Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Pan Seared Wild Salmon With A Chili Lime Rub And Mango Salsa

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It was a special week night me for Steve and I because we were given 2-16 ounce wild salmon fillets as a gift. You know how expensive salmon can be, especially wild salmon, forget about the fact they were 16 ounces each. Now, it is no problem for either of us to finish a piece of salmon this size at all, because of how much we love salmon. I do want to tell you that because it was a week night, I wanted the sides to be as special as the star, and I think rice is a great pairing for fish. They really have some great choices at the store that are quick cooking, brown or whole grain, and I’m not afraid to use them at all. The one that I found by Minute Rice was so good. All I did for it was to cook it in low sodium chicken broth for flavor, and I threw in a few golden raisins for some sweetness. I also found 2 beautiful heirloom tomatoes that I simply sliced up with a sprinkle of Kosher salt and pepper. Next I made a quick mango salsa and let those flavors marry in the frig while I moved forward.  You can find that recipe on my “Pico de Gallo Two Ways” at the search bar on my blog. All three of these side dishes took no time to pull together while the salmon was cooking. I have talked about a good friend of mine who owns Spice Blends, and she gave me a chili lime rub blend that I thought would be perfect for this salmon. All I did was to get my cast iron skillet screaming hot with a light coating of Canola oil. I brushed the top side of the salmon with Canola oil, then sprinkle the rub on. I set the fish in the pan, skin side down for about 5 minutes. These pieces of salmon were about 2-1/2 inches thick at their widest point, so I wanted them to get a good start on top of the stove. Now in the mean time, the oven was preheated to 450 degrees ready for the fish. Then I placed the pan into the hot oven to finish cooking. About 5-7 minutes. Next, I turned the dial to broil, and broiled the salmon for about another 5 minutes. That was it. I took the pan out of the oven and covered the pan with foil to let the salmon rest for a minute while I quickly sauteed off 6 large wild shrimp that I got at the store for a special garnish. In a small plastic bag I marinated the shrimp really quickly with Kosher salt, pepper, minced garlic, lime zest, and a tablespoon of olive oil. While the salmon was resting, in a small saute pan, I melted 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter on med high heat. The shrimp will saute very quickly. I tossed the shrimp in, and in 2 minutes, or when they turned pink, they were done. You don’t want over cooked shrimp. Now all the components for this dinner are finished, its time to plate. The brown rice with the golden raisins, the heirloom tomatoes and mango salsa that have been waiting in the frig, and finally the shrimp along with the start of this dinner, the Pan Seared Salmon With A Chili Lime Rub. I rented the movie “Boyhood”, and it was, “Dinner and a Movie”.

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Savory Beef Brisket

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I love making beef #brisket for so many reasons. I’ts really just one of those styles of meats that you can #tastethelove and do just about anything with. I like to take the cooked brisket and portion it out. Because there is only two of us, a 3 pound piece is more than enough to make different styles of meals out of the same batch that was cooked. For example; on the first night, I added some of my homemade barbecue sauce to half, and we had barbecue beef brisket sandwiches. My favorite way is to not add anything to the finished brisket, and with it’s savory beefy broth, make tostadas. That’s what I’ve done here. Let me tell you how easy this recipe is to do.

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I start  with the #brisket, and turn the meat over so the fat side is up and score the fat. I just simply season the meat liberally with salt and pepper on the scored fat side. I throw some large chopped pieces of garlic in the bottom of a casserole dish and lay the beef in the dish fat side up. There are only a few ingredients going in. I pour over the meat a mixture of, beef consomme, low sodium soy sauce, liquid smoke, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. To that I add an onion that I’ve quartered, broken up into smaller pieces, and place around the outside of the brisket. the last ingredient is, I add in one can of fire roasted diced tomatoes that have been drained, and spread the diced tomatoes over the top. Next I wrap the whole thing with plastic wrap and set into the refrigerator over night.

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The next day when I’m ready to cook this off, I take the plastic wrap off and replace it with foil, bake it off at 300 degrees for around 1 hour and 15 minutes a pound. So for this size piece of brisket, comes to 3 hours and 45 minutes. I do however check it after 3 hours to see how it’s doing, because sometimes it may not need the whole 45 extra minutes. If after 3 hours you can stick a fork into the brisket and you can tell it’s going to fall apart easily, then go ahead and take it out and let it rest covered on the counter for about 15 minutes.

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Now after the meat has rested for a bit in it’s juices, I pull the foil off, take a fork and scrape the cooked tomatoes off to the side where they fall into the broth. I pull the tender brisket out carefully and place it on my meat board. I start with cutting the fat cap off, then I just shred the meat with two forks. While I’m doing this, I have the casserole dish on top of the stove, on med high heat reducing the broth so that it becomes more intense with beef flavor.

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Once the broth has reduced by half, I turn the heat down to low and the brisket back in and let simmer for another 10 minutes, and then remove the dish from the heat.  You can see how the meat just absorbs most of that delicious broth. I like to keep it covered with foil so its stays nice and hot until I’m ready to dish this savory delicious #brisket up. I was saying earlier how my favorite way to eat this was. Well this is what I do.

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I have to have some Pico de Gallo first. You can get my recipe for Pico de Gallo with the search bar under, Pico de Gallo two ways.

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I place some of the #brisket on a Tostada, then some freshly grated Jack cheese, and top it with some of my delicious Pico de Gallo. This is definitely my favorite way to eat this scrumptious savory beef #brisket.

Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Oven Temp: 300 degrees
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients: 3 pound flat top beef brisket
1/4 cup of beef consomme
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
Juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon
4 dashes of liquid smoke
3 cloves of chopped garlic
1 large onion quartered and broken up
1-15 ounce can of drained fire roasted tomatoes ( diced tomatoes are fine)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Place chopped garlic in bottom of a casserole dish. Score fat side of the brisket with salt and pepper liberally. Place the brisket, fat side up into the dish. Place the quartered onion pieces all around the outside of the brisket. Add the drained fire roasted tomatoes all over the top. Mix all the liquid ingredients, beef consomme, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and lemon juice together then pour over the brisket. The liquid will settle on the bottom. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 24 hours. Set the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and replace with foil, and place into the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes per pound. Check after 3 hours to check on tenderness to see how much longer you need to cook the brisket. It may need 15- 45 minutes longer. When finished, remove from oven, let rest covered for another 15 minutes. Take the tomatoes from the top and scrape them off the sides of the meat. Remove the brisket out from the dish carefully and cut the fat top off, then shred the beef. Reduce the broth, by half on med high heat,( whisk the broth occasionally) on top of the stove while your shredding the meat. then add the meat back into the broth and let simmer on low for another 10 minutes. That’s all there is to it. At this point you could add you favorite barbecue sauce and stir the sauce through or just serve this savory beef brisket as is. Both ways are delicious.

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My Gluten Free, Meat Free Veggie Balls In Marinara Sauce

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So really, I’ve been working on some new recipes for my daughter to try out because she doesn’t eat meat. Now, she’s not gluten free, but a friend of mine is. I think it’s just easier to come up with new recipes when you have someone that you can test them out on. Tonya, practices a gluten free, and meat free lifestyle, so being able to make dishes for her, and get her input, is so important. I knew that this recipe had to have some great flavors going in, this way, the lack of any meat wouldn’t be missed at all. I’m not saying that this dish is for everyone, but if you are meat free and gluten free, I can tell you this dish does not disappoint. Also if you do eat meat, and just want to cut down on your meat intake, this is a great alternative.

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So what I’ve done here is to roast off an egg plant that I’ve cut in half, and some cremini mushroom, that I’ve laid out, and sprayed with non- stick cooking, on a baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil each half of the egg plant with Kosher salt and pepper then lay them cut side down on the sheet.I did not add any salt and pepper at this point to the mushrooms. I only drizzled them with some olive oil before roasting both off at 425 degrees for around 20-25 minutes. The mushrooms won’t n take the whole 20-25 minutes,  pull them out after about 10-12 minutes. Just let them wait for the egg plant to finish cooking.

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So now I scrape the egg plant out of its skin and place it into a food processor with the roasted mushrooms. Then I pulse those for a minute, until it looks like this.

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Next, I take the egg plant and mushrooms that I’ve pulsed and place them into a large mixing bowl. Moving on, I add some other ingredients to the food processor. Cannellini beans, marinated artichokes,with their oil, roasted Piquillo peppers, whole garlic cloves, diced onion, Kosher salt, and pepper to the food processor. Pulse a few times until it looks like this picture above. Then add it to the bowl with the roasted egg plant and mushrooms.

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Now all the veggies are in the bowl, now it time for a few more ingredients. A beaten egg, #glutenfree bread crumbs, You could most certainly substitute some cooked  Quinoa for the bread crumbs. Worcestershire sauce, fresh oregano, fresh Italian parsley, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt, and black pepper. The last picture is what all the ingredients will look like at this point. Next, to make the balls.

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On two baking sheets, this amount will yield, 30-32 2 ounce balls. I use one of those 2 ounce ice cream type scoops to make sure they are all the  same size. Now I place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Then they go into the frig over night. This gives them a chance to really set. Now for me, I decided rather than browning them off in some oil in a frying pan, that I would bake them off. I just wanted to eliminate the extra fat, since I wanted this dish to be as healthy as possible.

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As you can see here, they browned nicely. I just drizzled them with a little olive oil on the top of each one and baked them off at 300 degrees for just a few minutes. The veggies were all already cooked, it’s just the egg I used as a binder that I wanted to cook all the way through. Now because these are veggies and not meat, they tend to flatten slightly on the bottom. I don’t see this a being a big deal, however: if you want to keep the integrity of the round shape, you could just go in and turn them gently half way through the baking process using 2 spoons to flip them over. This will stop them from settling a bit on the bottom side. Once they come out of the oven set them aside while the marinara sauce finishes simmering on the stove. I think that, if you set the hot veggie balls into the hot marinara sauce, they will just start to dissolve right into the sauce and loose their shape. Remember they are all veggies. The day you want to make this dish, the only thing you need to do is to make the marinara sauce.

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So if you’ve read any of my earlier posts. I make my sauce the same way whether I add meat or just make the standard marinara sauce. So if you want my recipe for sauce, just check out any of my pasta dishes from earlier recipes. Basically I just saute a diced onion in a little olive oil, to add in some minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried basil leaves, Kosher salt and pepper. I let these ingredients saute with the spices for 2-3 minutes on med heat  before  I add in some low sodium chicken broth. I let this come up to a bubble then reduce by half and then add in the San Marzano crushed tomatoes, 1 small jar of pureed Piquillo peppers, and to that some light brown sugar, to cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes. Whenever I make any type of tomato sauce, I always add in pureed roasted red peppers. I just happen to love the Piquillo peppers, they are really sweet.  I let the sauce simmer, turning the heat down to low  for a an hour stirring occasionally. I just think it really concentrates all that tomato goodness in the sauce. After the sauce is done, I take it off the heat and add in some fresh torn basil leaves. This extra ingredient brings a nice sweetness and a bright red color to the sauce. It also echos the flavor of the Piquillo peppers in the veggie balls.

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When I’m ready to serve this dish, I take the veggie ball out of the frig, heat them up separately on a baking sheet in the oven on a very low temperature, around 275 degrees in the oven. Be sure to keep an eye on them. You just want to warm them through. Then I ladle some of my really hot sauce on the bottom of a serving plate. Add the amount of warmed up veggie balls to the sauce. Then I just spoon a little of the hot marinara sauce on top of each one, sprinkle some fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley, and garnish with some fresh basil. I do it this way to make sure the veggie balls hold their shape.

Prep Time: 40 minutes ( this time is to make the veggie balls the day before)
Inactive Prep Time:24 hours
Yields: 32- 2 ounce balls
Prep Time: 5 minutes ( this is the prep time for the marinara sauce)
Cooing Time: 1 hour
Tip: can be stored in air tight resealable bags and frozen

Ingredients for veggie balls:
1 roasted egg plant-pureed
1 pint of roasted cremini mushrooms-pureed
1 jar of Piquillo peppers- pureed
1 jar of marinated artichokes with their oil- pureed
1- 15 ounce can of Cannellini beans- pureed
1 onion diced ( this also get pulsed in the food processor)
3 whole garlic cloves ( this also gets pulsed in the food processor)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
3-1/2 cups of gluten free bread crumbs

Ingredients: Marinara Sauce
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes ( Optional)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
2-28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
1 jar of pureed Piquillo peppers
1-2 tablespoons of fresh torn basil leaves

Directions: The day before you want to serve this dish, you want to make the veggie balls. Let them rest, on the baking sheets, in the frig, for 24 hours covered with plastic wrap. You could make the marinara sauce the day before as well. If you’re making the sauce the same day you are serving, start the sauce on the stove and when the sauce is close to being done, preheat the oven to 300 degrees. When the oven is ready place the cold veggie balls into the oven, and watch them carefully. You just want them to heat through and keep their round shape. After the veggie balls are warmed through, place some of the hot marinara sauce on the bottom of a plate. Then set the veggie balls on top of the hot sauce and drizzle some more of the marinara sauce on the top of each one. Garnish with some fresh chopped Italian parsley, and even a sprig of fresh basil.

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My Recipe For Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Over Red Quinoa

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When I started playing around with this recipe, I somehow knew it was going to be delicious. The sweet and savory components, accompanied by its complexity in flavors shine through. I will say that if you’re not a fan of blackberries, not to worry, because, there are other fruit options, like, apricots, peaches, even raspberries. The other thing I wanted to talk about is the preparing of the chicken. I know that whenever you make a one pot meal, like braised short ribs, Coq au Vin, or even this chicken dish, the browning of the protein first is very important. This part of the cooking process ensures extra flavor and seals in the juices. To be honest, the browning of the meat in oil in batches can be a real pain. The oil splatters all over and it just takes some time to do. I decided,why not roast the meat off in the oven first and eliminate this step. You know do it all at one time, so that’s what I’ve done here. The meat is still all caramelized and no mess.

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Alright, so here I have four large chicken breasts, skin-on, bone-in, that I’ve cut in half. I patted them all dry really well with a paper towel, then seasoned them with Kosher salt and pepper. I drizzled olive oil over the tops of all the chicken and roasted them off, on two sheet pans, in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Then I turned the oven over to broil to really bring home that crunchy brown skin, just like you would get if you were to brown them off in the pot. Now, once you’ve turned the oven over to broil, it only takes a couple of minutes for this part of the process, so you want to keep a close eye on the chicken. I would say maybe 5-7 minutes under broil on the dial. I’m not trying to cook the chicken here, that will happen during the braising process, I just want that golden brown color on the skin. While the chicken is browning in the oven, on top of the stove, I’ve started making the sauce that the chicken will be cooking in.

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Here at the top picture are my ingredients. Of course you could make your own barbecue sauce, but why would you with everything else that’s going on. Buy you favorite bottled sauce or maybe you have some on hand that you can use, because it’s all going to cook down anyway to make this amazing sauce. Save your homemade barbecue sauce when you want to make that the star of your dish, know what I mean. In a large heavy bottom pot I have some onions and garlic sauteing in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. If you like some heat in your dish, add some cayenne pepper too, that’s totally optional. Once the onions and garlic have softened nicely, add in a cup of your favorite bourbon. On med high heat let the bourbon reduce by half.

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Next, turn down the heat to med and add in the sugar free blackberry jam. I figured there is enough sugar in the barbecue sauce that I didn’t need the extra in the jam. Stir this all around until the jam has been incorporated. To that add in the bottle of barbecue sauce. Let all this cook for just a minute or two before adding in the chicken broth. Now add in the chicken broth, stirring the sauce all together. Place all the chicken pieces back into the pot.

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As you can see. after adding in the chicken, the liquid has risen, and that’s fine. You don’t want the chicken to be completely submerged in the braising sauce. Bring everything up to a bubble then reduce to a simmer. Place the lid on the pot.

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Now place the pot into a 350 degree oven for around 40-45 minutes.

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Once the pot has come out of the oven, remove the chicken from the pot and place on a dish for a minute. Let the sauce reduce on top of the stove on med heat. Watch the sauce carefully, stirring it continuously so it doesn’t burn. The sauce will thicken to the point where it coats the back of a wooden spoon. At this point add the chicken back in, and add in those beautiful blackberries.

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Still on med heat, continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes with the lid off, gently stirring. This is when I start my Quinoa on another burner. After 15 minutes, remove the pot of blackberry #barbecuechicken from the heat, place the lid back on so it stays nice and hot. The Quinoa takes about 15-18 minutes as well.

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One cup of Quinoa to two cups of low sodium chicken broth. I just bring all that to a boil on med high heat, then reduce it to a simmer, turning the heat down to med low, and put a lid on. Continue simmering for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the Quinoa with a fork.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes ( long enough to chop onions and garlic)
Cooking Time: 1 hour- 1-15 minutes ( remember the chicken is browning at the same time the sauce is be prepared on top of the stove)
Yields: 4 servings ( if you are serving 2 pieces of chicken per plate)

4 large chicken breast, bone-in skin-on
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Ingredients for sauce:
1 large onion diced
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper ( plus 1 teaspoon of cayenne optional)
1 pint of good bourbon
4-5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 small jar of sugar free blackberry jam
1 standard bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
2-1/2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 pint of fresh blackberries
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley for garnish

Directions: While your roasting off you chicken at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, start you sauce on the top of the stove. Once you have all the ingredients working on top of the stove. Next turn the dial on the oven to broil for around 5-7 minutes to get that golden brown crust on the chicken. When that’s done browning remove the chicken from the oven and set it aside while you finish up adding the rest of the ingredients (except for the fresh blackberries) for the blackberry barbecue sauce. Add the roasted chicken back in and bring everything up to a bubble, then reduce to a simmer. Next put the lid on and place into a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. At this point remove the lid, take the chicken back out and reduce the sauce until the thickness coats the back of a wooden spoon. Maybe another 15 minutes or so on med low heat, stirring it occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  Let the flavors all concentrate. Add the chicken back in and the fresh blackberries. Give all this a gentle stir, let simmer with the lid off for another 15 minutes or so. That’s when you make the red Quinoa. This way the blackberries that you added at the end and the Quinoa will be done about the same time. Server the Quinoa as a bed for the delicious Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Chicken to rest upon. Garnish with some fresh parsley. Once you try this dish and see how tender the chicken comes out and how all those flavors compliment each other. I just know this is one you’ll be making again and again.

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