Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top 7 Most Viewed, Liked and Shared Recipes of 2013 at The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon

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I thought it would be fun to share The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon's "Top 7 Most Viewed, Liked and Shared Recipes of 2013". Why seven? Simple it's my favorite number  so why not. I'm still surprised at what made the top 7, especially number three "Baking Soda  as a Tenderizer".  It's funny how some of the recipes I think will gander lots of views, likes and shares, don't and those that I think won't, do.  You just never know. It's been a heck of ride creating this blog, some days it was such a drag, other days so frustrating but most days it's been fun, exciting and yes even thrilling. I learn something new everyday and I still get over-joyed when I see a "like", a "Plus", a comment and especially a "share". That never grows old. I've made a lot great friends along the way too, many other food bloggers who have supported and helped me along the way. That is priceless.

 And without further ado (drum roll please)... let's get started!




Number 1 Most Viewed Recipe:
5,326 Pageviews

Stuffed French Bread with Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

My Stuffed French Bread hits the flavor jackpot. The caramelized onions added the sweetness, the bacon the smokiness, the creamy ranch chicken was just that ... creamy and the cheese? Well it's cheese, does it really need any explanation or justification? I didn't think so!



Number 2 Most Viewed Recipe:
 3,035 Pageviews

Garlicky Tequila-Lime Grilled Shrimp-Kebabs with Cilantro-Garlic Aioli Sauce
My Garlicky Tequila-Lime Grilled Shrimp-Kebabs with Cilantro-Garlic Aioli Sauce is great for when you want to serve up something a little more special than just burger at your next BBQ. The shrimp in this recipe is marinaded in tequila, lots of garlic, cumin and of course lime. Kick up the spice level and add a one or more minced Thai chilies to set the stage for one sizzling hot shrimp! Served alongside my cilantro-garlic aioli sauce, it's a home run.




Number 3 Most Viewed Recipe:
2,836 Pageviews

Baking Soda  as a Tenderizer
Ever notice how Chinese restaurants get even the toughest cuts of meat to a level of tenderness no amount of mallet pounding could ever achieve at home? Or how the shrimp has an almost "velvety" texture to it? You can get the same results at home using their secret ... baking soda.




Monday, December 30, 2013

Creamy Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Crepes

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The first time I made crepe was in November of  1987.  I can remember the date because I made 200 hundred chicken crepes for my own baby shower. Why did I decided to make my own food? Simple, I didn't really care for the alternative ... a catering company, of which there weren't that many decent affordable ones at the time.  I had an assembly line at my mom's house the night before the shower.  In attendance were my mom, my sister-in-law Sandra, my niece Aylin and of course ... me. We worked for several hours, talking, laughing, talking some more about ... what else, the baby.
It's an evening I will never forget and from then on crepes became a frequent meal at my home. That's how good those very first crepes were. Several years later, as the baby grew into a little girl, I use to make orange crepes for breakfast. To this day my daughter, Eryka, still remembers those breakfasts.
I use a basic crepe recipe for the crepe, which you can find at the end of the recipe.  The ingredients for the stuffing are fairly straightforward but when put together they create a creamy, luscious meal that your family will want often. The use of ground turkey really lightens up the crepes and keeps the meal feeling light. Pair it with a light salad, a glass of white wine and you have a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Serves 4

1 lb ground turkey
2 tablespoons of butter
1 large frond of fresh dill,
2 large handfuls of spinach, kale, or whatever greens you have on hand.
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of room temperature cream cheese
1/4 of half & half
2-4 grates of fresh nutmeg
8 crepes (basic recipe below)

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wine-Braised Beef Shanks in Garlic-Tomato Broth

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I've gotten into buying beef shanks, probably not the most popular cut of meat but I can tell you it's amazingly rich in flavor. It's a cut of meat that lends itself to being braised and slow cooked. It's intensely beefy in flavor and oh so tender when cooked right. This recipe couldn't be easier. You marinate everything in a zip bag overnight and by everything I mean Burgundy wine, thyme, a whole head of garlic, shallots, and tomatoes. The next morning chuck the contents of the bag into your slow cooker and let it braise slowly all day. What you get is the most mouth-watering, tender and juicy beef, that's perfect over mashed potatoes,  rice or even ladled over large pieces of toasted, crusty, french bread. Next time you are at the market and see these under-appreciated and often overlooked beefy cuts, pick up a couple of packs, I promise you won't be disappointed and they are budget friendly too!

Serves 2-4

2-3 lbs beef shanks
1 1/2 cups Burgundy wine (or any red wine you have at home)
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 head of garlic, unpeeled, sliced in half
5-6 shallots, unpeeled, opposite end of the root cut off
1 28 oz whole tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a zip bag and allow to marinate, in the fridge, overnight or 24 hours if time permits. If marinating for 24 hours, turn bag often to distribute marinde, if overnight turn bag once.

Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or on hi for 4-5 hours. Remove remove beef shanks set-aside. Remove shallots and garlic, allow to cool enough to handle. Remove peel from shallots, and squeeze garlic to expel the soft garlic paste. Strain liquid, reserve tomatoes and run liquid through a fat separator*. Return liquid, tomatoes, garlic paste to slow cooker and blend through using an immersion blender (or a regular blender if you don't have one).
Add shanks and peeled shallots back into the blended liquid. Beef will be tender and will probably have already fallen off the shank bones, you can discard bones or save them for your pooch or a beef stock.

Serve with mashed potatoes, egg noodles or rice. Or do what I do and toast up some crusty French bread, tear it off into big pieces and then ladle the meat, shallots and garlicky-tomato broth over the bread.  Yes, that is decadently delicious! Enjoy!

*Recipe note:  Personally, I think this meal tastes even better the next day, so I skip the fat separator part place everything in a large glass bowl in the fridge overnight. The next evening I just remove all the fat which will have solidified. Easier, less mess to clean up and I think much more effective way to remove the fat.  I then follow the rest of the steps in the recipe.



Monday, December 23, 2013

My Parent's Authentic Cuban Roast Pork

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When I was a child, then a teenager and into my late 20's, I would watch my parents prepare Cuban Roast Pork for our Christmas eve dinner celebration. It led, on many occasions, to little friendly battles between my parents (Aida & Eloy) about how much of any one ingredient to add to the Mojo Sauce (pronounced "moe-ho"). When one parent would leave the kitchen, the other parent would sneak in more of the ingredient he or she thought the sauce needed more of. Believe me, this was funny and pretty darn entertaining to watch. In the end though they managed to pull off the most crazy good and delicious Cuban Roast Pork ever. It was so good that their friends would actually call them to make it for parties that they were hosting or going to. It took me many years to figure out the right ratio of garlic, spices and seasonings, because of course nothing was ever written down or measured. It was always a bit of this, a bunch of that, a palm full of this and that. I do have a few of my own tweaks that I think elevate the flavor, like the brine process, but the flavor is the beyond delicious, and the memories those flavor and smells evoke are always welcome and priceless. My brother and I carry on their tradition of celebrating on Christmas eve with roast pork, Cuban black beans, and yucca drenched in garlic-mojo sauce, it's how we pay respect and honor our cultural traditions.  So ... Feliz Navidad to all our readers and followers!

A few recipe notes: Prep time is at least 72 hours before the actual cooking time, so be sure to plan ahead.  This is one recipe where the brine and the  marinade (the Mojo sauce), need  time to do their thing, which is what makes the pork juicy, tender and divinely flavorful. Don't skip or rush any part of this recipe. The time investment is well worth it.

1 - 10 pound pork shoulder

For the Brine:
6 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 head of garlic smashed up (no need to remove peel)
Water

In a microwave safe bowl, add four cups of water, heat until the water boils (about 3-4 minutes). Add salt and sugar, stir until dissolved, then add garlic. Allow to come to room temperature. Place your pork shoulder in a small Styrofoam cooler, add ice, the cooled brine solution and enough water to cover the pork shoulder. Brine for 12 - 24 hours, adding ice, if needed. Once the brine time is up, discard solution and go to the next step.

Tip: I have found that plain old Styrofoam coolers stay colder and the ice lasts way longer then insulated plastic coolers. If you don't have or want to buy a Styrofoam cooler and you have the space in your fridge then by all means use your fridge.  Space is a premium in my fridge so it's hard to have a large piece of pork, in a brine solution, in the fridge.


For Mojo (pronounced "moe-ho") Sauce 
30 cloves of garlic
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
3 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 onion chopped, finely
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
2 cups of sour orange juice
3 limes juiced
2 1/2 cups olive oil

Using a mortar and pestle, crush and mash up the garlic, salt and peppercorns.
Add the next 5 ingredients to a blender or food processor and the garlic mash from the pestle. Blend or pulse until smooth and all ingredients have been liquefied. Heat the olive oil until it reaches a temperature of about 220-225 degrees. We aren't frying here, we are infusing the flavors into the olive oil. Add in the liquefied ingredients, stir and gently heat through for 1 minute, then take it off the heat and let it cool completely.

Tip: Make the Mojo sauce the same day you begin the brine process, because the longer it sits, the more the spices, herbs and seasoning will meld!  Be sure to store it in the fridge. Take out a few hours before using so that it comes to room temperature.

To Prepare the Pork:
1-2 heads of garlic, cloves separated and skins removed.
Mojo Sauce
1 Large heavy duty turkey injector

Begin by straining the Mojo sauce to remove any bits that may clog your injector.  Do NOT throw out the bits captured by the strainer. Set aside.
Score the skin in 2 to 3 places. Do not remove the skin. The scoring will allow the fat underneath the skin to baste the pork as it cook and it makes for the most heavenly crackling you will ever taste. (Fights have broken out over the crispy crackling at my home!) With a very sharp pairing knife, deeply puncture the pork meat in several places and insert a garlic clove or two as you go. Once you have used up the garlic cloves move on to the flavor injector. Think of the surface of your pork as a grid and starting on the skin side begin injecting the Mojo into the pork. Turn it over and continue injecting until you have used up all the sauce. Remember this captured bits? Rub them all over the skin side.
Place the pork in a large container, skin side up and allow to sit in the fridge, covered, from 12-24 hours. The longer it sits, the better the flavor.

To Cook:
Remove from fridge at least 2 hours before cooking so that it comes to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Remove pork from container, reserving the Mojo sauce that will have oozed out during the marinating process. Pat pork dry, and season generously with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Place pork skin side up on a roasting rack inside a roasting pan. Place in oven and cook at high temperature for 30 minutes, then lower temperature to 325 degrees for 3 - 4 hours or until internal temperature reads 170 degrees. Use the reserved Mojo sauce to baste the pork as it cooks. Be sure to boil the Mojo sauce for a few minutes, so as not to contaminate the pork with raw pork juices, as you baste.
Once cooked, take out of the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Break apart the crispy crackling and set aside and then begin to break up
the pork meat into long thick shreds or chunks. Now, it's time to party!

Serve with Aida's Cuban Black Beans, white rice, yucca* and fried sweet plantains*, Cuban (preferably) bread, and your favorite beer and wine and of course ... Cuban Flan* (*Recipes coming within the next week). ENJOY!




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Eryka's One-Pot Chili & Rice

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On the rare occasion that it is "cold" in Miami we all take advantage and wear boots, scarves, gloves, hats you name it. I also take advantage of the weather in a culinary sense and take the opportunity to make a meal that is usually extra yummy when it's cold outside. One of my favorite things to make when it's cold is chili. My mom made chili every year around this time, when the weather gods allowed it to get chilly (no pun intended!). So I grew up on it; I was always excited to have it. I would add a lot of cheese or sour cream or both. It would always warm me up because us Floridians think 60 degrees is freezing! Miami hasn't been too cold, unfortunately, but a few days ago and even today it was and I decided to make chili but with a slight twist. This one-pot meal is yet again excellent for weeknight meals. It is hearty with the energy packed carbs from the rice, the protein from the beef and beans and fiber from the veggies. The spices, cumin, chili, garlic warm it up nicely, providing just a little bit of heat. It was a hit at home. A dollop of good ol' sour cream takes it to the new level of super creamy flavor. I personally didn't add any cheese to this recipe, but of course you can if you choose to; you can also add as many veggies or  change up the protein as you'd to as well. Enjoy!

Recipe:
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/4 cup rice
1-14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1-14 1/2 ounce can black beans, drained
salt and pepper

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet until starting to brown. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook together for about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minutes, stirring. Stir in the rice, diced tomatoes, cocoa powder, stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in the beans and continue to cook for an extra 10 minutes or until rice is done. Serve with sour cream. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cuban Bistec en Cazuela (Braised Steak in a Pot)

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A Wednesdays with Eryka Recipe

Cuban Bistec en Cazuela is basically a braised steak in a pot. As most of you know Cuban food is one of my favorite foods of all time. It is food I could eat everyday and be content. Most, if not all Cuban food, is peasant food, which makes for very simple and cheap ingredients. My grandmother used to make this dish, however, I don't remember it much anymore, so this recipe is for her. As you may remember from a previous post, I now live in her house and any time I cook up a traditional Cuban meal I think of her because I want to make her proud. The steaks used in this recipe are very thin thus they cook up rather quickly. Make sure you are watching them, counting the minutes per side because an extra minute or 30 seconds can make a difference! That being said this recipe is another great weeknight meal due to how quickly it cooks. The sauce produced from the steak and the marinade is amazing when served over rice. I think you will fully enjoy this meal!

Recipe:
1 1/2 top round steaks, in 4 long thin strips or 8 smaller thin pieces
1 onion, sliced in rings
1 green pepper, sliced length wise
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup sour orange juice
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock

1. Combine the steak, onion, pepper, garlic, sour orange, wine, adobo salt and pepper in a dish or zip bag to marinate for at least 1 hour or more. Take out about an hour before planning to cook to let the meat come to room temperature.

2. In in large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the oil and brown the steaks. Brown the steaks in batches. When finished browning all the steaks place all the steak pieces back into the pan.

3. Add to the pan the marinade, juices and vegetables. Cook together for about 3 minutes then add the tomato paste. Stir until paste has dissolve into the vegetables. Cook everything together until the liquid from the marinate starts to evaporate then add the chicken broth. Simmer for 3 minutes. Serve over white rice with sweet fried plantains. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes:
Can't find sour oranges or juice in your local market? Make your own by following our simple recipe for home-made sour orange juice.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekly Recipe Round-Up Week of December 2 - 7

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Another week closer to the holidays! Is it me or is December just flying by at break neck speed?  I've done absolutely no shopping and I am not quite sure how I am going to get it done. The next few weeks are just packed with things to do, and places to go!  This week we had some really great recipes starting with a yummy soup, to a delicious dessert and ending with a fabulous bacon-wrapped roasted and stuffed Pork Tenderloin.

This week's Recipe of the Week was featured on Wednesdays with Eryka,
Individual Apple Pie Stuffed Pastry Shells .  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.

Featured on Monday:



Perfect for the cooling temperatures we are all experiencing no. Great Northern White Beans! I am completely enamored of these dusty white little gems.  When cooked they are soft and creamy, and have a rich buttery flavor. The addition of the Spanish chorizo adds an extra depth of flavor.







Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:


These are the perfect individual serving sized dessert. Sweet and savory apples with warm cinnamon and sweet brown sugar melt together and offer up the perfect little dessert. Great for the holidays.








Featured on Friday: 



In my Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Onion and Apricot the stuffing consists of apricots soaked in orange liqueur, caramelized onion that are cooked down in brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and orange liqueur and juice. Drooling yet? Then the pork tenderloin is wrapped in bacon and roasted off to tender perfection. I am pretty sure you are drooling now!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Onion and Apricot

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I hadn't made pork tenderloin in a long time and this past weekend I decided it was time to bring it out and prepare one of my own favorite stuffed pork tenderloin recipes. Yes, stuffed and you all know how much I like stuffed foods. Tenderloin can be pretty dry because of it's leanness but if you follow my steps, you will have the most juiciest and flavorful pork tenderloin ever. The stuffing consists of apricots soaked in orange liqueur, caramelized onion that are cooked down in brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and orange juice and liqueur. Drooling yet? Then the pork tenderloin is wrapped in bacon and roasted off to tender perfection. I am pretty sure you are drooling now! This recipe surpassed the Hubs flavor barometer with  very speedy requests for seconds. The best part is because I made two tenderloins at once, I had a meal for later in the week that because of the brine process allowed me to heat up it up without lost of moisture. This meal was superb!


2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each), brined (*See recipe note)
1/2  - 3/4 cups orange liqueur
1 cup dried apricots*
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions. thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 large oranges, zest grated and juiced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
24 slices of center cut or turkey bacon
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoon, fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons of very cold butter, cut into small cubes*


Heat the orange liqueur and add in cup of dried apricots, taking care that they are
all covered. Set aside to soak while the onions cook.
Heat a large deep 12" oven-safe skillet (preferably stainless steel) over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the onions. Cook for 10-15 minutes or till tender and golden. Add the sugar, vinegar and orange juice and cook covered, over low heat for 20 minutes. Take apricots out of the liqueur and chop, add, along with liqueur, to the onions during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Remove lid and continue to cook until all liquid is evaporated. Remove from pan and allow to cool.

Mix 1 tablespoon olive oil, cloves, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Butterfly the tenderloins.  Here is a great "how to" video that takes you step-by-step  through the process . Once butterflied, place the pork between two pieces of plastic and using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound gently until roughly 3/8 of an inch thick. Rub both sides of the tenderloins with the olive oil mixture.

On the work surface overlap 12 slices of bacon, lengthwise, per tenderloin. Lay  tenderloin over bacon and spread half the apricot-onion mixture over each  tenderloin. Roll pork and bacon at the same time and then tie with kitchen twine (see video link shared above).

Heat over to 425 degrees F.

In the oven safe skillet used to cook onion, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and brown all sides of each tenderloin. Place in preheated oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (about 20 minutes +/-). remove from pan and tent with foil.
To the pan add the broth, wine and rosemary and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one piece at a time. Allow one piece to melt before adding the next one. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Remove strings from pork and slice about 3/4 to 1 inch thick, drizzle slices with sauce.

Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and garlic-butter sauteed green beans. ENJOY!

*Recipe Notes:
I highly recommend that you brine your pork tenderloin.  It will keep it moist and flavorful during the cooking process.  See my post "To Brine or Not to Brine?  That Shouldn't Even Be a Question " on how to brine.
For the liqueur soaked apricots, if time permits, soak for a few hours prior, it really kicks up the flavor.
Place the cubed butter in the freezer to guarantee it is extra cold.
If you don't polish off the two tenderloins and have a whole one left over, carefully wrap in foil and store in fridge. On the day you want to eat, take it out of the fridge at least 1 hour before eating. Heat in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven, tightly wrapped in it's foil for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Individual Apple Pie Stuffed Pastry Shells

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This week is another tasty, sweet recipe. For Thanksgiving, I made the traditional Pumpkin Pie since it is in fact traditional and my boyfriend loves it; however, I wanted to try something new as well. Another American classic is Apple Pie. I did not, however, want to go through the hassle of making the whole pie, so I sat and thought about how I personally like bite sized desserts or individual servings. I came up with using puff pastry shells instead of the pie itself. The apple pie filling would be the same recipe just in small, individual shells! The shells are topped with a glaze that add the right amount of sweetness because I consider apple pie more of a savory than complete sweet pie. You can serve this warm, which of course would be best, but it will taste just as good at room temperature. You can use real apples, but again I chose to save time and bought the canned, peeled, ready to use apples. Some skipped steps just make life in the kitchen that much easier, especially during the holidays where there are a whirlwind of things going on. I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and find it on your holiday table this year!

Recipe:
1 box puff pastry shells (6 count), thawed
1 3/4 cups peeled, chopped apples (or canned)
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter



1. Prepare the puff pastry shells as indicated on package. 

2. Cook the apples and water in a small sauce pan on high heat until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

4. In a small bowl, combine flour and sugar. Stir into apple mixture. Bring to boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the butter.

5. After the puff pastries have cooled to touch, fill the shells with the cooked apple filling. Serve warm as is or at room temperature. The glaze is optional; recipe as follows.

Glaze Recipe:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 vanilla extract

1. Combine all three ingredients in a small bowl and stir until combined.

2. Take a spoon a drizzle over the pastries. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Banana and Nutella Pastry Bundles

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Growing up I did not enjoy sweets. I only liked Hershey's chocolate bars that my grandmother would buy boxes of at Costco to give me as treats. To this day it is my favorite candy bar. My mom used to having a cake business so I used to sit and watch her create beautiful masterpieces, plus I got to eat frosting. I was about 4 or 5 years old at the time but at that age I knew I wanted to bake cakes/sweets just like my mom. As I got older and was slowly allowed to take the reigns in the kitchen, I not only started making dinner but dessert as well. It was a beautiful, funny irony: I loved to bake sweets but did not like sweets myself...until recently. I don't know what has happened to me, maybe my brain turned on a sweets switch that has been off for 25 years, but I now like a whole lot more sweets. My favorites being donuts, cookies and flaky pastries. This recipe combines two things I enjoy: nutella and a flaky pastry. You could attempt to make your own puff pastry but I have heard horror stories behind the making of this delicious delight; either way even chefs use pre-made puff pastries! The egg brushed on the pastry is what makes it golden, extra crispy which is the lotto for my taste buds. It also seals everything together, however, do not be alarmed or surprised if yummy gooey-ness does leak out of the pastry. The beauty of this recipe is that it does not have to be perfect. You can enclose the banana nutella ingredients in the puff pastry as you choose because the more rustic it looks the better. Have fun with the shapes you can form; I personally made little purses. Enjoy!

Recipe:
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 banana, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces, 9 pieces total
9 teaspoons of Nutella
1 egg, beaten

Weekly Recipe Round-Up November 25th - 29th

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I don't know about you but this week has just flown by for me.  And I was really not quite ready for Thanksgiving, I didn't even get the disposable bakeware that I usually use to take the side dishes to my brother's, (fondly named Mr. Ed) house. Thanksgiving is always at Mr. Ed's house and Christmas Eve dinner is always at my house.  It's what we have been doing since the passing of our parents. This holiday always reminds me of my father in particular, he loved having the family all around the dinner table, everyone talking over each other, the noise level getting almost unbearable (it's a Cuban family after all). It made him very happy, and I miss seeing him, his face glowing with happiness, because his family was there with him, and that meant everything to him.
I do hope you have fond memories as I do and that you had a beautiful Thanksgiving!

This week's Recipe of the Week was featured on Wednesdays with Eryka,
Banana Nutella Pastry Bundles.  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.




Featured on Monday:

Easy Yummy Roasted Carrots

Ridiculously easy to make and delightfully delicious is what describes my Easy, Yummy Roasted Carrots! Uses 5 everyday pantry staples, easy on the budget and about 2 minutes in prep time. Nothing could be easier! Great Thanksgiving side dish too!







Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:


Take a sheet of puff pastry, bananas and nutella and you have perfect little bundles of deliciousness Don't be surprised at how quickly these Banana Nutella Pastry Bundles disappear!










Featured on Friday: 


Truffle-Garlic Roasted Asparagus is a nice bistro style treat to serve alongside your favor chicken or fish dish or in a salad. Infused with garlic, truffles and truffle oil that compliment the flavor of the delicate asparagus.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekly Recipe Round-Up November 18th-23rd

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In less than a week most of us will be sitting down to a great Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, and this year I am really behind on everything. I have a lot of catching up to do this coming week, just not sure how I am going to get it all done, but I will.
This week's Recipe of the Week was Slow Cooker Mustard & Beer-Braised Turkey Thighs, and it was our Friday featured recipe.  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.



Featured on Monday:


Since we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post my brine chart and my Turkey Brine Solution with a Hispanic Twist so you can start planning ahead, and brine, brine, brine that turkey!



Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:


Why order take-out, when in the time it takes to deliver, you can be eating this delicious, easy, Weeknight Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein. Its the perfect weeknight meal!






Featured on Friday:


In  this recipe I use juicy, tender turkey thighs, that are smothered in mustard, then braised in beer with fresh thyme and caramelized onions. And what you get is the nothing short of spectacular, deep flavor. Even people who say they don't like turkey, like this turkey. It's simply that good. Adapts to slow cooker or stove top cooking, easy to make and budget friendly.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Slow Cooker Mustard and Beer-Braised Turkey Thighs

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I know what you're thinking ... another turkey recipe during Thanksgiving. But this turkey recipe is as far from being your standard Thanksgiving Day turkey.  In this recipe I use juicy, tender turkey thighs, that are smothered in mustard, then braised
in beer with fresh thyme and caramelized onions. And what you get is the nothing short of spectacular, deep flavor.  Even people who say they don't like turkey, like this turkey. It's simply that good. And, if that isn't enough, the cost to make this entire meal for 4 is under $5. I get turkey thighs at BJ's Wholesale, and they are roughly under $4 for about 2 pounds, which is 2 thighs. When I originally made this recipe I started with plain old yellow mustard and a bottle of Heineken, because it's what I had on hand. Each time I've made it since, I use a different mustard and change-up the beer. I've used all types of mustards, from champagne mustard to cardamon mustard, and I've had fun changing up the beers, from pale lagers to rich, deep dark stouts, each one adding its own unique flavor profile to the overall recipe.  I hope you get around to trying this recipe because I know you'll have fun changing it up each time you make it.


2 Turkey thighs, (1 lbs., ea.) skins removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon light butter
2 large onions, sliced in half moons
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard or yellow mustard +  2 extra to cover turkey sides
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons flour
1 bottle beer
Salt & pepper



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zippy Ketchup and Mustard Chicken

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If you're like me and you read the ingredient list when you look up a recipe before you read the recipe then you will notice two interesting ingredients in this weeks recipe: ketchup and mustard! No this is not a burger recipe, nor are they used as the staple condiments that they are. These two popular condiments are used as main condiments, as well as, add the complete flavor of this recipe. I was shocked as well at the use of these two ingredients. A good friend of mine, Miriam, is the inspiration behind this dish. I was visiting with her one afternoon and I happen to bring up the fact that I had defrosted some chicken but had no idea what to do with it. She turned to me and said "Well use ketchup and mustard to cook your chicken in." I can only imagine how my face must have looked because I was taken aback at this suggestion. I kept asking her "Are you sure you mean ketchup and mustard? Like the kind used on burgers???"She laughed and said yes. Boy was she right about this making a great dish. So I present to you, a recipe inspired by my good friend Miriam, with my own twist. I thank her for saving me that night, for it is turned out to be a delicious dish. As they always say, "Don't knock it until you try it!"

Serves 4-6

4-6 bone-in chicken pieces (breast, thigh, drumstick)
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped in chunks
5 carrots, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup mustard
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Lo Mein

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A Wednesdays with Eryka Recipe

Who doesn't enjoy Chinese takeout? It is a dinner saving meal when I don't cook and keeps me from resorting to the usual fast food burger. Chinese takeout gives the illusion of a homemade meal, and it doesn't feel as fattening or filling as a cheeseburger. However, as much as I enjoy picking up the phone or should I say logging onto the Chinese takeout website and making my selections to hungrily await the arrival of my food, I have a recipe that is just as good... better than the food you order AND you can make it in the same amount of time you wait for that happy knock on your door! Lo Mein is one of my favorite, classic Chinese-American  dishes because basically I like pasta and this is in fact a "pasta" dish! The last time I ordered Lo Mein from my local takeout place it was good but it was too salty and lacking that nice crunch from the veggies. This recipe is not overly salty, has great crunch and tastes very fresh. You will notice that I used fresh egg noodles. Luckily, my mom was able to find fresh, organic egg noodles at our grocery store in the refrigerated section. You can certainly use dried egg noodle and cook it like pasta or you can replace the egg noodle with your choice of pasta; however I highly recommend using the egg noodle if possible. The best part of this dish is the use of a coleslaw mix ...  because it saves so much time on having to chop cabbage! You can add or take out as many veggies as you'd like and you can make it all vegetarian by removing the chicken. The possibilities and ease make this a wonderful weeknight meal!

Serves 4-6

6 oz egg noodle or pasta of your choice
2 tablespoon canola oil
2 chicken breasts sliced in 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce (optional or add more or less depending on taste)
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 cups (or more) coleslaw mix
1/4 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup baby corn sliced

Monday, November 18, 2013

Brine, Brine, Brine That Turkey!

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Since we are roughly 10 days away from Thanksgiving, I thought I'd post my brine chart and my turkey brine solution with a Hispanic twist so you can start planning ahead, and brine, brine, brine that turkey!

Think it's too much of a hassle? It's not!

Or are you scratching your head wondering what the heck is brining? Read on!

Brining is the process of soaking a protein, such as chicken, in a salt & sugar water solution.  Ratios of salt to sugar vary but I prefer the 3:2 (salt:sugar). It's the secret many chefs probably don't want to share.  It's cheap and at it's very basic form requires nothing more than a container, water, kosher salt and sugar. Sometimes I will use brown sugar, honey, molasses in place of sugar. You can also use any type of juice, beer, wine, stock in place of the water or a combination of these liquids with the water. You can also add in onions, herbs, chilies or any other aromatics you have lying around.  Click here for a larger version of the chart below.


Let's look at the science behind the brine. The salt in the brine cause the protein to relax and unfold.  Some of the meat's cell moisture flows into the brine and the brine flows into the meat's cell.  That's simple osmosis. The salt relaxes the protein so much that the meat actually holds even more water which creates moisture. Which gives you super flavor, over-all textural improvement and a very moist piece of meat.

I generally brine everything, except red meat (red meat I dry brine but that's for another post), before I cook it. And by everything I mean all poultry, shrimp, some fish, lobster and pork. Nowadays, it's just the Hub and I that I cook for, but I still brine. If I have 4 chicken breasts, I put them in a covered container with 2 quarts of cold water, 3 tablespoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and let them sit in the brine for up to 6 hours in the fridge. Same holds true for pork. It truly makes a big difference in moistness and flavor. Don't have 6 hours? Even if you brine for 60 minutes or less, some brining is better than no brining.

And that brings us to the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Short of deep frying your turkey ... if you want a flavorful, super moist bird, putting your bird in a brine is the way to go. I don't care how much butter, seasonings or rubs you put in your turkey, some part of it, mostly the breast meat, will be dry or flavorless or both. Here is my turkey brine solution with a hispanic twist. Brine the defrosted turkey 24 hours before cooking.


Turkey Brine Solution with a Hispanic Twist

2 cups kosher salt
1 cup of sugar (granulated, brown or even stevia - if you need to watch your sugar intake)
2 heads of garlic smashed  and roughly chopped - you can leave peel on
3 tablespoons of toasted and mashed* cumin seeds
3 tablespoons black peppercorns, mashed*
4 tablespoons of dried oregano
4 tablespoons of cumin powder
3 large onions roughly chopped
2 quarts of sour orange juice - if you don't have any locally, here's how you can "make your own sour orange juice". Or you can use the bottled version, just read the ingredients list to make sure it doesn 't have unpronounceable additives.
2 quarts white wine - doesn't have to be expensive, just drinkable
2 quarts of chicken stock
2 quarts of water
1 - 14 to 16 pound young turkey
1 styrofoam cooler or a 5 gallon paint bucket from yr home improvement store
10 pound bag of ice

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Weekly Recipe Round-Up - November 10th - 16th

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Can you believe that we are already half way through November? Just this past week alone flew by at what felt like an insane pace!
This week's Recipe of the Week was Zippy Ketchup and Mustard Chicken featured on Wednesdays with Eryka. It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.

Featured on Monday:

Potaje de Garbanzo / Cuban Chickpea and Chorizo Stew

The recent "cool" weather inspired me to make one of my favorite Cuban potajes (stew) ... Potaje de Garbanzo.  I think of a potaje (poe-tah-hey) as not quite a soup, not quite a stew and not quite a porridge. It's a hearty chickpeas (garbanzo), simmered with Spanish chorizo, ham, smoked pork shank, Cuban calabaza and potatoes. To me, the perfect spoonful has a piece of chorizo, calabaza, and chickpea swimming in the smokey, paprika infused tomato-y broth.

Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:

Zippy Ketchup and Mustard Chicken

It may surprise you that the main condiments used to cook the chicken in this recipe are ketchup and mustard. It's an incredibly easy to make, budget friendly and mostly importantly absolutely delicious dish - and that's makes it's a Wednesdays with Eryka recipe.





Featured on Friday:

Grilled Chicken with Corkscrew Pasta in Preserved Lemon and Garlic Sauce

This recipe starts by marinating the chicken in preserved lemon, the lemon brine and lots of garlic. It is then grilled to perfection. While your pasta cooks you create a luscious, lemon and garlic infused creamy sauce that will coat the ridged, corkscrew pasta. Those lovely ridges are what help hold the sauce onto the pasta and deliver the most amazing bite.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Corkscrew Pasta in Preserved Lemon and Garlic Sauce

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Since my romantic foray with preserved lemons started I've been using it as an extra ingredient rather than letting it be the star of the show. In my Grilled Chicken with Corkscrew Pasta in Preserved Lemon and Garlic Sauce, it is the star ... front and center, shinning, glistening beautifully and adding so much depth of flavor, it's almost sinful - almost. This recipe starts by marinating the chicken in preserved lemon, the lemon brine and lots of garlic. It is then grilled to perfection. While your pasta cooks you create a luscious, lemon and garlic infused creamy sauce that will coat the ridged, corkscrew pasta. Those lovely ridges are what help hold the sauce onto the pasta and deliver the most amazing bite.  This makes a big batch, enough that The Hub and I had leftovers for our lunch.  As some you already know, The Hub is my constant gauge as to whether a recipe is good, great or amazing. This recipe, he said, was amazing - he kept mentioning how mellow and delicious the flavor of the lemon was. That made me pretty darn happy!

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs OR 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied so that you have 4 individual pieces
1 preserved lemon, chopped, + 1/2 preserved lemon, diced
2 tablespoon of the preserved lemon brine
1/2 a head of garlic, minced or passed through a press
1/8 cup of olive oil
Pepper to taste
Large palm full of roughly chopped parsley, divided in two

Add all the ingredients (except 1/2 preserved lemon and parsley) to a large glass
bowl. With clean hands, massage all the ingredients into the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge minimum of 2 hours or overnight (even better).

What you need at the grill:
Sturdy grill tongs
Cooking oil spray or canola oil in a small bowl and a brush to swipe over grill grates
A large piece of aluminum foil - large enough to fold over  and enclose all the chicken pieces (like a pouch) when done.

Spray grill with cooking oil. Heat your grill using a high flame (about 10 minutes). Place each piece on grill, do not try to move it at this point, and lower grill cover. If you want crisscross grill marks, after 3 minutes, give each piece a quarter turn and lower flame to medium and continue to grill for an additional 3 minutes. Raise flame to high, flip over each piece and repeat process if you want crisscross grill marks. Grill on high flame for 2 minutes, then reduce flame to medium and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Place all the pieces in a large sheet of foil and close tightly, allowing to rest for 5 minutes. Slice diagonally into 2 inch long pieces.

For the sauce:

1 pound of corkscrew pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, minced
1/2 a head of garlic, finely minced or pass through the garlic press
1 preserved lemon, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup white wine
1 teaspoon of preserved lemon brine
2 egg yolks beaten with 3/4 cup heavy cream (yolk should be at room temperature)
1 palm full of parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, diced

Monday, November 11, 2013

Potaje de Garbanzo / Cuban Chickpea and Chorizo Stew

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The last week brought about some cooler temperatures to South Florida and believe me that is quite a relief! This delightfully cool weather inspired me to make one of my favorite Cuban potajes (stew) ... Potaje de Garbanzo.  I think of a potaje (poe-tah-hey) as not quite a soup, not quite a stew and not quite a porridge. It's a hearty chickpeas (garbanzo), simmered with Spanish chorizo, ham, smoked pork shank, Cuban calabaza and potatoes. The taste takes me back to the days of sitting in my mom's kitchen, talking and watching her prepare this divine "potaje". It's funny how so many of the memories of my mom, that mean so much to me and that I hold dear, took place in her kitchen. A little choked up and a big sigh inserted here! Anyway, back to the "potaje". To me, the perfect spoonful has a piece of chorizo, calabaza, and chickpea swimming in the smokey, paprika infused tomato-y broth. Add your favorite bread to dunk in the savory broth or white rice and your meal has just graduated to a traditional Cuban meal. This is nothing short of absolutely, positively delicious! I am pretty certain that my favorite Potaje de Garbanzo may become one your favorites too!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large vidalia onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
4 small dried and cured Spanish chorizo* links, sliced on the diagonal
1 tablespoon sweet, smoked Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
1 laurel bay leaf
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 dry white wine
1 pounds of garbanzo beans
1 1/2 pounds of smoked pork shank
8 oz ham steak cubed
1/2  Cuban calabaza squash (or butternut squash), peeled and diced into large pieces
1 - 2 large red potatoes, peeled, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak the beans 24 hours ahead of cooking time, change water whenever possible.
Place the rinse beans and place in a pot with enough water to go about 2 inches above beans. Bring to a rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes on high. Cover and turn off heat. Leave in water for 1 hour. Remove and rinse beans set aside. Throw out water.
Heat a deep, heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, pepper and garlic. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, add sliced chorizo, paprika, bay leaf and garlic powder stir well to incorporate. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, making sure the chorizo has expelled it's oils. Add tomato sauce, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered. Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the salt, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 hour or until beans are almost tender. Add salt and cook for another 1/2 hour.

Serve in deep bowls along with crusty Cuban or French bread and/or, as served traditionally, with white rice. Enoy!

Recipe notes:
*Do not substitute Spanish chorizo with Mexican chorizo, the flavor profiles are completely different.
I like to to dice my calabaza (squash) in large pieces so that I actually have pieces of it remaining in the stew once it is done cooking. It tends to break down considerably during the cooking process.
Easily to adaptable to slow cooker cooking. After sauteing and simmering vegetables and chorizo in the tomato sauce, transfer all ingredients, except salt, to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours OR on low for 8-9 hours.  Half hour before cook time is up add in the salt.
I never add salt to beans until they are almost done. It is my experience that salt added to the beginning of the bean's cooking process will keep the beans from softening.  See my post Salt Will Keep Your Beans from Softening for more information on bean cookery!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weekly Recipe Round-Up

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What's Happening this week at The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon. 

A Few Changes, A New Section; Wednesdays with Eryka and more recipes.

This was an exciting week at The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon! New schedules in our lives prompted a few changes and a more consistent posting schedule. We will now be posting Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday, and will feature a new Weekly Recipe Round-Up every Saturday or Sunday.
We said goodbye to our mother/daughter Two for Tuesday recipe posting and hello to Wednesdays with Eryka. To read more about this new and exciting section click here.


Featured on Monday:

Preserved Lemons

I don't know of anything more delicious and versatile as Preserved Lemons. And they are so easy to make too! Once you've made them, you'll never pay ridiculous amounts of money for a tiny jar again. Takes all of 10 minutes to prep and what you get is briny, tart, a little sweet and the most intense lemon flavor you can possibly imagine.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Preserved Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken

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A few months ago I started my first (of many) preserved lemon jar.  Yes, I've had the jarred stuff you buy at expensive chefy-gourmet stores but, being the curious bugger I am, I had to figure out how to make it myself. I read a few of my middle-eastern cookbooks and did some research online and everyone had their own version of how to make it. So, armed with several different pieces of information from all over the globe I set out to make preserved lemons. I wasn't sure if it was going to work, I was kind of scared it would get moldy and I'd end up disgusted, never to eat a preserved lemon again. I am so glad I made them, because that opened up the door to being able to make this incredibly delectable Preserved Lemon & Garlic Grilled Chicken and so many other delicious recipes. You don't have to make your own for this recipe, you can of course buy a jar and that would be perfectly fine. In fact, if you wanted to make this recipe tomorrow, that would be your only option because preserved lemons are all about time and patience ... about a month's worth of time and patience. If you want to make your own, scroll down to the bottom for a link to my post on preserved lemons.
When I make this recipe I use skinless, boneless chicken thighs, because frankly I think they pack so much of a flavor punch, it's a sin not to use them. But for those folks who prefer, chicken breast, I've got you covered too. When you bite into the tender, juicy chicken, the flavor of the lemon and garlic will greet you like a long lost lover and you won't be able to get enough of it.

Serves 4 - 6

6 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs OR 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied so that you have 6 individual pieces.
1 preserved lemon, chopped, + 1/2 preserved lemon, diced
2 tablespoon of the preserved lemon brine
1/2 a head of garlic, minced or passed through a press
1/8 cup of olive oil
Pepper to taste
Large palm full of roughly chopped parsley, divided in two

Add all the ingredients (except 1/2 preserved lemon and parsley) to a large glass bowl. With clean hands, massage all the ingredients into the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow to marinate in the fridge minimum of 2 hours or overnight (even better).

What you need at the grill:
Sturdy grill tongs
Cooking oil spray or canola oil in a small bowl and a brush to swipe over grill grates
A large piece of aluminum foil - large enough to fold over and enclose all the chicken pieces (like a pouch) when done.
A tray - I use a lipped baking sheet - to transport stuff.

Spray grill with cooking oil. Heat your grill using a high flame (about 10 minutes). Place each piece on grill, do not try to move it at this point, and lower grill cover. If you want crisscross grill marks, after 3 minutes, give each piece a quarter turn and lower flame to medium and continue to grill for an additional 3 minutes. Raise flame to high, flip over each piece and repeat process if you want crisscross grill marks. Grill on high flame for 2 minutes, then reduce flame to medium and continue cooking 3-4 minutes. Place all the pieces in a large sheet of foil and close tightly, allowing to rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, sprinkle each chicken pieces with reserved  preserved lemon and parsley. Accompany with steamed zucchini, topped with a tablespoon of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Or slice and serve atop crisp romaine lettuce.

Want to make your own preserved lemons?
See my post Make Your Own Preserved Lemons.