Grilled Lime Chicken

By no real design, it seems this is going to be chicken week here.  I’m testing out a new recipe for the Thursday recipe exchange, I also wanted to do a backup bbq chicken in case that one didn’t work out and then this one came along.

Had dinner at LFern’s the other night.  Mr. Fern grilled some amazing lime chicken.  I really thought it was outstanding, but it may have to do with the company and conversation that went along with it. He just emailed the recipe, so I had to try and duplicate. Did my best, a few tweaks to his tweaks of a recipe he googled and came out with a strong, tangy lime flavor. This is why we cook, to add our own flare to things.

Interesting thing about citrus and chicken – it’s best if you marinate for an hour or so, any more and you risk rubbery chicken. The citrus acids break down the proteins in the chicken. I used to use the freeze method (add marinade and meats to a ziplock bag, freeze. Pull out and thaw as needed)  as I do for many marinades, but for lemon, lime or orange chicken, I do it fresh now.

Grilled Lime Chicken

  • 4-6 chicken boneless breasts, pounded
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp crushed garlic

Mix together all ingredients, except chicken, in a plastic bag or a dish deep enough for marinade to cover chicken thoroughly. Add chicken and toss until fully covered. Marinate for at least 1 hour, no more than 2 hours. Remove and dispose of marinade. Grill until internal temp reaches 165 degrees. Best way to do this is to sear each side on high heat, then lower temperature (or move away from direct flame) and let cook additional 15 minutes for pounded breasts. Serve with rice or potatoes and salad.

Here are some additional marinade ideas for quick dinners.

Speaking of Green Foods…

So the other day, the question was, what foods can you absolutely not stand?  After I stated my long list, I remembered that Kirk Spencer had regaled me with (and of course I shared with you) his recipes for Nasty Bits, all those animal parts you’d never think of eating.  I reminded him of all of this and of course he had to come up with something equally nasty….and green, so  I thought today would be the perfect day to share it:

Kirk Spencer’s Nasty Bit’s: Pig Snouts

Now one of the interesting things about this dish is that it is a great psychological warfare against certain types of boys. You know, the “I wanna gross you out” kids. You’ve got a pig’s nose cooking in a greenish liquid.

AT THE SAME TIME, it is an outstanding split pea soup. And in fact at its heart it’s pretty close to being the easiest split pea soup you can make.

You need a pig snout, a pound of split peas, and water. You can, if you wish, add the various things you think you need for split pea soup: leeks, onions, carrots, garlic, etc. But those are optionals for your flavoring bonus.

Split the pig snout lengthwise and put it in the soup pot. Add the split peas. Add enough water to cover by about an inch, and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat till it only simmers, and let it cook till the peas are “gone” and you’ve got a thick green soup. You need to stir it regularly to prevent burning and mix things a bit, but it’ll take an hour to an hour and a half to this point.

Now it’s time to do more with the pig snout.   KEEP READING….

Full disclosure…it’s not just the pig snouts that gross me out…it’s the split peas, too.

Ming Tsai’s Tropical Glazed Baby Back Ribs

It is rare that I actually drool when Ming Tsai is making something on his show. Don’t get me wrong, I drool plenty looking at him, and his food is good and I’ve tried many of his recipes, but this time, wow. I came in about 5 minutes into the show and saw these ribs and thought they looked amazing. So we take a moment out of our holiday recipes to present Ming Tsai’s Tropical Glazed Black Vinegar Baby Back Ribs. Yum. There is video at the link.

Tropical Glazed-Black Vinegar Pork Spare Ribs

  • 1 large slab baby back ribs (10-12 pounds or more), cut to fit the largest metal baking pan that can fit your oven
  • 3/4 -1 cup Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar with pinch of five-spice
  • 2 cups Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa (recipe below)
  • 1 pound new red potatoes, scrubbed, boiled and halved
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


The day before, in a large, deep, metal baking pan, rub the ribs with salt and pepper and let cure overnight. The next day, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 cup Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa in blender and blend until smooth. Rub off any excess salt and pepper on ribs, wash and dry pan and place ribs back in pan. Add the vinegar so that a 1/4-inch layer is on the bottom. Cover tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check ribs at 1 hour, and continue cooking until all the vinegar is evaporated. You can now either transfer ribs to a grill and slather with 3/4 cup blended Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa or keep in the pan and slather with blended Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa and change oven to broil to color well. Meanwhile, make German potato salad: when potatoes are still hot, toss with bacon, olive oil, vinegar and parsley. Check for flavor and season if necessary. To serve, spoon potato salad onto platter, top with sliced ribs and reserved Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa.

Ginger-Kiwi-Jicama Salsa

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 4 kiwis, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 cups 1/4-inch dice jicama
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch dice red onion
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, minced with seeds
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 1 shot agave tequila
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sugar to taste


In a large bowl, gently mix all the ingredients. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and sugar to taste. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour before using or preferably covered overnight in the fridge.

Can’t wait to try these.  I think the Kiwi-Jicama salsa sounds interesting.  Not something I would normally think of.  There are a lot more recipes at the link and most of his cooking is simple, quick and often one pan. So check it out.

Max’s Bacon-Sweet Potato Frittata by Joshua De Mers

Why he begs, 3

Max is rewarded. Click photo for full story.

Just before I left for LA, friend of blog sent me a recipe to go along with our favorite Balloon-Juice Doberman, Max.  I ran out of time to get the recipe up, so it was delayed until now.  From Joshua De Mers:

Inspired by one of Balloon Juice’s most beloved mascots, MAX!!!

Sometimes things just work together better than you could even plan! I know pretty much all these flavors get along, so the end result comes out delicious and really not too expensive!

Max’s Bacon-Sweet Potato Frittata

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6-8 crimini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • salt & pepper (this is season as you go)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oz white cheddar cheese (whatever sharpness you prefer)
  • 2 oz gruyere cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 10 eggs

Parmesan cheese (use the stuff from the can)

Set oven to broil. Slice bacon into pieces, then cook in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Remove from pan. You can either clean out the skillet or start over in a large non-stick skillet that can go under the broiler. Turn down heat to medium. Slice sweet potato into fourths, then into thin wedges. Melt butter in large skillet, add sweet potato, season with salt and pepper, and cook 3-5 minutes. Add in onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms, give a good stir, season some more, and cook another 5-7 minutes. Add in tomato, seeds and all, then garlic. Cook until almost all the moisture is gone and you start to see starchy streaks of orange in the skillet. At that point, turn the heat down to low. Crack and scramble the eggs, cut the cheese into small pieces (you can grate it as well but small bits give you little pleasant cheese pockets!) and stir into the eggs. Also stir in the cooked bacon and the parsley. Cook in pan over low heat until you see egg starting to set, then pull back so custard can hit heat and set as well. Also pull back just enough so eggs form a layer on bottom of pan. When eggs have almost but not quite totally set, dust entire top with the Parmesan cheese. Set pan under broiler and let cook 5-7 minutes or until top is golden brown and eggs are puffy and pulled away from sides. Slide frittata onto cutting board and cut into wedges. Served topped with sour cream or mascarpone cheese.

Joshua De Mers

Thanks Joshua, sounds yummy, love the sweet potato twist.  Joshua always includes a quote with his emails.  I particularly liked this one:

May I become at all times, both now and forever,

A protector for those without protection

A guide for those who have lost their way

A ship for those with oceans to cross

A bridge for those with rivers to cross

A sanctuary for those in danger

A lamp for those without light

A place of refuge for those without shelter

And a servant to all in need.

-Tenzin Gyasto,

Men Who Cook: Joshua De Mers

I love opening up my email and finding that someone has sent me a recipe to post (that’s a hint, people) and it’s doubly nice when it’s one of my Men Who Cook.  From friend of blog, Joshua:

I got a good one! And I kept notes!

Yet Another Tuna Casserole

My opinion of comfort foods is you can never have too many variations of them. They make up childhood memories, start and keep traditions, and warm the soul like nothing else. Virtually every mother in the 60’s had a version of tuna casserole, usually from the back of a soup can. If you’re an ingredient control freak (like me!) you always appreciate making something familiar in a wholesome way. Every ingredient is readily available at any supermarket!

  • 1 pound pasta (any curvy shape like rotini or corkscrews will work, but even basic elbows is good too)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 8-10 button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (sometimes sold as Italian cream cheese)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz frozen green beans or peas (whichever you have on hand)
  • 2 6 oz cans or one 12 oz can tuna (any kind)
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers or 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • olive oil (to drizzle)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta cooks, mince shallots, cut mushrooms in half, then slice thinly. Saute in butter over medium heat with a pinch of salt and a small dose of pepper. When mushrooms start to release liquid, add in white wine. Cook until wine is almost but not quite gone. Add in flour and mix until paste coats bottom of the pan, about two minutes. Add milk and whisk vigorously. When sauce starts to thicken, mix in cheeses, vegetables, and drained tuna. Check sauce for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as necessary. By this point pasta should be done. Drain pasta and add to medium casserole dish. Pour sauce over noodles and mix thoroughly. Crush crackers in hands (you don’t want them too fine) and cover top of casserole. Drizzle olive oil over topping in thin stream until it coats most of top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Only other thing you need is a glass of milk!!

Joshua De Mers

Looks great Joshua!  Thank you.  Look forward to more (hint, hint).  – TaMara


Kirk Spencer’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

A busy day for me, but I thought I’d take a moment and post a recipe from Kirk.  He says this is a family favorite, so I thought we needed share his post.  Because, really, how can you go wrong with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies?  From Kirk:

The original recipe was one of the peanut butter cookie recipes I’ve got laying around. It made peanut butter cookies that were, well, okay. The peanut butter taste was a bit on the subtle side. I had a bag of chocolate chips around, and one day tossed them in the next batch just as a boost. That made a huge difference. The mild PB works great at making the chocolate chips stand out. They’re pretty close to being our favorite cookie.

No pictures. Make a batch and take your own instead. Trust me, you’ll prefer the result.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cream together:

  • 1 cup butter or (good) margarine
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

Beat lightly and add to creamed mixture:

  • 2 eggs

Sift together

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

For the complete recipe, click here:  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Men Who Cook…for me.

While I was away I was lucky enough to have someone cook for me.  My friend Paula is married to a wonderful guy named Butch, and he is a really good cook.  It is always fun visiting because we like to talk recipes and see what’s cooking, and he usually rolls out some family favorites for dinner.  And after dinner we usually get in a couple rounds of Scattergories with the kids.  Just a great way to end the day.

Butch has contributed recipes here before and I wanted to include the dinner he made on Monday, because it was really terrific.  And as he said in the email he just sent me, really easy, too.

Butch’s Meatloaf and Roasted Potatoes:

Hearty Meatloaf

  • 1.5 lb of 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 cup of oatmeal, ground fine
  • 1 envelope onion dip mix
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp ah-so sauce
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste

Mix it well and bake in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for 55-60 mins.

Roasted Potatoes

  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4-6 pieces
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder

Toss all ingredients together well, spread in a single layer in a 9 x 12 baking glass baking dish until crispy (about 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees)

Kicked Up Scalloped Potatoes

So far the weather has taken my request seriously and been very sunny and tolerable since I’ve been in the Boston area.  No wet, gloomy New England weather for this girl.  Had enough of that when I lived out here.  Get to drive down toward the Cape to family today, so grateful for the sun and clear roads.

Last night dinner was a cooperative effort.  My friend Butch took on the main course:  breaded pork chops smothered in mushrooms and caramelized onions.  He used crushed french fried onions which I thought was inspired, to bread them.

 I decided what we needed to go with that were some scalloped potatoes.  So I set about finding a recipe and then kicking it up a bit, because, well let’s face it the original was pretty boring.  Here’s what I came up with:

Scalloped Potatoes

  • 3 lbs of russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp crushed roasted garlic
  • 1/2 cup caramelized onions
  • 8 oz of shredded sharp cheddar

4 qt baking dish, well buttered & saucepan & baking sheet

Simmer milk and butter in the saucepan.  Add potatoes, salt, pepper and garlic.  Cover and let simmer on med-low until potatoes are barely fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Using a ladle, ladle 1/3 of the potato mixture into the baking dish, then layer 1/3 of the onions and 1/3 of the cheese, continue to layer, finishing with cheese and onions on the top.  Bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until top is browned and bubbly. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.