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Brussels Sprouts with Leeks, Lemon and Pasta

brussels sprouts with leeks, lemon and pasta

One of the great troubles I find in cooking is getting good side dishes to go with whatever else I’m serving. With few fresh vegetables available from local sources, you really don’t have a lot to choose from. But this one, you can serve either as a light main serving or as a side, depending on the situation, and the Brussels sprouts with leeks and pasta are very good in both cases.

I saw the first such recipe on a Bon Appetite site and after researching it, found several others that were similar, and decided to make my own version, with a little bit more pasta and a lot more lemon and garlic. You can play with this recipe a good bit without ruining it, and come up with your own version, if you like. It’s really that easy. And I love the nice brownness that really makes the Brussels sprouts come alive.

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Alfredo

lemon garlic shrimp alfredo

This lemon and garlic shrimp Alfredo is, believe it or not, a great Christmas dish around our house, in part because you can still get some very good shrimp this late in the year. And there really isn’t any reason I can think of to have a nice lemon garlic and cheesy Alfredo sauce just about any time of the year. Period.

The dish starts with a garlic lemony Alfredo sauce, which is nothing but butter, garlic, cream, a little lemon juice and zest, and cheese. And apart from waiting for the cream to reduce a good bit, there really isn’t much to make it. The shrimp I like to fry in some pancetta and (a little more) garlic, which takes only a little time, as well. (You can serve the pancetta with the shrimp or not — your call.)

Add a little fettuccine and your done. It’s a very nice, quick fix dinner or as a small plate for lunch.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

chicken thighs with lemon and oregano

There are many reasons I really like chicken thighs, but the main fact is they are just a whole lot more tender and juicy than other parts of the chicken. But that’s just one reason I love these chicken thighs. The rest is the lemon and oregano. For some reason, those two things really work well together and give the chicken a nice lemony  taste that’s just fantastic.

The recipe itself is pretty easy to make, although it takes a little bit of time and a careful watch over the thighs themselves, which if you’re not careful can get a little overcooked. Add a little corn with some fresh thyme and a little butter and you’re almost home.

This recipe originally came from  I believe a Bon Appetite recipe I saw a number of years ago and I know we’ve upgraded it a little, but not quite sure exactly how we did that.

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Flank Steak with Lemon Oil Marinade

Flank steak is a nice and different way to make steak from the grill, but only if you have a bit of time to marinate it. Throw a flank steak on a grill and you’ve got a pretty much unusable steak. But add a little marinade, let it sit overnight and cook it medium to rare, and you’ve got something special on your hands.

That’s where this lemon oil marinade, which is very simple, really does the job. The oil is simple. A good canola oil, some lemon, a little lemon zest and your on your way. Add a few other things — especially green onions — and your home. Now all you have to do is wait until the meat is ready to cook. 

As a marinade for steak, I really can’t come up with much better than this. It takes an ordinary, tough steak and makes it into a wonder. Setting aside the small number of ready to cook steaks — like filet mignon, strip or t-bone — I can’t think of a single marinade/sauce I’ve ever found that comes up to this in terms of the flavor it provides. I’ve also used this for everything from a London broil to tip steak, flank steak, skirt steak or just about anything else I can find. It’s that good. Because of the lemon content, you can also use a bit of the marinade to serve right over the steak, after it’s finished on the grill.

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Roasted Chicken with Sage, Lemon and Garlic

roasted chicken with sage, lemon and garlic

Every now and then, usually on a nice Sunday afternoon, I just have to have a roast chicken. In a lot of ways, it’s just an old habit creeping back into the future where people don’t often settle in for a long Sunday dinner. And we don’t — generally — do that much these days either. But this roasted chicken is not very hard and is reasonable in terms of what’s required and certainly by the result you get at the end. It does make a great Sunday dinner.

First of all, you stuff the inside of the bird with half a lemon, a quartered small onion, and a head of garlic, cut basically in half. The outside has a sauce made from sage, lemon zest and butter. With a little salt and pepper, you’re all set. That’s all there is. Bake starting at 425F and after half an hour, drop down to 350F and after about an hour or so, keep checking the temp until it’s ready.

I like mine with a little sage stuffing on the side, and maybe some noodles and some fresh carrots — and some nicely fried large sage leaves layered on the top. There are quite a number of other things that also go well with this. It’s really easy to make and comes off like a winner.

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Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

When I was very young, my grandmother was the one who cooked Sunday dinner and it was generally a mid-day affair that featured either a melt-in-your-mouth pot roast or a stuffed roasted chicken. There were other main dishes from time to time, but those were the two meals you could count on most Sundays. So when I was teaching myself to cook, roasting a chicken as my grandmother did — right down to the sage and onion dressing cooked in the bird — was something I picked up early and made for a number of years. Then, the lovely Carol and I began traveling, for business and pleasure. And early on, when I was still a bit uneasy with food I couldn’t recognize, roasted chicken was one of the things I’d order in restaurants, trying to be “safe.”

It was somewhere in a small town in France that I did just that, and discovered this wonderful roasted chicken. After a bit of a language struggle with my terrible French and the waiter’s reasonably good English, the chef came out and explained how the dish was made and I was shocked that the fragrant, juicy half chicken on my plate could be so simple.  

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Lemon Basil Ice Cream

I recently was cleaning up a basement room and came across an electric ice cream maker that probably hadn’t been out of the box for more than a decade. It certainly predates my interest in cooking and developing recipes. On rediscovering the appliance, I immediately started thinking about what I could do with it.

My first thought was to make something traditional, like a chocolate or strawberry ice cream, but that didn’t seem like it would be worth the effort. As I researched various recipes for the base custard, I started seeing recipes that incorporated various non-traditional ingredients like strong tea or herbs and that led me to think about the Mediterranean recipes I’ve been exploring recently and the flavors they incorporate. The result of all the ruminations was this lemon basil ice cream.

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