Simple Home Cooked Meal:
Citrus and Spice Marinated Grilled Lamb Loin Chops and Butter Sauteed Asparagus with Bacon
Sunday dinner and my husband was solely responsible for these perfectly grilled chops, tender and buttery asparagus spears with (literally) bacon confetti… any excuse to incorporate bacon in a dish and we always go for it.
2.5 lbs Lamb loin chops (1 1/2 inch-thick chops)
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 2 oranges
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 Tablespoon (Mexican) Adobo Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
2 teaspoons sea salt (or according to taste and DO NOT USE TABLE SALT)
1 lb Asparagus spears
1 Tablespoon Butter
Crisp bacon bits (3 rashers)
- Put lamb loin chops in a large ziploc bag.
- In a bowl, combine all marinade ingredients and pour into the ziploc bag with the lamb chops. Securely seal bag and massage the marinade into the meat. Let meat marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling (much better to marinate overnight for the marinade to completely sip-through the meat).
- Grill (cook) loin chops according to your preferred doneness. It is very crucial to rest meat (at least 8 minutes) before serving and eating it so that meat evenly cooks and stay tender and moist.
- Put bacon bits in a cold non-stick skillet, fry until fat renders out and bacon bits are crisp. Drain on paper towels. Set aside.
- Saute asparagus spears in butter until tender.
- Assemble everything. Serve. Eat. Belly Happy.
Cook’s note: Juice of citrus fruits like lemon and orange in marinades help to tenderize meat. The acid in citrus breaks down the protein fibers of meat, therefore, making it tender. And these Lamb loin chops were very tender.
Putting oil (fat) like olive oil, garlic oil, etc. in marinades help the meat (specially when it will be grilled) stay moist and succulent as it cooks.
You can also serve these grilled chops with Chimichurri (a herbaceous Argentinean condiment made with chopped fresh parsley, oregano (or fresh cilantro), garlic, white wine vinegar, olive oil and chili) as if you are in a Churrascaria.
My Mint Chimichurri
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
handful of fresh mint, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro/coriander, chopped
5 cloves of garlic (from a large head), minced fine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
red chili flakes (according to taste)
salt (to taste)
- Combine all ingredients together. Serve with grilled lamb chops.
(My recipe / Hub’s cooking and photos)
A couple weeks ago we threw our 2nd annual Grilled Cheese Party. It was so good last year that we just had to do it again! We were celebrating my friend Nicole’s and my birthday. In the house, we had a table made up with all the fixin’s: several different types of breads and cheeses (all labeled with washi tape), plus lots of spreads and toppings. We had garlic aioli, mayo, fig jam, several mustards, caramelized onions, and arugula, to name a few. Each person made up their sandwich then brought it outside to Jonathan, who was manning the grill, with our biggest skillet and a tub of butter. This way, we could all be outside together and no one was stuck in the kitchen! Coming hot off the grill they are absolutely delicious…I think food cooked outside always tastes better :) Plus, when entertaining outdoors in the winter (even in California) it helps to have a hot grill to stand around to keep warm.
For dessert we had a brownie cake and a pear pie, topped with the cutest bees wax birthday candles from Mohawk Valley Trading Company. I also decorated the deck outside with some of their other candles that they gifted me- I just love them. I have been trying to keep things more “all-natural” around the house, so I like that these candles don’t give off any toxic fumes when burned. Plus, they have a lovely subtle scent of honey.
As the sun went down, we put a big screen outside on the deck, bundled up with blankets and watched a movie around the fire pit.
Make a wish!
My most favorite blog to date here on Tumblr. This DIY Grilled Cheese Party is an awesome idea. -j.g
Hub’s sweet doodle while waiting for our barbecue. Then when the barbecue platter arrived, the Brisket instantly disappeared… Ahem!!!
"Mahal Kita" (English: I Love You)
These bears were given to me by the owner of my heart- my wonderful, kindest, most loving bestfriend, other half and mahal ko (English: my love).
"Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding,
mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and
bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for
- Ann Landers
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Mini Chicken Tandoori Skewers with Coconut Rice and Hot Madras Curried Lentils, Corn and Carrots
Making Baking Happy and Sunny
Last Christmas, my husband gave me this kitchenAid Artisan Buttercup Yellow Stand Mixer. I just mentioned I want a kitchenAid mixer in this particular color once last year and then I dropped and forgot about it for sometime and so when I got this from him as a Christmas present, I was over the moon and couldn’t stop goofily grinning, until now seeing this mixer on our kitchen counter everyday makes me happy. My husband by now knows that cooking and baking appliances and gadgets make me super happy, and a super happy home cook makes super tasty meals.
Why I chose a buttercup yellow mixer amongst the more girly color options (watermelon, beautiful cranberry, boysenberry, empire red, gloss cinnamon)? Well, baking for me always puts me in a cheerful mood, makes me calm and even patient (which I lack so much of and will never ever be a strong virtue). Yellow is the color of happiness, I just know I can never be in gloomy mode using this bright yellow mixer to whip up cream, mix cake batter and knead bread dough, and plus this mixer goes so well with our light blue kitchen walls and cabinets… Well, these are the reasons I told my husband for wanting this mixer, I guess I won my case big time in flying colors!
I know that nori from Korea are exactly like these nori chips I have here, fried and salted with a hint of toasted sesame oil and you can always buy nori like this from any Asian food isle in most stores these days. But these nori chips are made from Japanese nori sheets (10”x10” sheets usually for making sushi rolls or cut into smaller sheets for garnishing ramen) which are dry (not fried) and unseasoned.
I do love store-bought Korean nori a lot (because then I wouldn’t have to fry my own), but most of the time the ones I find in stores are either rancid or soft and very greasy, sometimes a tad salty, but these nori chips are crunchy and stands and stacks in bowls beautifully enough to serve at parties. And since I do have Japanese nori sheets in the cupboard and freshly made is always better, I stood in front of the stove with kitchen sheers in my hand and got crafty with the sheets (this kinda sounds foul… but you know what I mean).
What you need:
1 pack (10 pieces, 10”x10”) Japanese nori sheets
1/3 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
table salt for seasoning, better if it is in a salt shaker
(this is the only time I am recommending
the use of this kind of salt because this salt easily sticks on the
hot nori and you need just a small pinch of this stuff to season a batch)
8 inch fry pan/skillet
pair of kitchen tongs
plate lined with paper towels
cookie sheet lined with paper towels
1. Cut nori sheets in 2”x3” inch pieces, or better yet, cut each sheet in half
then cut each half sheet into 1/3’s.
2. Put canola oil in a skillet over medium heat, wait for the oil to get hot
then turn down heat to low, add a teaspoon of sesame oil into the pan.
3. Fry 2-3 pieces of nori at a time, the minute the nori sheets scrunch-up,
2 seconds after they hit the hot oil, immediately turn the sheets over
and fry the other side for 2-3 seconds.
4. Fish-out the nori chips from the oil, and put on a plate lined with paper
towels. Immediately season with salt.
5. Transfer the fried and seasoned nori on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
- Repeat Steps 3-5.
- Pile fried nori in a bowl and serve as is or with Wasabi Mayo dip.
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon wasabi paste
- mix all ingredients until mixture is smooth.
Buttermilk and Honey Biscuits
I have to admit, I am a bit shy about posting the recipe for these sweet biscuits, but because these biscuits came out so darn flaky, tender, buttery and scrumptious… I guess I have to be shameless.
Ingredients: Pre-heat oven at 375’F
4 cups Bisquick mix (yes, the pre-mixed pancake/waffle boxed mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 medium-size whole egg
1 Tablespoon honey
extra Bisquick mix or plain all-purpose flour (for dusting)
2 Tablespoons milk + 1 Tablespoon honey
(mix to brush the top of the biscuits before baking)
- Combine bisquick mix and baking powder in a mixing bowl, add cold cubed butter.
Work the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or
by rubbing your fingers against the flour and butter until mixture
resembles coarse medium crumbs.
- Mix buttermilk, egg and honey and beat with a fork until well combined.
Gradually add the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture in
the center of the mixing bowl, use a fork to gently incorporate the wet
and dry ingredients until mixture gathers into a soft (but not sticky and wet) dough.
If mixture is sticky, add 1-2 Tablespoons more of Bisquick or plain flour… just feel the dough :D
- Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, flatten the dough with the palm
of your hands (do not knead, overworking/kneading the dough will make the biscuits tough)
into a 1-inch disk.
- Using a 2-inch diameter round biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds.
- Place cut dough (2 inches apart) onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
- Combine the milk and honey. Using a pastry brush, paint the biscuit tops with the mixture.
- Bake biscuits for 15-18 minutes, or until tops are light golden brown.
- Serve fresh and hot out of the oven as is or spread with jam,
whipped or clotted cream or a drizzle of honey.
Makes 1 dozen
Fish Diary (and Etcetera)
When I decided that I want to do food photography and start this food blog, my original plan or maybe more my intention was shoot not just plates of food and write recipes but also shoot food in the raw. Raw in the sense that I wanted to shoot in stages, from its beginning, middle and end (or end product), I also wanted to do food (travel and culture) photography like the world-renowned food and food culture, travel photographer and photo journalist Penny De Los Santos (I could only wish).
Unfortunately, to be able to do all those things, one must have all the means, resources, tenacity and frequent flyer miles which I did not have when I started 3 years ago. And so I did the next best thing, I settled for writing my own recipes, cooking my own food, plate and style and photograph my dishes in the comforts of my own home.
I think one of the reasons why I occasionally get bored or suddenly get uninspired to run this blog is that I still have not done, even once, what I really wanted to do here, but this post with a (sort of) beginning, middle and end is a start.
What I wanted to convey in these series of photos is a story of the sea near my home town, of the seaside view, of fishermen, of fishing, of the local fish caught, sold and eaten.
Of all the food stories a food photographer can easily tell through his photos, it is the story of humble local fishes (and seafood) caught by local fishermen in a local fishing village, pure and simple and raw.
I shot this photo of fishermen and the other coastline photos while me and my husband were on a boat (exactly like the fishing boat in this picture) in the middle of the sea exploring the islets sparsely scattered around the main island in Subic, Zambales, Philippines.
I shot the rest of the photographs on separate occasions all throughout the past year. And I took this picture of a fisherman/fish vendor at my town’s public market August of last year for Scrag End Publication. This picture ended up in the front end page of Scrag End Journal Issue #0 (published in Australia, November 2013)
I love this photograph of the fisherman selling his day’s catch. This to me is the epitome of raw and unpretentious representation of where real food comes from. And real food comes from people like this poor fisherman.
Where I was from, we always cook and eat fish in whole, never on a tray from the frozen section of a supermarket. Seafoods never from a bag or a box.
This is my Fish Diary, as raw as I want the world to see.
© Jeannie Gust 2013/2014