A couple weekends ago T.W.O. headed to Santa Barbara for our sister-in-laws baby shower. Before the shower we stopped in at the Santa Barbara Public Market to check out the scene and experience it for ourselves. We weren’t disappointed! It’s a great public market with a variety of vendors-meat, cheese, baked goods, health foods, olive oil and wine! It’s reminded us of the Ferry Building in San Francisco-smaller scale version.
Have you ever thought about grilling lettuce? Well you will after reading this recipe. It’s a great way to bring more flavors to your fresh salad without adding the calories or the ingredients. T.W.O. combined the grilled romaine with fresh vegetables and a homemade dressing. Check out the recipe below.
Grilled Mediterranean Salad
– 2 heads organic romaine
– 1 ½ cup fresh tomatoes, diced
– 1 cup hearts of palm, sliced
– 4 persian cucumbers, sliced
– ¼ cup basil olive oil
– 2 Tablespoon fig balsamic
– 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
– ¾ cup lemon juice
– Olive oil (~ 1 teaspoon for drizzling)
- Cut the romaine heads in half, lengthwise. Leave the stem and core intact.
- Drizzle the olive oil and salt and pepper on the halves.
- For the dressing: combine the, basil olive oil, fig balsamic, rice vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
- On a heated barbeque, place the romaine halves on the grill over low-medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side. Make sure to watch the lettuce leaves – you don’t want them to start to burn.
- Remove the lettuce and top with homemade dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers and hearts of palm. Add pepper as needed.
Lamb. It’s so versatile! Lamb chops, leg of lamb, lamb kabobs, ground lamb, and our most recent recipe— Lamb Shanks! It was a perfect Saturday evening to cook this delicious dish. The lamb is braised in a red wine sauce for a few hours and the results are magnificent— tender, flavorful meat, falling off the bone and into your mouth. It is just heaven! The dish went well over creamy polenta. So next time you are thinking lamb, try this recipe out!
-2 Tablespoons olive oil
-4 Lamb Shanks
-1 Sweet Onion, sliced into half crescents
-2 Shallots, chopped
-4 Garlic cloves, chopped
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1 ½ cup Dry red wine
-2/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
-2 cups Beef broth, low sodium
-2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
-Montreal Steak seasoning
Begin by seasoning the lamb shanks with the Montreal Steak seasoning.
In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat. Brown the lamb shanks on both sides until golden brown. Remove the lamb from the pan and keep the remaining “fat” juices.
Reduce the heat to medium and begin sautéing the garlic, onions, and shallots. Add in the sugar. Cook until they are golden brown and caramelized.
Turn up the heat and deglaze the pan with red wine, making sure the mix while cooking. Cook until the red wine has reduced. Next, add in the balsamic vinegar, beef broth and brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and allow the lamb to simmer for about 2.5-3 hours. You will know when the lamb is done when the meat begins to fall off the bone and the sauce has reduced into a thin glaze.
T.W.O. decided to throw in some baby carrots about 10 minutes prior to the lamb shanks being done. The carrots had a great flavor after being cooked in the wine sauce.
-4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
-2/3 cup polenta
-1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
In a sauce pan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce the heat and whisk in the polenta. Mix frequently for about 15-20 minutes until the polenta is soft and thick. At this time add the Pecorino Romano. Mix well.
Plate the lamb shank over polenta, mashed potatoes, or quinoa! Time to eat!
This past Saturday evening, T.W.O. spent their night in with a delicious home cooked meal, the Olympics and POPCORN! Peanut Butter Popcorn to be exact! And we cooked it the old fashion way- the stove! Instead of using olive oil for the bottom of the pan, we used coconut oil- and WOW, was that an excellent choice. The popcorn had a subtle taste of coconut and was complimented by the peanut butter we decided to add in. Sweet and Savory! We are excited to try what other “mix-ins” we can add next time we make the coconut popcorn. Until then- you have to try this recipe out!
-1 to 1 ½ cup Popcorn kernels
-1 Tablespoon coconut oil
-1/3 cup peanut butter
Begin by placing the coconut oil into a medium to high heated sauté pan that has a lid. When the coconut oil is melted, make sure that the entire pan is seasoned with the oil. You don’t want the popcorn to stick or burn. Next, add the kernels to the pan and cover.
The popcorn will begin to pop. Turn off the heat when you start hearing the popcorn to stop popping. We have a rule that if there is more than 5 seconds between the pops, then the popcorn is done- so turn off the heat! Place the popcorn in a large bowl and season with salt.
In a small dish, melt the peanut butter for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. Once melted, pour over the popcorn and mix.
Now it’s time to sit on the couch and watch the Olympics!
It’s Lemon Week!!
This week, T.W.O. will be featuring some recipes and creative ideas that all include lemons! Every year, around this time, the famous family lemon tree is full of fruit! The tree produces so many lemons, so we like to come up with different ways to use them so they don’t go to waste! We look forward to sharing our ideas and hope that the next time you are given lemons, you think of T.W.O.’s lemon ideas!
Decorating with lemons is one of T.W.O.’s favorite things to do with the fruit. Just grab a vase, some fresh picked lemons, and bam- you have yourself a nice table centerpiece!
Another idea is to gift lemons! Add fresh lemons to a gift basket! It adds color and is a great filler between the other items in the basket.
Lemons make life so much brighter!
Polenta is a staple of Northern Italy, but has made its debut in all types of cuisine today. It is most noted for it’s versatility and can be a great addition to your next meal! T.W.O. decided to create an appetizer for their family and let us tell you- it was a hit!!
-Fresh buffalo mozzarella
First, line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 425°F. Next, cut your polenta into thin, circular slices. Place the polenta on a lined cookie sheet and season with garlic powder, ground pepper and a dash of cayenne pepper. Then, slice your tomatoes into thin circles and place on the other cookie sheet. Season the tomatoes with Italian seasoning, pepper and dried basil.
Put the polenta and tomato slices in the oven. T.W.O. would recommend putting the polenta slices on the top rack. After about 8 minutes, flip the polenta slices over. Bake the polenta and tomatoes for another 8 minutes. (You might need to keep the polenta in a little longer depending on your oven.) Make sure that the polenta gets crispy. When the polenta and tomatoes are done, place a tomato on top of the polenta and add a slice of mozzarella. Continue this process for the remaining polenta circles. Next, turn your oven to broil and place the polenta “stacks” into the oven for about 3 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on the stacks so that they do not burn. Once the mozzarella is melted and slightly brown, take them out of the oven. It’s time to serve!!
Labor Day weekend is almost here, so get that BBQ fired up because T.W.O. is ready to grill a Peach Caprese Chicken Salad with you! T.W.O. decided to put a little spin to the traditional caprese salad and add grilled peaches for some sweetness and chicken for extra protein. It is a healthy, refreshing dish that everyone can enjoy!
Grilled Peach Caprese Chicken Salad
– Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– Fresh peaches
– Fresh buffalo mozzarella
– Crimini Mushrooms
– Lettuce of your choice
– Balsamic dressing
First, season your chicken breast with your choice of spices. T.W.O. used Krazy salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Let the chicken season for about 8-10 minutes.
In the meantime, fire up your grill and wash your lettuce, vegetables and peaches. Cut your peaches in half and remove the pit. Next, place your chicken on a clean grill and turn the temperature down to low-medium, depending on how hot your grill gets. While the chicken is grilling, start chopping up your lettuce, cucumbers, and mushrooms. After the chicken has been grilling for about 8 minutes, place your peaches on the grill, cut side down. Keep a close eye on the peaches and chicken because you don’t want them to burn! Assemble your tomato and cheese stacks.
When the chicken and peaches are done, cut the chicken into strips and the peaches into slices. Alternate the chicken and peaches in between the cheese stacks to create your “caprese” salad. Next place the caprese salad on top of the bed of lettuce with cucumber and mushrooms. Finish the dish with a balsamic dressing of your choice. Wah-lah! Now you can enjoy this original, gastronomical dish this holiday weekend with your family and friends.
Wine Pairing: T.W.O. suggests a Rosé
Quinoa. A superfood, high in protein and dietary fiber. By now, everyone has either heard about it, cooked with it, or both! It is a great addition to any breakfast, lunch or dinner! But most of the recipes out there are just so similar- so soft!! So T.W.O. has decided to change up the texture of this superfood and “crunch it up!” Toasted Quinoa! It is a great addition to any dish you would like to add some crunch and protein without the added fat or gluten.
-2 cups of water
-1 cup of Quinoa, rinsed
-Cayenne pepper powder
-1 tablespoon of olive oil
Bring water to a boil in a sauce pan. Once boiling, pour quinoa, crazy salt, garlic powder and cayenne pepper into water. (Please note that seasonings can be added to your liking!) Bring water to a boil once again, then reduce to low-medium temperature and cover pan. Allow quinoa to cook for about 10-12 minutes. When complete, use a fork to “fluff” quinoa and transfer to a cookie sheet to cool down. Once quinoa is cooled, heat up a sauté pan with olive oil. When pan is hot, place quinoa in pan and reduce heat to medium. Make sure to mix the quinoa often so it doesn’t burn. Toast the quinoa for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Wah lah- it’s done! Toasted quinoa can be eaten hot or cold and can be stored in an air-tight container for about 5 days. Just make sure that the quinoa is cool before placing the lid on the container- you don’t want it to get soggy!
T.W.O. decided to add the warm, toasted quinoa to a salad. It added not only crunch, but protein to this gastronomical meal.
T.W.O. has also added the toasted quinoa to Greek yogurt and fruit. It was just like granola, but better! If you are planning on using it with yogurt, T.W.O. would suggest eliminating the seasonings above (salt, garlic and cayenne) and add cinnamon or nutmeg!
Enjoy “crunching” it up!