Monday, August 12, 2013

Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops with Quinoa Salad

That's right, it's time for our favorite supper...Lamb Jam! This time we are featuring lamb loin chops, which come from the middle, lower section of the rear quarter. They are tender and require minimal cooking time.

We made quinoa salad for the side. I sometimes find quinoa to be bland, but the mix of ingredients in this recipe made it anything but. This was a perfect summer meal - healthy and fresh.

Recipes from

Quinoa Salad
Makes 4 servings

1 1/4 cup water
1 cup quinoa
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes.

Combine water and quinoa in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 10 minutes.

Add frozen peas, and cook for another 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and let sit covered for approximately 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in feta, mint, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper. We recommend cooking this first, since it can be served warm, room temperature, or cold.

Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 lamb loin chops (trim the visible fat)

Trim the visible fat from the lamb loin chops.

Combine salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Pat lamb dry and rub with the spice mixture.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook until browned, approximately 6 minutes on each side (we cooked it to 145 for medium rare).

Serve with quinoa.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs with Smashed Chickpea Salad

Our friend Carmela introduced us to smitten kitchen a few years ago and it has since been a go-to blog for baking recipes. Not only do we like the fact that most of the recipes require ingredients that we normally already have in, but they are also quick to assemble.

The blog's cookbook is no exception. We've tried a few recipes now - all flavorful, easy enough to make on a weeknight and impressive enough to serve at a dinner party. It's just two months from the wedding, so we are trying to eat "healthy" (or at least our version of healthy) - turkey meatballs and a salad fit the bill.

Sesame-Spiced Turkey Meatballs
Adapted from the smitten kitchen cookbook
1 lb ground turkey
2/3 fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
A little less than 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Mix all ingredients and shape into small meatballs.
2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Get out your cast iron pan (or any oven-safe pan) and heat on medium with a layer of olive oil.
3. Cook meatballs in cast iron plan, flipping over after approximately 4-5 minutes, or until browned on each side. Drain excess oil and put the pan in the oven to cook meatballs through, until they register at 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 10 minutes).
4. Serve with smashed chickpea salad.

Smashed Chickpea Salad
Adapted from the smitten kitchen cookbook

2 cans of chickpeas, drained
3/4 cups pitted and thinly sliced green olives (used the extras from our cheese platter - score!)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 teaspoon salt
Olive oil

1. Mix all ingredients (except for the olive oil). Smash the chickpeas in the salad, but not to the point where it is smooth - it should be chunky.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and mix.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo
The weekend to kick-off summer proved to be rather rainy and cold (thanks New England) so when were preparing dinner on Friday, we were more in the mood for something heart warming. We decided on trying a new recipe, chicken vindaloo, and it was perfect. This recipe is definitely a keeper (I admit, I literally licked the plate) and since most of it can be prepared ahead of time, we will definitely bring it out for a dinner party some night.

If you enjoy Indian food, investing in these spices is worth it. Once you try this dish, you'll be making it a lot! For those of you who are local to Boston, we bought most of the spices (the ones in the bags) at Polcari's Coffee in the North End.

Chicken Vindaloo
Recipe by Madhur Jaffrey (adapted)

2 teaspoons cumin seed
3 chiles, dried
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons black mustard seed
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seed
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
Vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 1/3 cups water
2 pounds boneless chicken, cubed
1 inch ginger, peeled and crushed
1 head garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seed, ground
1 1/2 teaspoons tumeric, ground
8 oz. tomato sauce
3-4 potatoes, roughly chopped


Vindaloo Paste (you can make this ahead of time and freeze it):

1. Grind cumin seeds, red chilies, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds. Put the spice mixture in a bowl and mix in vinegar, salt, and sugar.

2. Cook onions in oil over medium heat in a large pan, until they are brown/crispy. Remove the onions and puree them in a food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Add this puree to the ground spice mixture.

The rest:

1. Puree ginger and garlic in a food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Cook chicken cubes, until they are lightly brown on all slides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste to the same pan over medium heat. Stir for a few seconds and add the coriander and tumeric.

4. Add the chicken, potatoes, vindaloo paste, tomato sauce and approximately 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low, allowing the dish to simmer for an hour or until the chicken is tender and the potatoes are cooked.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicken Saltimbocca
We love the prosciutto from Salumeria Italiana in the North End and usually accompany it with cheese as an appetizer. We had some leftover and decided to try making the classic Italian dish, chicken saltimbocca. Although this dish is traditionally made with veal cutlets, we chose to use up the chicken that was already in the freezer. This meal was incredibly easy to make and came out great!

Chicken Saltimbocca
Serves 2


4 chicken cutlets (or slice 2 chicken breasts in half and pound to flatten)
8 slices of proscuitto
Salt and pepper
12 sage leaves
Olive oil


1. Season chicken cutlet with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Lay 3-4 sage leaves on one side of the chicken cutlet. To secure the sage leaves, wrap the chicken cutlet with 2 slices of prosciutto.

3. Dredge the chicken cutlet package in flour and shake off the excess flour.

4. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken for approximately 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from saute pan.

5. Deglaze saute pan with 1/4 cup of white wine and scrape browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Whisk in one tablespoon of butter. This is going to be your sauce.

6. Add chicken back into the pan and saute for approximately two minutes on each side. Remove chicken from pan and serve with pasta. Drizzle sauce over chicken and pasta.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mela {South End, Boston}

Photo credit:

As much as we love the old school vibe and Italian offerings of our North End neighborhood, Chuck and I are beginning to miss the variety and constantly changing restaurant scene we were had in our neighborhood in DC. Last night we had a hankering for Indian food and after about 10 minutes of research settled on Mela in the South End.

We haven't explored the South End and had the same thought upon arrival: this looks like Logan Circle. Plenty of new restaurants dotting wide streets, offering many different types of cuisine. Mela, part of One World Restaurants (including Kashmir and Diva), is located in the middle of the main drag and is rather small in size with with a hip vibe. There were quite a few groups waiting in the entryway (who seemed to have reservations) so we thought it might be awhile, but by some miracle we were seated immediately. First impressions, woohoo!

The menu is standard for an Indian restaurant. If you are on a date and in an eating mood, we recommend going with the non-vegetarian dinner for two. For $45 total (not per person), each guest is served a bowl of mulligatawny soup and meat samosas to start. We were allowed to pick two entrees and went for the traditional lamb vindaloo and butter chicken. Our entrees were served with basmati rice, naan, and an assortment of tandoori meats. Still hungry? We each got to pick a dessert. The food was excellent and for the price of the dinner for two, we couldn't have been happier with the meal.

Mela on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DePasquale's Homemade Pasta Shoppe

We try to cook dinner as much as possible, but I have to say when you live in the North End, it's tough.  Walk outside our apartment and there are Italian restaurants galore. One place we've come to visit on a weekly basis is DePasquale's. This shop is known for it's homemade pasta, ravioli, and gnocchi. It also offers a variety of Italian specialty foods: cheese, meats, spreads, etc.

However, we have come to love DePasquale's sandwich offerings. The French loaf is from Bricco Panetteria (also part of DePasquale's Ventures), which is probably the best bread around. Each slice of meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato is freshly cut for each sandwich. Our favorites are the Panino (fresh mozzarella, proscuitto, tomato, and basil) and the Italian (a selection of Italian meats, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, onion). We've come to realize one sandwich is enough for two people (assuming you have a side of chips), so for a little less than $8 you really can't beat this tasty deal.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Girls' Weekend in NYC

I've made a couple of trips to NYC recently: one I still need to blog about, and the more recent that I'll discuss now. My good friend came all the way from down under to the States for the holidays, so the girls and I reunited in NYC, the most central place when you are scattered between DC, NYC, and Boston.

Photo credit: Trip Advisor
Upon arrival we headed to Philip Marie, a hopping brunch spot in the West Village. For $24.95 you can have bottomless mimosas and bloody Mary's with any entree on the menu. Most of our table ordered the favorite Marie wrap, filled with scrambled eggs, bacon, grilled ham, onions, mushrooms with cheddar and pepper jack cheese with skillet potatoes and tomato salsa. Some of us decided to pair up, so we could enjoy two different entrees; Katie and I split the wrap and the crab cakes benedict. I loved the wrap, but the DC in me couldn't help but overly enjoy the crab cakes. In most bottomless brunching situations, I consider the drinks to be on the weaker side. This is not the case for Philip Marie. We weren't crazy about the bloody Mary, but their mimosas were strong, and they refilled them quicker than our water glasses. Words of advice, be prepared to yell across the table - it's probably one of the loudest restaurants in which I've eaten. Also, the number of people you are with determines the time you have at your table - for eight ladies we had a three hour reservation.
Philip Marie on Urbanspoon

Photo credit: Yelp
For dinner, we made reservations at Cuba in Greenwich Village. The restaurant has a very chill and intimate vibe - dimly lit, live music, and many groups of people who were clearly celebrating something. For us, it was three birthdays. We started with mojito pitcher and the ceviche mixto with shrimp, calamari, and scallops marinated in lime juice, red onions, avocado and cilantro; and yuca con mojo, potatoes with garlic mojo. Swayed by the recommendations of our passionate waiter, most of us went with the vaca frita: pan fried skirt steak with the same garlic mojo, parsley, and onions. He had warned us that dish calls for the meat to be cooked medium-well to well done, and as promised it suited for this dish. It was delicious and reminded me of my trip to Puerto Rico. Another popular entree at the table was the tilapia Santa Clara with Peruvian corn, artichokes, scallions and a brown butter almond sauce. I didn't get to try it, but everyone was very pleased with their meal. Both entrees were accompanied by rice and beans. I thought the menu was reasonably priced for a hopping NYC joint, with entrees ranging between $17-$24. On your way out, don't forget to stop by the cigar roller - they are complimentary! Be nice and leave him a tip.

Cuba on Urbanspoon