Tag Archives: quick recipe

Quick Tip – Grilling Chicken

Just sharing a couple quick tips for those of you grilling chicken this weekend – some favorite brines, rubs, sauces and marinades and lessons I have learned from many years of chicken grilling.  Happy Holiday!!

Be sure to brine for an hour or less!

Be sure to brine for an hour or less!

  • The first step is to brine, rub and/or marinate your chicken before grilling.  Chicken is a relatively light flavored meat, so you will want to add flavor before serving.  Here are some of my favorite chicken brines, rubs, sauces and marinades:
  • It is fun to play around with brine, rub marinade recipes, adding some local flavor or just adjusting spices to better fit your eaters.  I prefer brines, which do not contain oil, to marinades, as the fats block the liquid water-holding capacity in the meat, thus inhibiting the addition of flavor.  Chicken should brine for a much shorter time than other meats – only 30 minutes to an hour.  I do like marinades for chicken pieces, and if I’m feeling particularly energetic, will sometimes combine a brine with a rub.
  • Remove the chicken and allow it to reach room temperature before grilling – do not allow meat, particularly chicken, to sit unrefrigerated for too long however – an hour at most.
  • I setup my grill with all of the charcoal distributed only half of the grill.  This way you can place the chicken over the half without coals, allowing the chicken to cook slowly over indirect heat.
  • To test for doneness, prick a thigh and make sure the juices run clear.
  • For whole chicken, the entire cooking process takes place over indirect heat.  For cut-up chicken pieces, I start the pieces over the coals and cook them about 2 minutes on each side, until you get those nice grill marks.  Then, move the pieces to the other, cooler side of the grill to finish.  Again, check to make sure the juices run clear to ensure the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Grill temperatures ran fluctuate broadly, so you have to pay close attention when grilling a whole chicken.  Unlike beef, you do NOT want to serve chicken rare or even medium rare.
  • Be sure to lightly oil the part of the grill that will be holding the chicken and the chicken itself.  Without lubrication your chicken may stick to the grill – particularly if you place it over direct heat.
  • Allow your chicken to rest for 3-5 minutes for pieces and 10-12 minutes for whole chicken before serving.  This allows juices to redistribute to the external portions of the meat.
Rest for 5-10 minutes.

Rest for 5-10 minutes.

If you’re looking for a smashing (but simple) dessert, try these Gingersnap Cookies.



Why flax seeds?  I have been reading a lot about omega 3 lately and trying to work it into my diet more often (rather than relying solely on supplements).  One of the best sources of omega 3 is ground flax seeds and thinking about the groundness of the seeds led me to pesto – the root of the word is the same as pestle and both derive from the Latinpestâ” (to pound or crush).  It seems that many people have negative connotations for flax seeds – that the texture is weird or flavor will be unpleasant.  But, i’ve tested this recipe on some discerning palates and everyone thought that the nuts used were either 100% walnuts or a mixture of walnuts and pine nuts.  Be sure to taste before and after adding the salt – I usually avoid salt in pesto recipes, but because the Lucini Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano is so rich and flavorful and has less of a salty profile than generic Parmigiano Reggiano, I do add salt to this preparation.  As always find it better to start with a little less – you can add more, but if you start with too much, fixing the taste is difficult.




Grind the flax seeds.  Combine the garlic, flax seeds, walnuts and salt in a food processor (or a mortar and pestle, for a more ‘authentic’ consistency) and blend until the mixture forms a paste.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, blending slowly.  Add the Parmigiano 1 tablespoon at a time, blending for short beats until the mixture forms a thick paste.  The pesto can be put in a container, topped with a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil and then stored for several weeks in the refrigerator.  Without this preservation layer, the pesto discolors very quickly and the garlic flavor will turn bitter in a matter of days.

Simple Enchiladas

This picture is making me hungry!

This picture is making me hungry!

This recipe is a breeze and makes a simple and tasty food treat.   Cooking the enchilada sauce yourself takes a bit more time, but the payoff in flavor makes it worthwhile.  I have included that recipe below.  If you prefer spicy enchiladas, use fresh jalapenos or habaneros (including seeds for extra spicy) as your green chiles. Any cooked filing will work here – mixed vegetables, chicken, turkey or duck, shredded beef, beans, beans and rice, etc. – so this is a great way to use any leftovers in your refrigerator. The first dish I remember making for a group (other than a Jello flag of Spain) is Enchiladas, which I brought for a Cinco de Mayo party held by my 11th grade Spanish teacher, so i’ve been working on this recipe for a long time!!


  • 3 C         cooked Chicken (shredded, cooked black or kidney beans and cooked turkey work as well)
  • 2 C         Cheese (shredded, I use sharp or extra sharp cheddar, but jack and queso fresco or another Mexican cheese will also work)
  • 1 1/2 C  Enchilada Sauce (canned or homemade, see other recipe below)
  • 1/2 C     Green Chile Peppers (chopped – fresh, seeded or canned, drained)
  • 1/2 C     Cilantro (fresh, chopped fine)
  • 2 tsp      Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp      Oregano (fresh, chopped fine or dried, crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp  Turmeric (optional)
  • 1 tsp       Salt
  • 1/2 tsp  Pepper
  • 12           Corn Tortillas (6 inch tortillas)


Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the middle position. Combine the chicken (or other cooked filing), 1 cup of the cheese, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, the chiles, and cilantro. Season with chili powder, oregano, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and microwave until warm and pliable, 40-60 seconds.

Lightly coat a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread 1/3 cup filling evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll the tortilla around the filling and lay seam-side down in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of enchilada sauce all over the enchiladas so that they are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over all. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20-25 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake until the cheddar browns, about 5 minutes more.

Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette – salad dressing, marinade, sauce & more

This simple recipe creates an adaptable vinaigrette that tastes great on salads, steamed vegetables, grains and even steak or chicken breast!



1/3 C      Lucini Fig Infused Balsamic

1 tsp       fresh Garlic, minced

1 tsp       Salt

1/4 tsp  Black pepper

1/2 tsp  Lemon Peel, grated fine

1/2 C     Lucini Basil – Infused Extra Virgin


In a bowl, whisk together fig balsamic, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Add garlic and lemon peel and stir.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil (VERY slowly at first) while whisking constantly to emulsifiy.  If  you have time, refrigerate until serving; this seems to make the flavor more consistent throughout the vinaigrette.

Cherry Tomato Chutney

I love the complex flavor of this chutney, delivered by a variety of spices and vegetables.  The Lucini Cherry Infused Balsamic adds a rich sweetness, a bit of sour and actually helps to thicken the chutney.  After trying a number of different vegetables to compliment the cherry tomatoes, i finally decided on fennel, which keeps some crunch despite the 30 minute simmer.  The chilis and anchovies are optional, but I recommend both, as each helps fill out the complexity that makes this chutney so much fun.  I use it as a sandwich spread (particularly turkey breast or roasted vegetable), an accompaniment to Indian takeout and a quick jazz to any bare vegetable preparation such as  green beans or roasted brussel sprouts or .  The recipe is easy to follow and requires a minimum of effort, but the simmer should be at least 30 minutes long.


1 pint Fresh (preferrably organic) cherry tomatoes (approximately 5 oz.)
1 small Onion, minced
1/4 cup Fresh fennel chopped small (any bruised or discolored stalks removed)
2  Garlic cloves
4 small  Dried chilis (adjust to fit your own heat tolerance; 4 provides a noticeable bite, but no roar)
4 Coriander seeds
2 Black peppercorns
2 Cloves
1/2  tsp Cumin seeds
1/8  tsp Nutmeg (cinammon works in a pich)
2 Tb Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2/3 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup Lucini Cherry Infused Balsamic
4 Anchovies (optional)


Saute the onion, fennel and garlic in the olive oil.  Meanwhile, heat the chilis and other spices (coriander, peppercorns, cloves, cumin and nutmeg)  in a pan until you can smell the fragrence start to be released.  Grind the chilis and spices in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder.  Add this mixture to the onion/fennel and stir well.  Continue to cook until the onion is translucent.  Add the tomatoes (washed) and anchovies (thoroughly rinsed).  Stir well.  Add the sugar, Cherry Infused Balsamic and salt and pepper to taste.  Raise the heat to medium and cook until mixture reaches a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.   The tomatoes should be fully broken down and the chutney should be thick with a consistent reddish-brown tint.  The chutney will be ready to go, but refrigerate any that you do not plan to serve immediately.  A small splash of Lucini Chili – Infused Extra Virgin adds yet another facet to the flavor profile.

The chutney will keep for a month in your refrigerator.

I was inspired to make this dish when I noticed that Indian restaurants in my neighborhood seemed to be watering down their mango chutney well past the range of usefulness.