Chipotle Chicken Salad

I first tasted Chipotle Chicken Salad on a multi-family road trip to the Rio Frio area of West Texas.  It was a marvelous concoction by my friend Theresa on her day to make lunch for the crowd. I never got her recipe, and she is cooking with the angels now.  I miss her every day.  But I devised my own recipe based on that taste memory, and it’s pretty darn good.  It’s also very easy, and quick. I made it recently as an appetizer for a football-watching party and aw, shucks, there was abundant praise.  This recipe is as foodie-worthy as it is appropriate for a tailgate party.  Hmmm, there’s a big game coming up…

 

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked chicken, white and dark meat, skin off, roughly chopped (one regular-sized rotisserie chicken should yield about 3 cups when deboned)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (red, white or yellow based on your preference or mood)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jalapeño jack or jalapeño cheddar cheese
  • 1 minced chipotle chile and 1 1/2 tbsp. of the adobo sauce (from a small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 can of mild green chiles (4 oz.)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chile pepper (ground)
  • bread, rolls or crackers for serving, or you can put it on a bed of mixed greens
  • pepper jelly spread (optional), if you make little slider sandwiches
  • chopped cilantro for garnishing

Cooking Instructions

Combine the chicken, onion, cilantro and cheese in a medium bowl and toss.  In a small bowl, mix the chipotle and adobo sauce, yogurt, mayonnaise, green chiles, salt and ancho chile powder, then pour over the chicken combination.  Stir well to mix, taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary.  You can also add more mayo or yogurt if the mixture is too dry.

Garnish with cilantro and serve with crackers, slider rolls or on a bed of mixed greens.  Pepper jelly is a great condiment; I like the Inferno Sauce from Just Pure Flavors, a regular at our local farmers’ market.

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I took this batch to a football playoff party and let the guests make their own sliders
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We donated the (scant) leftovers of the first batch to the gracious party hosts, and were so sad to leave it behind that I made some more for us the very next weekend

About the Ingredients

I use a rotisserie chicken for this recipe, both the white and dark meat, which provides a broader range of taste and texture than just using chicken breast.

I go back and forth between using red, white or yellow onions – they are all good for their own reasons.  Red onions are apropos in Southwest dishes, and pretty.  Yellow onions are sweet and mellow.  White onions are crunchy, sharper and more pungent.  It’s all dependent upon your onion mood.

The Greek yogurt really gives the chicken salad a tart and tangy taste, while the mayo provides a sweet creaminess.  I like using them together for the balance.  You can use nonfat yogurt and light mayonnaise without impacting the taste, in my humble opinion.

If you have never used chipotle chies, it’s easy.  Just pop open the can and use the amount you need, saving the rest for later.  For this recipe, fish out a whole chipotle pepper, then mush your measuring spoon in the adobo sauce to get the 1 1/2 tbsp. you need.

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I like McCormick’s Ancho Chile Pepper for the dried spice-it-up kick.  If you can’t find it, cayenne will do, but it won’t be as multidimensional, taste-wise.

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As the “delivery device” for serving the Chipotle Chicken Salad, I used King’s Hawaiian Rolls this time, both jalapeño and regular-flavored, and of course the jalapeño ones went first – bring on the spice!  The slider-sized sandwiches are just right for a hearty party like the football-watching event we attended.  160212-jalapeno-rolls-framed-w-pkg-300x300

Wheat Thins or water crackers are also a great delivery device, more appropriate for snacking or an appetizer for a cocktail party.

 

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

Found Recipe: Fabio Viviani’s Short Rib Lasagne

One reason I love to travel is the exposure to different foods, cultures, ideas and people.  A case in point is the food discovery from last night at a business dinner in Chicago:  short rib lasagne.  Wow!  It was a blustery, windy, rainy night, and the sadly, the Cubs didn’t win, place or even show in their first World Series appearance in a zillion years, but the kitchen at Bar Siena on Chicago’s near west side was on its A-Game.

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It’s a hip and trendy atmosphere at Bar Siena, and the food is as rockin’ as the decor

fullsizeoutput_c7Let’s set the stage – the big ballgame was on, the place was packed with hungry and loud Cubs fans, and my dinner hosts were foodies.  We ordered a selection of cicchetti (Italian for “little bites” meant for sharing).  While the octopus with a chili vinaigrette and grilled shrimp with artichokes were wonderful, the short rib lasagne adorned with roasted garlic béchamel and taleggio cheese was the meal’s most valuable player.

This dish is now pretty high on my Must-Learn-How-to-Make List, and I found the recipe on the first page of Google search results.  The owner of Bar Siena is Fabio Viviani from Top Chef, and he shared his recipe with the world on Rachel Ray’s show.

With the windy weather and the World Series, autumn was in full swing last night in Chicago – and this dish really hit the spot.  We’re not quite there yet here in Southeast Texas, but once the chill sets in, I’ll be making this “warm up your bones” dish.  If you get to it first, please share the results!

Links:

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The lasagna before we attacked it

 

 

Grilled Tuna Burgers for Two

images-25We’re empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens now that the last millennial has gone off to college, so I’m trying to pare down the amounts when I cook.  It’s easier with some recipes than others.  These delicious tuna burgers are simple to make for two, or four, or more.  Just increase the recipe.

The tuna burgers benefit from what we call “Salad on a Sandwich”.  It’s a quick toss of baby spinach or other greens, red onion and tomato with a tiny bit of olive oil and a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar.  Salad on a Sandwich brightens up a variety of sandwiches and makes the everyday sandwich feel like a gourmet treat.  And it looks really beautiful.

Ingredients

  • Two 6+ ounce tuna steaks, about an inch thick
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne or ground ancho or chipotle chiles
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large bell pepper or several small sweet peppers, sliced into 1-inch wide strips, seeds, ribs and stems discarded
  • Olive oil
  • Grill spray
  • Two buns (we like onion rolls)
  • Purchased or prepared remoulade (click here for a killer and super-easy recipe)
  • Salad on a Sandwich
    • 2 cups baby spinach or your other favorite greens
    • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 very ripe medium tomato, thinly sliced, or 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved longways
    • 1 tsp olive oil or a few sprays from an olive oil mister
    • 2 tsp good-quality balsamic vinegar
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Cooking Instructions

Sprinkle tuna all over with salt, pepper and cayenne or ground chile. Toss peppers with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Assemble Salad on a Sandwich by combining and tossing all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  Prepare remoulade, if making your own.

Preheat gas or charcoal grill for cooking over high heat.

Wrap buns in foil.  Grill tuna and peppers on lightly oiled grill rack, turning over once, until tuna is pink only in center and peppers are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes total (peppers may take longer than tuna). In the last few minutes of cooking, put the buns in foil on the grill to heat them up.  Transfer tuna and peppers once they are cooked to a serving plate.

To serve, spread remoulade on buns (top and bottom), put a layer of grilled peppers on the bottom of each bun, and then top with a tuna steak.  Add a generous helping of Salad on a Sandwich, then cap the tuna burger with the top bun.  Enjoy!

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The Salad on a Sandwich and remoulade are ready, and the tuna has been seasoned in readiness for grilling.  Yum!
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Grill the peppers at the same time as the tuna; the buns can be warmed on the top shelf.
Grilled Tuna and Peppers
The tuna and peppers have been grilled and are ready for the sandwich.
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The remoulade and Salad on a Sandwich combine with the tuna and peppers to make a great burger with a variety of tastes, colors and textures.

This recipe works really well without the bun, too.  Just flip it – position the tuna steak atop the Salad (Not) on a Sandwich, then arrange the grilled peppers on the tuna and dress with the remoulade or serve it on the side.  It’s beautiful, healthy and low-cal.

Our other favorite seafood in a burger is salmon – click here for the recipe.

 

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Easiest Salmon Burgers Ever

Ever since I got out of the hospital and put that horrible food behind me (click here to read about it), I’ve been craving all of the healthiest foods in my comfort food category.  The Grill-Meister has been a great partner in this Healthy Comfort Food Quest.  He made his oh-so-wonderful Tom’s Smoked Salmon for me on Monday, the Labor Day holiday, and bought extra salmon for us to have salmon burgers.  Yum.

These salmon burgers are so easy they should be on the table at least once a month.  And they’re good, really good.

Made with fresh salmon, they’re so good that you might be able to convince an innocent child that they’re actually chicken burgers…that little white lie is between you and your conscience.  But hey – how is it different than Santa Claus?

Ingredients (Makes 6 Burgers)

  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) fresh (never frozen) salmon filets, skin removed
  • 1/8 cup minced red onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 cup capers, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • Six buns
  • Red onions slices
  • Sliced very ripe tomatoes
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Condiments:  mayonnaise, fancy mustards, or (my favorite) remoulade (click here)

Cooking Instructions

Cut the salmon in big chunks and add to the food processor.  Pulse until it is ground, but still a little chunky.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix first with a spoon, and then with your hands.  Divide the salmon mixture into six parts and form burgers with your hands, first by making a ball, then by pressing it flat onto a plate or cookie sheet.  Be careful not to overwork the patty, which will make it tough.  Put a dimple in the middle of each patty with your thumb, which will help it keep its shape.  Add another quick grinding of fresh pepper and salt.

Spray the gas or charcoal grill with grill spray, and heat it to high.  Grill the salmon for about 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired degree of doneness.  While the salmon is cooking, place the buns on a less hot part of the grill in foil to heat them up.

Serve the patties with the buns, tomato, onion, baby spinach or arugula and your desired condiments.

Variations

You can serve these patties without buns atop the greens with the fresh veggies and condiments.

If you’d like to sauté rather than grill them, measure one more cup of Panko after making the patties, add a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper to the Panko and mix well, then dredge each patty in the Panko mixture.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a skillet and sauté the patties over med-high heat, a few minutes per side, until they are done.

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Pulse the salmon in the food processor until it is ground but still a little chunky – this amount of salmon is for a half recipe, since we are empty-nesters here at Glover Gardens
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The ingredients for a half recipe (3 patties)
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Put all ingredients in the bowl, then mix with a spoon, and finally, your hands
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The patties (half recipe) ready to grill
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We also had our grilled asparagus that night; click here for the recipe
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The salmon burgers are lovely as an outside meal in late summer / early fall

Copyright Glover Gardens Cookbook, 2016.

Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling

One of the gifts I like to bestow on a loved one is to make a requested favorite dish or meal for their birthday dinner, and recently, one of my beloved nieces wanted lasagna.  I found a really good lasagna recipe on Epicurious, which had a terrific herb and cheese filling.  Of course I modified the recipe a bit, adding pesto to the filling, and also expanded the portions to ensure we could send care packages home with the birthday girl and our other guests.  There was some of the filling left over, so of course I had to develop a recipe to use it in…and thus, the Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling.

These burgers are sultry and rich, and need no added cheese.  To make them even more decadent, spread some of the leftover pesto-cheese filling on the buns.  You can also serve them with some of the pesto.  Yum!

Beef and Pork Burgers Stuffed with Pesto-Cheese Filling (serves 4-6, depending on your appetites)

Ingredients

Burger Mixture

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1/4 c. minced onions
  • 3 lg cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus extra to shake on patties
  • 1 tsps ground pepper, plus extra to shake on patties
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus extra to shake on patties

Filling

  • 1 cup ricotta or cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, romano, or other hard cheese
  • 1/4 already-prepared pesto
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Serve with…

  • Buns of your choice
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Red onion slices
  • Spinach or arugula
  • Leftover cheese spread and your choice of condiments (Dijon mustard is especially good with these burgers)

Cooking Instructions

Combine ground beef and pork in a medium bowl, then add the onions, garlic and spices.  Mix well with your hands.  Form the mixture into 6-8 loosely packed balls, depending on whether you want large or medium patties.

Combine the ricotta (or cream cheese) with the shredded cheese, pesto, salt and pepper, stirring well to ensure that it is completely blended.

Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper.  To fill the patties, take each one and make a deep well in it, then add a heaping tablespoon of the filling.  Carefully stretch and pull the patty to form it all the way around the filling, completely sealing it in the ball, then gently pat it into a patty shape on the cookie sheet.  After filling all of the patties, sprinkle them on each side with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a few more red pepper flakes.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour while you are heating up the gas or charcoal grill.

Grill 5 or more minutes on each side until the patties reach your desired level of done-ness, remembering that they include ground pork and should be at least medium.  The Grill-Meister gets a nice sear on each side and then moves the burgers out of the direct flame to let them reach medium.

Serve with your choice of buns, garnishes and condiments.

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A big dollop of the filling will make this burger very juicy
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Carefully flatten the burgers into the traditional patty, then sprinkle with more salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
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The Grill-Meister carefully manages the grilling so the patties reach just the right level of done-ness
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The finished product is a whopping big, beautiful burger; the pesto-cheese filling is a juicy surprise as you make it to the middle of the burger

You can pre-make these patties and freeze them ahead of a road trip or beach day, letting them thaw in the cooler as you travel to your destination.  They are wonderful when grilled on charcoal and eaten beside the pool or with the sand between your toes.

What’s in a Name? Turkey Cevap on a Pita

Turkey Cevap by the Pool
Turkey Cevap is as appealing as it is tasty.

It Started with the Lamb Patties from Epicurious

I found a recipe recently for grilled Middle Eastern lamb patties, which I shared with you here.  They were really good, and I started wondering if the really-goodness was about the ground lamb, or if it was the spices and preparation.  So I started experimenting and concocted a turkey version that we like even better.  More Southwestern than Middle Eastern, these grilled turkey patties pack a wallop of fiery flavors and are nestled in a soft pita with bright, fresh garnishes and a cooling avocado-yogurt sauce.

We loved them so much that I made them three times in two weeks.  They’re that good.

What’s in a Name?

I struggled with what to name this recipe, though.  “Patties” just didn’t sound right to me – that word is synonymous with burgers and their customary round shape.  My ground turkey delights, like the predecessor lamb version, are shaped like a fat cigar, a short sausage or a lumpy hot dog.  What to call them???  Kebabs?  No, because kebab signifies a skewer.  Sausages? Dogs?  Not quite right.

Cafe Pita Introduced Us to Cevap

The Grill-Meister rose to the naming challenge and came up with the winner, Turkey Cevap.  Brilliant!  We first learned of cevap when we found a marvelous Bosnian restaurant in Houston a few years ago.  It had been featured on the TV Food Network’s show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and the host Guy Fieri was a big fan.

Cevap at Cafe Pita
Beef cevap sandwich on lepinja bread at Cafe Pita; photo from their web site.

The dish that wowed Guy, the Grill-Meister and I was the beef cevap on lepinja bread. The Cafe Pita segment is worth watching. Cafe Pita is worth a visit, too, if you are in Houston.  Yum!

The Grill-Meister was right.  Cevap is the right name for our little turkey pieces, although the traditional minced or ground meats are beef, lamb or pork.  Click here to read about the history of cevap, or cevapi, which has its roots in the Ottoman Empire (1300s) and is considered the national dish of Bosnia.  I like to think that our turkey version honors those roots, with a Glover Gardens twist.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

Cevap

  • 3 lbs ground turkey (relatively lean is best)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, pressed (use more if you are mincing; the garlic is important)
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried chili pepper or cayenne (if you like it spicy like we do; if not use 1 teaspoon the first time you make it, then ratchet it up)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped, about 1/2 cup

Avocado-Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 5 large mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup lowfat plain greek yogurt
  • salt to taste

12 whole wheat or white pita breads

Garnishes: chopped or torn mint, cilantro, sliced fresh jalapeño, red onion, halved grape tomatoes

Cooking Instructions

Turkey Cevap Before Grilling
Shape the cevap into 4-5 inch long fat cigars

Mix together the salt and spices for the cevap in a small bowl, then add to the ground turkey in a large bowl along with the garlic and cilantro, and mix with your hands.  Shape into 12 sausage-shaped patties, about 4-5 inches long.

Refrigerate the sausages for 30 minutes while the grill is heating up.

To make the avocado sauce, blend all ingredients except the salt in a mini-processor or blender briefly, then add salt to taste.  You can also just mash the avocado and combine with the other ingredients in a bowl if you a prefer a sauce that is chunky rather than smooth.

Grill the cevap sausages until they are done, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove and cover with foil.  Briefly grill the pita to warm it, then serve the cevap on the pita with the garnishes and sauce.

 

Turkey Cevap Plated
With its bright and flavorful garnishes of mint, cilantro, jalapeño, onion, tomato and creamy avocado yogurt sauce, the cevap is almost one-dish meal – all four major food groups are represented.

I can’t emphasize enough how quick, easy and absolutely stellar this dish is – absolutely perfect for summer outdoor entertaining when you want to spend more time chatting with your guests than preparing and serving the meal.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Copyright 2016, Glover Gardens Cookbook