Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon

On May 8, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Here is a simple, light spring pasta dish that is a departure from the typical heavy red or cream sauce.

The sauce here is pretty light that is if you consider a half a stick of butter light? It might be better to say it tastes light.  The lemon, sugar snap peas, and leeks do give it a great color everything adheres to the pappardelle noodles nicely. I’m sure you’ll find this a good option among your pasta recipes.

I know we’ll make a few more times throughout the coming summer.

Pappardelle with Leeks, Sugar Snap Peas and Lemon
Serves 4

Coarse salt and ground pepper
½ stick unsalted butter
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts only), cut into thin half-moons and rinsed well
2 lemons
½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
1 pound dried pappardelle noodles
½ cup fresh ricotta cheese
¾ cup Pecorino Romano, grated

Heat a large pot of lightly salted water for the pasta.  While that is getting to a boil, melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and a small amount of salt, cooking the leeks until they soften for about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and finely grate lemon zest into skillet and add ground pepper.

When water is boiling add the snap peas and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from water but do not dispose of water.  Now add your pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions. Usually about 5-7 minutes for Pappardelle noodles.  Transfer noodles to pan, reserving some pasta water for the sauce.  Add sugar snap peas, ricotta and Pecorino cheese.  Add a few splashes of the pasta water to give it more of a sauce and coat the pasta then serve adding some more Pecorino Romano to each dish.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest

On October 16, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

As a kid I would only eat cauliflower if it was drenched in Cheez Whiz. I don’t think I’ve had Cheez Whiz since the 1980s and doubtful I’ll ever have it again. Fortunately, I’ve come to like cauliflower without gobs of processed cheese that’s why it’s great to find a recipe that brings the vegetable to my plate.

This dish is quite simple.  It’s flavor is fairly muted with the few ingredients.  Use some high quality Parmigiano-Reggiano to help boost the flavor or a Romano cheese if you want more flavor without the nuttiness of the Reggiano cheese. Either option works and feel free to add some more olive oil to each dish after serving.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pasta and Lemon Zest
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
¼ cup salt-pack capers, rinsed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb dried orecchiette pasta
½ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)

Preheat oven to 450°. Toss together cauliflower, onion, capers and 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven safe casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes stirring halfway through, until cauliflower is tender and brown.

Meanwhile boil some water for the pasta. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Toss hot pasta with remaining olive oil, the parsley and lemon zest. Add cauliflower mixture and season with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.


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Dadgum Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken

On September 22, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken with Mixed Vegetables

I had the pleasure a couple weeks ago to meet the President/CEO of Masterbuilt, a company that makes fryers, smokers and grills. John McLemore was here in Dallas making a stop on his DADGUM, That’s Good! book tour. I remember seeing the email invitation thinking I’m not sure I even know how to pronounce “dadgum” but what the heck it sound like a good break from family and work for a couple hours. Besides, being able to properly say “dadgum” might come in handy in the south.

John was a great host as we shared some BBQ at Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. We chatted about his family’s business, social media, cooking, and yes even gas station tacos. It was a fun evening and in full disclosure I did get a free copy of the cookbook and dinner.

Nothing brightens up raw chicken like lemons

After a couple busy weeks of work, I finally had some time today to try a recipe. Seeing how I don’t own a smoker – I know I really should. Nor do I own a deep fryer – my wife has killed that idea many a times. I went with the grill recipes and one particularly caught my interest since I had a cut up whole chicken from Windy Meadows Family Farm waiting to be used.

If you don’t know about Windy Meadows Family Farm, you should. It’s a local farm that raises pasture chickens with no antibiotics, hormones, and no chemical dips when processing. They do all of their own processing too and are out of Campbell, Texas just east of Dallas.

The cookbook is easy to follow and every recipe comes with a tip from the author

The recipes in Dadgum, That’s Good! are pretty simple. This one required only a few ingredients and required some time marinating.

Guys will feel comfortable making any of the 125 recipes, just note that the book is divided into styles of cooking so if you don’t have a deep fryer, the recipes there may not be so useful though you could easily adapt and pan fry some of the dishes. Fortunately, I may have found a way to get a fryer into the house. I had no idea but they work for doing what’s called “low country boil” which is basically a form of steaming.

Grilling the Lemon Pepper Chicken

Fortunately, most people have a grill and you can use gas or charcoal.

Lemon Pepper Chicken
Serves 4-6

1 (3 1/2 lb) whole chicken
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 medium lemons cut into wedges
4 tablespoons of melted butter

Using poultry shears, butterfly the chicken, open it flat and place the breast side up in a large baking dish or pan.

Coarsely crush peppercorns, fennel and cinnamon in a blender. Mix with the crushed garlic and rub over the entire chicken, inside and out. Cut the lemons into wedges and squeeze juice over the chicken. Scatter the lemon pieces under and over the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator overnight in a baking dish or resealable plastic bag.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Pour melted butter over chicken. Now place the chicken on the grill. With grill lid closed, grill chicken for 15 minutes, then turn and grill an additional 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove from grill, cover with aluminum foil and let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

The recipe turned out great. It was easy and reminded me again how I should cook more than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The flavor is far greater with bone and skin on, plus I have enough leftovers to do some really amazing chicken salad and maybe enough to also make some chicken soup.

For more recipes and to order John’s book, click here.

This post first appeared on Dallas Food Nerd.

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Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes

On August 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

Finding a new food blog full of amazing vegan (or vegetarian) recipes makes my life planning 3 to 4 vegetarian meals a week a whole lot easier. We are trying to eat half of our dinners without meat so I’ve been spending some time searching for some great recipes. I was happily surprised to find Healthy Blender Recipes.

Healthy Blender Recipes is more than just smoothies and things to do with a VitaMix blender. There are some great vegan recipes to try too which brings me to tonight’s dinner and my first recipe attempt from The Blender Girl’s blog.

I reduced the original recipe by half, since I only bought 3 sweet potatoes at the Coppell Farmer’s Market yesterday. They were beautiful sweet potatoes from a local farm near Dallas. I also had picked up some fresh lettuce at the Farmer’s Market that went well with a simple lemon and oil dressing I’ve been making.


Lemon and Oil Dressing

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

shavings of lemon peel

Squeeze the lemon, I usually just cut a lemon in 1/3 and extract the juice. Shave the lemon with a lemon zester. Add about half of the olive oil and mix the dressing with a fork. Add remaining oil and mix. If you want, add a small dash of salt too.

Makes enough for 2 small side salads.

I reheated some rice and dished out a couple heaping spoonfuls of the vegan sweet potato main dish then added a side of salad.

For the recipe: Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

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Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice

On March 28, 2010, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

This is not a chicken lemon rice soup like one orders at a Middle-Eastern restaurant. There is no cream in this recipe and hence lacks the thick, rich, creaminess of that style of chicken lemon rice soup; although, this version is much lighter and healthier. It has a nice flavor with the bay leaves, allspice and lemon juice. Add this with some sourdough bread and you’ll have an excellent Spring meal.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Rice
Serves 6

1 cup chopped chicken
6 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 bay leaves
4 tsp onion, very finally minced
1 carrot, peeled, halved, and chopped into small pieces
1 stalk celery, halved and chopped into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Couple grinds of crushed pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cooked rice (brown basmati, texamati, etc)
2 tsp olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons

Combine chicken, broth, bay leaves, onion, carrots, celery, allspice, pepper, and salt. Cook 10 minutes at a slow simmer. Add rice and simmer another 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil and lemon juice. Just start with juice from 1 lemon and taste. Add more as desired.

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Falafel with Lemon Tahini Dressing

On March 26, 2010, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus

I’m not much of a fan of Falafel so I wasn’t too excited about making this when my wife Stephanie asked if I could try it. Most Falafel I’ve had is really dry and not very flavorful, even the one’s at good Middle-Eastern restaurants. This recipe did have a different approach since the Falafel is baked, not fried, and I added a bit of curry instead of Tumeric (if you want more authentic substitute the curry I have with 1 tsp of Tumeric.)

To make it more of a meal, we used add some pita bread, humus, and tabbouleh. The flafels will crumble a bit because they are baked and I may have had my mix a bit too wet, so be careful with the water (I reduced it from the recipe I used so the reduction is accounted for in the recipe listed here. Hopefully that helps.) Stuffing the Falafels in the pita with some lemon tahini and tabbouleh really made this meal excellent and one you’ll want to add to your list, especially if you are vegetarian or want to reduce meat intake.

Serves 6

3 Tbsp olive oil for baking
3 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1/4 cup tightly packed parsley
2 15-oz cans chick peas, drained
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry
1/8 tsp cayenne
black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup oat flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread olive oil on it. Mince garlic in food processor. Add onion to food processor. Chop. Add parsley and chop too. Add remaining ingredients except oat flour in processor and combine. Get the batter where it is wet but will hold together. You should be able to form balls. Refrigerate batter for 1 hour to make it easier to roll balls. Recipe makes 16 2-inch falafel balls. Place on oiled, foil cookie sheet and gently press down slightly. Cook for 15 minutes, turn and cook about another 20-25 minutes. Serve with Lemon Tahini dressing.

Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes 1 cup

1 garlic clove
1/2 cup sesame tahini
3 Tbsp lemon juice (1 lemon)
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 cayenne

Puree garlic in food processor. Add lemon juice and tahnini to blend, pour in water a little at a time to get consistency desired. Add salt, cayenne and cumin. Store in refrigerator in airtight container. Will keep for a couple weeks.

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