One of the things I hear people complain about when summer ends is that cook-out season is over. I’ve always thought that was odd. My family grilled year round. I remember my dad and grandpa out on the deck of our mountain cabin, even in the snow, grilling steaks on the BBQ. For some people though, the harshness of the winters where they live just doesn’t make that an option. Solution: their oven’s broiler and a good broiler pan!
I’d never consider it if I had to use the hard to clean, slide out broiler pan drawer that was part of my mom’s 1970’s oven. Thankfully technology has improved enough to encourage me to give indoor broiling a try. When I upgraded my slide in range there was a parts order form included. The only thing that caught my eye was an easy to clean broiler pan with a roasting rack. Once I had the part number it was easy to find, and get it faster, on Amazon. As soon as I got it, I started experimenting with fast & easy indoor grilling recipes for the winter.
Indoor Grilled Swordfish
- 2 – 4 to 6 oz swordfish filets
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup butter melted
- freshly ground sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups arugula
- sliced cucumber
- sliced tomato
- bottled red wine vinagrette
- olive oil spray
Remove the slotted top of the broiler rack and set aside. Line the inside of the broiler pan with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup). Spray the roasting rack lightly with olive oil spray and place onto the foil lined broiler pan.
Liberally salt and pepper one side of the swordfish steaks and place, seasoned side down, onto the prepared rack. Salt and pepper the top side of the swordfish steaks, then squeeze your lemon over each steak until you’ve gotten about 2 tsp of juice on each steak. Brush each steak with the melted butter. Put them under the broiler, about 2 to 3 inches from the heat source. Broil the steaks for about 4 minutes.
Turn the swordfish steaks, squeeze your lemon over each steak, brush each with melted butter and broil for 5 minutes longer. DO NOT OVERCOOK or your swordfish will get rubbery. When your steaks have finished cooking, remove the broiling pan from the oven, set on the stove, and tent loosely with foil while you prepare your salad.
Divide the arugula between 2 plates. Divide your tomatoes between the plates, with then just to the side of the arugula. Stack & quarter your cucumber slices then divide them between the plates, scattering them atop the arugula. If it’s avocado season, and you like them, slice one up and add it to the top of your salad. Lightly dress your salad with 2 TBLS red wine vinagrette. You don’t want to overpower the lightness of your fish. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
I’ll never be able to do enough cardio to exercise off the deep love I have for the food of my Daddy’s Alabama family. Shrimp & Grits are, by far, the one dish I can never say no to, as my jeans will attest…
This Food Network recipe from Tyler Florence tabs itself the “Ultimate” and I have to say, he’s not just tooting his own horn. This dish is pretty damn good & it satisfies my 3 recipe musts:
- Must be quick
- Must have ingredients that are easy to find
- Must not require culinary school skills to make!
Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Shrimp & Grits
- 3 cups milk
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the milk and cream. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, thin it out with a little extra cream. Season with salt and pepper.
- 2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped (1 tsp pre-chopped in the jar)
- 1 pound Andouille, or spicy Italian sausage, cut in chunks
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 to 3 bay leaves
- 2 pounds raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
- pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 TBLS finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 4 green onions, sliced
Place a deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Toss in the bay leaves. When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the shrimp. Poach the shrimp in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick. Add the cayenne pepper, Tabasco and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the parsley and green onion. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl. Add the shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately with crusty bread and ice cold beer. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Once school starts, week night sit down dinners together for most families become a memory. This recipe requires few ingredients, can be made in under 30 minutes (while Mama is sipping her glass of wine), can be made ahead and reheated, and makes week night dinners together something that doesn’t have to stop as soon as summer is over! This serves 4 but can easily be doubled to serve a larger family or guarantee leftovers. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Lemon Pepper Shrimp with Linguine
- 1 – 8 ounce package linguine pasta
- 1 pound fresh shrimp, peeled & deveined
- 1 TBLS olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced (I use the pre-chopped jars which would equal 3 tsp)
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Salt to taste
- 2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 TBLS chopped fresh parsley
- 1 TBLS chopped fresh basil
- Shredded Parmesan cheese
- Whole basil leaves for garnish
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil
- Add linguine and return to a boil
- Cook according to package directions for al dente pasta (usually 11 to 13 minutes)
- Drain the pasta and put into a large bowl
- Toss with 1 to 2 TBLS olive oil and set aside
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and saute garlic about 1 minute
- Mix in chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, & pepper. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about 1/2
- Mix shrimp, butter, parsley, and basil into the saucepan
- Cook 2 to 3 minutes, until shrimp is opaque
- Stir in the cooked linguine, and continue cooking 2 minutes, until well coated
To serve, place a mound of pasta in the center of dish and divide the shrimp and sauce evenly between the plates. If desired sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese atop and garnish with leaves of basil. This dish pairs nicely with chilled Sauvignon Blanc. #GirlsGoneWine
I love quiche. It’s one of those dishes that can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or it can even be poured into mini muffin tins and made into appetizer sized servings. Quiche is also one of the rare egg-dominant recipes that can be made ahead and frozen for later use. This recipe is one I found in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook years ago, and one that is still featured on their website. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
Bacon, Gruyère & Spinach Quiche
- All-purpose flour for rolling out dough
- 1 disk cream cheese pie dough, thawed, or purchased piecrust
- 6 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Prepare the pie dough (Cream Cheese Pie Dough link above) or remove purchased pie dough from package
Preheat oven to 400°F.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch round tart pan and trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold the overhang back over itself and pinch to create a sturdy edge. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
Bake the pastry shell until the edges are lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool briefly. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F.
Make the filling
In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan, add the shallot and cook just until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add the spinach mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
Bake the quiche
Sprinkle the bacon and the cheese into the pastry shell. Pour in the spinach mixture. Bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool briefly. Remove the pan rim, cut the quiche into 6 wedges and serve warm. If freezing, set aside to cool (see note below). Serves 6.
Note: To freeze, let the baked quiche cool completely. Wrap in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, place the unwrapped quiche on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 325°F oven until heated through, about 40 minutes.
I love seafood! Cooked or raw, I love it all, so I was pissed when I developed an allergy to one of my favorites, scallops! Lobster, crab, & clams are my first choices if available, so, thankfully, that was the only shellfish that I’m affected by or it would definitely be #HoustonWeHaveAProblem!
Because I actually like to taste the clams, and don’t want to have to dig through a murky sea of potatoes in search of a few scattered slivers, there are few places, outside of Ivar’s in Seattle & Atlantic Fish Company in Boston, where I choose the cream based New England Clam Chowder that most people are familiar with. If given the choice, I much prefer the spicier, tomato, broth based, Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Because few places on the west coast offer a decent version of the chowder I prefer, I found a couple of recipes that I was able to pull parts from to create one that’s both satisfying and can be made with minimal effort.
Manhattan Inspired Clam Chowder
- 48 little neck clams
- 2 – 8 oz bottles clam juice
- Quarter pound bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
- 7 cloves garlic, chopped
- Pinch dried, crushed red pepper
- 2 celery stalks, quartered & chopped
- 2 carrots, quartered & chopped
- 2 large white potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes
- 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 Cup dry white wine (Chardonnay is fine)
- 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Freshly ground salt & pepper to taste
- 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Wash the clams well under cold running water in colander.
- Place clams in a large pot, and add enough water to cover clams by 2 inches.
- Cover the pan and place over high heat.
- When the water comes to a boil, give the pan a good shake.
- Turn the heat to low, and cook clams another 30 seconds or so.
- Remove from the heat, and take out all the clams that have opened, using a slotted spoon. If any clams remain closed, put back on the heat, with the lid on the pan, and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Remove remaining clams, reserve, discard any clams that have not opened.
- Pour the clam juice through a fine strainer and measure. If you have more than 4 cups, simmer to reduce to 4 cups.
- Put the bacon into a large, heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the bacon begins to brown. Pour off excess fat, leaving behind the bacon and about 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan.
- Add the onion, celery, garlic, and crushed red pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up all of the brown bits
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more.
- Tie the parsley sprigs, fresh thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and add to the pot.
- Add the reserved clam cooking liquid, the bottled clam juice, the potatoes, and the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
- While chowder is coming to a boil, remove clams from their shells and chop coarsely. Add to chowder and reduce heat to low.
- Cook over low heat for another 5 minutes; check to make sure potatoes are soft and chowder is well seasoned.
- Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Divide among warm soup bowls and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately.
For a fancy touch you can leave a few clams in the shell and float a couple in the bowl. Serve with crusty sourdough bread and butter and a salad for a hearty meal. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
You have a few wine options with this chowder:
- (White) Partially-Oaked Dry California Chardonnay pairs nicely with the crushed red pepper, potatoes, thyme and onion in this dish
- (White) Unoaked Medium-dry German Riesling is a nice compliment to the tomatoes, onions, peppers and potatoes in this dish
- (Red) Oaked Italian Barbaresco pairs beautifully with the peppers, potatoes, onions and celery in this dish
Westerly Wines 2014 Bentrock Chardonnay – Rated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast: Available at The Original Wine Club
Dr. Heidemanns Bernkastel Auslese Riesling – Rated a 93 by Wine Enthusiast: Available at Totalwine.com for $19.99.
Rivata Barbaresco – Intense, cherry spiced, medium bodied, and available at Totalwine.com for $21.99. #GirlsGoneWine
Scallops are one of the most delicious seafood dishes when prepared properly.
In a November 2016 posting, Mark Bittman of epicurious.com shared some of his tips and tricks for making a foolproof seared scallop dinner. This #FastAndEasy recipe will make anyone you’re serving them to think you slaved all day!
Seared Scallops with Pan Sauce (Serves 4)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or water, or more as needed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Cut 2 tablespoons of the butter into pea-sized pieces, put it on a small plate, and stick it in the freezer. Heat a large skillet over medium-heat high for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil and wait for the butter to melt.
- Pat the scallops dry with paper towels, add them to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper; work in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the skillet. Cook, turning once, until they are well browned on both sides but not quite cooked through, 2 minutes per side (less if the scallops are under 1 inch across; more if they’re over). Transfer the scallops to a plate.
- Stir in the garlic, lemon juice, and wine and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the liquid in the skillet thickens, a minute or two, then whisk in the butter you chilled in the freezer, one bit at a time, to make a creamy sauce, adding another tablespoon or two of liquid if necessary.
- Return the scallops to the skillet and add the chives. Adjust the heat so the sauce bubbles gently and toss to coat the scallops with the sauce. To serve, transfer the scallops to a platter and spoon the sauce over all.
- Seared Scallops With Cherry Tomatoes and Basil: Skip the lemon juice. Cut 1 pint cherry tomatoes in half. Add the tomatoes with the garlic and wine and cook until they wrinkle a bit and release their juice, 2 or 3 minutes. Use chopped fresh basil leaves instead of chives.
- Releasing From The Pan: The scallops will offer no resistance when they’re ready to turn. Press down gently while the scallops cook to encourage full contact with the pan, then listen for a hiss: That’s moisture heating and evaporating.
- Getting A Good Sear: The idea is to brown the scallops well on both sides without overcooking them, so keep the heat as high as you can without creating too much smoke.
- Building Sauce With Butter: After you add the liquid and deglaze the pan, the addition of butter develops fantastic creaminess and richness.
- Finishing The Dish: As soon as the scallops are cooked through completely and coated with the sauce, remove the pan from the heat; they will continue to cook. Nick-and-peek into one if you need to check for doneness.
- Make sure you pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. Only a dry scallop will sear properly. A perfectly seared scallop should be nicely browned on the outside and buttery in the middle.
- A paring knife should slide in and out with almost no resistance, but as always, the best way to check it is to make a small slice into one and look (or taste). The inside should remain translucent. High-quality scallops are delicious raw and tend to dry out quickly: It’s better to undercook than overcook. #ThisGirlLovesToEat
I love a big, juicy cheeseburger but they can get boring after a while. This recipe is one that will definitely take away the boredom and might even be one that I can whip out at a tailgate this football season to change it up a bit!
Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach
- 10 ounces baby spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
- 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed
- 4 slices of provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto
- 4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted
In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.
In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.
These burgers would be great paired with a fruit forward zinfandel like a 2015 Sextant Zinfandel Holystone out of Paso Robles, CA or an Artezin 2016 Old Vine Family Farmed Sustainable Zinfandel out of Mendocino County, CA. #ThisGirlLovesToEat