in full summer style), I couldn’t wait to make it. It’s simple, full of flavor and makes a regular grilled steak stand out from the rest. Make sure to use good fresh spices with this recipe – I recommend a trip to Savory Spice Shop in Friendly Center. They are pros. Let them know I sent you.

This simple meal could stand up to any dinner party. It’s a Sunday Supper or outstanding Saturday night meal with special guests.

Toasted Spice Vinaigrette from Bon Appetit, July 2014

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black

Toast coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Whisk with oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

 

4th of July Flag Cake

7 Jul

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South Carolina rockets flew over every neighborhood in Greensboro this weekend. Small gatherings, water balloon fights, parades full of kids and lots of hot dogs. There’s nothing like celebrating the 4th of July in your hometown. It’s Americana at its best.

In full spirit, I made Ina Garten’s signature flag cake. Almost two pounds of buttery goodness was spread through a large gathering of Greenborians at my friends Jamey and Phil’s party in Sunset Hills. The sloping raspberry stripe was it’s only fault – it was delicious and devoured by kids and children at heart. If you’re looking for a show stopper at your next patriotic party, make sure to shoot for these buttercream stars.

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Layered Cobb Salad

1 Jul

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It’s really feeling like summer lately – flags on porches, sunshine until nine at night, lots of rose wine pouring and an interest in never turning on the stove. Last night, I made a layered cobb salad for an easy weeknight meal with a friend – and lots of lunch leftovers. This salad can be made with all store bought ingredients – rotisserie chicken, precooked eggs and precooked bacon. Or you can take the time to cook each ingredient – it takes little to no time but requires a little heat in the kitchen.

This salad is perfect for a casual party (serve with a good crusty bread) or a picnic in the park. Get chopping!

Layered Cobb Salad:

  • 2 split chicken breasts (roasted in the oven at 400 for about 30ish minutes – or buy a rotisserie bird!)
  • 1  avocado, cubed
  • 1 head romaine, chopped
  • 5 bacon slices, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
  • a handful of grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • a handful or two of greens (baby kale, watercress, arugula)
  • 4 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 3 or 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber sliced

Layer the salad in a large bowl (I love the glass to show the layers). Romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, avocado, greens, egg and cheese! Dress with your favorite dressing.

Cheers to Five Years!

29 Jun

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This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of Mod Meals on Mendenhall! It’s hard to believe it’s been that long since I was sitting bored in my new house, without dog, on a hot summer day. At that point, I had no idea what the adventure would hold. But it’s included new friends, great learning experiences, many opportunities and lots and lots of fun.

This weekend I celebrated by relaxing and spending time with friends. With the holiday coming up with weekend, I’m planning lots of cooking that I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned!

Cheers to many more years!

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Porterhouse Pork Chop with Garden Chimichurri

23 Jun

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There’s a lot of chatter online right now about the renaming of cuts of pork. When it comes to a pork chop, I tend to go for the thickest cut, bone-in chop at the butcher. They can be grilled without drying out and can take a nice char. Next time you’re looking for a simple grilled chop, I recommend the Porterhouse Chop – formerly known as the Loin Chop. If you’re curious about cuts of pork, this is a great guide. 

Last weekend, before my week trip to the midwest and wild weekend in Asheville (why its been so quiet round here), I hosted a couple of friends for regular Sunday supper. I grilled Powerhouse Pork Chops, roasted baked fries with sweet and salty paprika (my favorite from Savory Spice Shop) and make a simple green salad. The creativity came through with homemade garden chimichurri. Chimichurri is an Argentinean zesty blend of herbs, garlic, tangy acids and shallots. It is perfect for any meat but particularly good on a bone-in juicy pork chop.

Porterhouse Chops only need a nice seasoning of salt and pepper, and several minutes on a very hot grill. Once cooked to your preference, serve with bright green and super tangy chimichurri! You’re friends will be very surprised if they think it is pesto!

Garden Chimichurri 

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sherry wine vinegar
  • juice of one  lemon juice
  • a large handful chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • a small handful chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large sprig chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 minced garlic
  • 3 minced shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a heaping pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until nicely blended and bright green! Smear on grilled meats and bread!

This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council.

 

Smoked Salmon Dip

17 Jun

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There is something about summer that screams HAPPY HOUR! Gin and Tonic, a splash of Saint Germain, a pour of rose – anything will do. But, you’ll need a good snack to go along.

This past weekend, I modified this Ina Garden recipe for a happy hour gathering.  I added more smoked salmon for more of a fishy bite (closer to my favorite childhood Smoked Mullet Dip). This took less than 10 minutes to make and was a big hit. Save it in your back pocket for your next happy hour.

Smoked Salmon Dip, inspired by Ina Garten

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound cedar smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in a stand up mixer until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Easy Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla

13 Jun

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I’m perfecting the weeknight single person meal these days. Nothing speaks “I need Friday” more than rushing home to open a bottle of red wine and make a simple dinner. Last night, I put together a Easy Chicken and Pineapple Quesadilla with all store bought items from The Fresh Market. Whole wheat tortilla, a rotisserie chicken breast, precut pineapple, cilantro, jalapeno slices and a little BBQ sauce or hot sauce. It was no work of art, but hot the spot after a long week and lean towards Friday. TGIF!

Rare Tuna and Roasted Cauliflower Salad

9 Jun

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Just another manic Monday. My summer has been packed with projects and I can’t seem to make more than 15 minute meals on a week night. And I’m not talking about the kinds on TV that involve weekend prep, freezing and crockpots. My 15 meals  mostly look like the above – a salad combination of greens, items from the olive bar, roasted cauliflower or broccoli and a piece of grilled fish. All in all, pretty healthy and sophisticated for a Monday night after a long day and a trip to the gym. I highly recommend getting creative. It makes busy living seem much more like ‘easy living.’

What is your goto weeknight meal?

Stock up. Summer Starts Now

2 Jun

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The weekend is already feeling distant at this point in the day on a Monday afternoon but the start of the summer felt great while it lasted. I spent my weekend drinking wine (obviously), doing some cooking and taking paddle boarding lessons! Just when you think there is nothing new to do in the area, you stumble on a unique adventure that changes all perceptions. Check out SUP Paddle Boarding lessons with Soraya! It couldn’t have been more fun.

With lots of t time seeking adventure, I love an appetizer that take almost zero time. A sweet peppadew pepper stuffed with salami and parmesan cheese was suggested on thekitchn.com a couple weekends ago. It’s a charming bite sized appetizer that is a punch of color and flavor. Just like all things summer should be. Stock up on staples and you’ll always have time to host.

 

Easy Grilled Bulgogi

1 Jun

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This is a Mark Bittman recipe, so it really needs no explanation. I’m not sure I would have attempted making my own Korean bulgogi with out the simplicity of this recipe. It takes practically no time, it’s uniquely seasoned and requires no unusually special ingredients. This paired very well with other small dishes and lots of wine. I’d even recommend a double batch, it didn’t last very long!

Beef Bulgogi

1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped

8 or more garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 pounds sirloin, rib-eye or skirt steak, thinly sliced, or 3 to 4 pounds beef short ribs, boned and thinly sliced

Boston or loose-leaf lettuce leaves for serving

Siracha, for serving.

Make a marinade by blending together the first six ingredients. Slice the steak and marinate for just two hours. Using a hot grill, grill slices very quickly to sear the beef but not over cook. Serve in lettuce leaves with siracha!

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