Steak Fajita Marinade


Ingredients for the Fajitas:
2 poundsskirt steak
agua negra marinade
Aqua Negra Marinade:
1 cupsoy sauce
2 cupspineapple juice
2 tablespoonsground cumin
3minced garlic cloves
1/4 cupfreshly squeezed lime juice


1 Prepare the Aqua Negra Marinade:
2 Combine all ingredients with a whisk in a mixing bowl, making sure to break up any lumps of spices. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Makes 3 1/2 cups.
3 To Marinate the Steak:
4 Place the meat in a resealable container. Pour the marinade over the meat, and move the meat around to make sure that it is evenly covered. Marinate in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.
5 To Grill the Steak:
6 Start the coals in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. Place the beef on the grill and leave undisturbed until grill marks form, then rotate 90° to create a second set of marks. After 2 to 3 minutes, turn the beef to cook the other side. Transfer the beef to a work surface and slice.
7 To Serve: Serve the steak with grilled onions and peppers, on soft corn or flour tortillas, guacamole, pico.

NOTE: Save out 1/2 cup of the Agua Negra Marinade to toss the onions and peppers with.

Sauce for Grilling Chicken Thighs, Legs

  • 1 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Canola oil
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp White pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Celery salt

Put the above into a shaker or squeeze bottle and squirt the chicken and turn it every five minutes or so on the grill. Builds up layers and layers of awesome flavor. Just keep the chicken moving so it doesn’t burn.


Steak Marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic

Blend all ingredients together.

Eggplant Parmesan

Yield: serves 8 to 12Time: 3 hours

For the sauce:

  • 2 (28-oz.) cans plum tomatoes with their juices
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the eggplant:

  • 3 large eggs
  • Kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups dried plain fine bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning, or equal parts dried basil, dried rosemary, and dried oregano
  • 3 medium eggplants (about 3 lb. total), mostly peeled except for a few strips of skin, sliced into thin rounds slightly thinner than ¼ in.
  • About 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ cups (about 10½ oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese (not fresh)
  • 3 Tbsp. finely grated Pecorino Romano


  1. Make the sauce: In a blender, pulse the toma­toes and their juices until just slightly chunky. In a medium–large (4-quart or so) heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, add the oil and garlic, and cook, stirring occasion­ally, until the garlic is softened slightly and fragrant but not yet browned, about 4 min­utes. Pour in the puréed tomato mixture and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened slightly, at least 1 to 1½ hours. The sauce can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  2. If you’re baking and serving right away, set a rack in the top third of the oven and pre­heat to 400°F. If not, skip the preheat for now.
  3. Bread the eggplant: In a medium baking dish or wide shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon water. Season with a generous pinch of salt. In a second baking dish or bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and ½ teaspoon salt. Working with one or two at a time, dredge the eggplant slices in the egg wash and let the excess drip back into the bowl. Transfer to the bread crumbs and coat very lightly on each side.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels and set by the stove. In a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, heat ½ cup oil until shimmering. Turn the heat down to medium and add some eggplant slices in a single layer until the skillet is full. Cook, turning once, until well browned on each side, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to the pre­pared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, working in batches as needed and adding a little more oil every other batch, or as needed. As you work, continue to add layers of paper towels between the eggplant slices so they remain separate. The fried eggplant can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
  5. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, ladle ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sauce into the bottom. Cover the sauce with a single layer of eggplant (start with the thickest ones on the bottom and save the prettiest slices for the top). Ladle another ½ cup sauce on top, spread­ing it evenly. Sprinkle with about ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons mozzarella and 1 tablespoon Pecorino. Add another layer of eggplant and repeat this process until you’ve reached the final layer of eggplant. Top this layer only with ½ cup sauce, a final thin layer of mozzarella, and some Pecorino. (Reserve any remaining sauce for another use.) At this point, the eggplant parmigiana can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day.
  6. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and bronzed in places and the sauce is bubbling around the edges, about 20 min­utes (add about 10 minutes if your dish was previously assembled and chilled). Remove and let cool slightly. Slice into squares and serve warm.

Background: (From Saveur)

For about the first 30 years of my life, barely a week went by without my grandma baking a bubbling, beautiful tray of eggplant parmigiana. A comforting staple of southern Italian kitchens, the dish has also long had an appealing affordability—traditionally most Italians simply used eggplants and tomatoes grown in their own garden—and practicality, as a tray could often feed even a large family through a few meals. It’s adaptable, too: More than just the main course it’s often served as in American culture, eggplant parmigiana could then and can now be eaten in a number of ways—as a primo or first course preceding a meat or seafood dish, as a contorno or vegetable side, or even as an antipastoserved at room temperature and cut into squares.

Likely originating from Campania, and more specifically Naples—positioned in the ankle of Italy’s so-called “boot”—this iconic dish mainly falls back on a trifecta of simple ingredients: pan-fried eggplant, red sauce, and cheese. But from there, regions, cooks, and generations have put their own spin on the specialty. Some cooks batter the eggplant in flour or a mixture of egg and bread crumbs, others fry the slices plain. In parts of Calabria, I’ve eaten it with slices of hard-boiled eggs and thin pieces of prosciutto strewn through the layers. Many add fresh basil to the sauce or between the layers of eggplant. And I’ve seen a number of cheeses used, from mozzarella (a given) to provolone, grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano, or even ricotta—which would have been utter sacrilege in my family. In Campania and Sicily, you’ll even see dishes by the name of parmigiana made with thinly sliced zucchini or even artichokes instead of eggplant. Of course, today in the U.S. you’ll see the idea used on everything from chicken parmigiana to veal, shrimp, sausage, and meatballs.
What’s most critical about this casserole-style Italian dinner is the layering, the characteristic for which many believe parmigiana got its name. Despite theories that it was named for Parmigiano cheese (which is produced far away in the north of Italy) or the city of Parma (same issue), many believe that the dish was named for the word palmigiana, a Sicilian term for the old roof shutters or shingles which the layers of overlapping eggplant resemble.

In and around those layers are the key to eggplant parmigiana’s texture and flavor. Here’s how to get it right.

Slice the Eggplant Thinly
Eggplant naysayers will usually complain about its unique texture, which can feel at times like a cross between a meat and a vegetable. Fans love that about eggplant, how it rides the line between light and hearty. To get the consistency right when layering—that is, to make sure eggplant parm is easily cuttable and neither soggy nor overly raw—cut the slices thinly and evenly with care. Peel most of the eggplant’s skin (a few strips are okay), and use a very sharp knife to slice. Each piece should be no more than ¼ inch thick, and ideally a little thinner than that. If you end up with any particularly thick pieces, slice them in half again or consider omitting them.

Pre-Season Your Dredge
Setting up a dredging station for battering and frying eggplant will save you time and help stave off a kitchen mess. But be sure to season each part of the dredge independently for the greatest overall flavor. My grandma’s recipe used a light coating of bread crumbs and some beaten eggs, so I season each of these components generously with salt before coating and frying. This rule about seasoning ingredients independently applies to each element of eggplant parmigiana—you should also season the tomato sauce well before layering the dish to bake.

Don’t Oversauce, or Overcheese
The one thing I’d hear over and over in my grandma’s kitchen when making parmigiana with her was: “Not too much!” Because there are so many layers to the dish, restraint when adding sauce and cheese will yield a better, more eggplant-forward parm, and a less soggy and gooey one. Spoon and spread just enough sauce onto each layer to lightly cover it, and use a light hand with cheese, sprinkling—never blanketing—the shredded mozzarella between layers. The place to add the most cheese is at the top, where it will melt under the oven’s heat to form a beautiful, bronzed covering.

Work in Stages
A family-sized portion of eggplant parmigiana can take about three hours from start to finish, and it’s most easily done with a partner who can cook the sauce or batter more eggplant slices while you’re pan-frying. But, as you can easily break up the steps into phases, thinking ahead to do so can help keep this dish easy and weeknight-friendly. You can cook the sauce up to a few days ahead, and fry the eggplant slices up to a few hours or even a day before. You can fully assemble eggplant parm, cover the baking dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to a day before baking and serving. If you do chill eggplant parmigiana before baking, add a few minutes to the bake time to be sure it’s fully heated through and the cheese is melted.

Tomato, Basil and Couscous Salad

Tomato, Basil and Couscous Salad

This is a summertime favorite of mine. It goes fantastic with grilled foods, the Balsamic vinegar really adds a zest to the Couscous. It's best made a few hours in advance and put into the Fridge to let it cool. That allows the flavors to meld together a bit more. It's even better the next day. 


  • 2 ¼ Cups Canned Chicken Broth
  • 1 - 10oz box Couscous


  • 1 Cup Chopped Green Onions
  • 1 Cup (generous) Diced, Seeded Plum Tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup Thinly Sliced Fresh Basil
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Dried Crushed Red Pepper
  • Cherry Tomatoes, Halved


Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add Couscous. Remove from Heat. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Fluff with fork, cool.Mix all ingredients except cherry tomatoes into Couscous. Season with salt & pepper. (Can be made a day ahead, chill)Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips


1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Cornstarch

1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1/8 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

Table Salt

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 1/2 Pounds 1-inch-thick Cod Fillet or Haddock, cut into eight 3-ounce pieces1 1/2 Cups Beer (12 ounces), cold


3 Pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled, ends and sides squared off, and cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch by 1/2-inch fries

3 Quarts Peanut Oil (or canola oil), plus 1/4 additional cup


Place cut fries in large microwaveable bowl, toss with 1/4 cup oil, and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high power until potatoes are partially translucent and pliable but still offer some resistance when pierced with tip of paring knife, 6 to 8 minutes, tossing them with rubber spatula halfway through cooking time. Carefully pull back plastic wrap from side farthest from you and drain potatoes into large mesh strainer set over sink. Rinse well under cold running water. Spread potatoes onto kitchen towels and pat dry. Let rest until room temperature, at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

While fries cool, whisk flour, cornstarch, cayenne, paprika, pepper, and 2 teaspoons salt in large mixing bowl; transfer 3/4 cup of mixture to rimmed baking sheet. Add baking powder to bowl and whisk to combine.

In heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat 2 quarts oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Add fries to hot oil and increase heat to high. Fry, stirring with mesh spider or slotted metal spoon, until potatoes turn light golden and just begin to brown at corners, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer fries to thick paper bag or paper towels to drain.

Reduce heat to medium-high, add remaining quart of oil, and heat oil to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, thoroughly dry fish with paper towels and dredge each piece in flour mixture on baking sheet; transfer pieces to wire rack, shaking off excess flour. Add 1 1/4 cups beer to flour mixture in mixing bowl and stir until mixture is just combined (batter will be lumpy). Add remaining beer as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until batter falls from whisk in thin, steady stream and leaves faint trail across surface of batter. Using tongs, dip 1 piece fish in batter and let excess run off, shaking gently. Place battered fish back onto baking sheet with flour mixture and turn to coat both sides. Repeat with remaining fish, keeping pieces in single layer on baking sheet.

When oil reaches 375 degrees, increase heat to high and add battered fish to oil with tongs, gently shaking off excess flour. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes.

Transfer fish to thick paper bag or paper towels to drain. Allow oil to return to 375 degrees.

Add all fries back to oil and fry until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to fresh paper bag or paper towels to drain.

Season fries with salt to taste and serve immediately with fish, fresh lemon, and tartar sauce.

Courses Dinner

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)

Pasta e Ceci (Pasta with Chickpeas)



Yield 4-6 Servings

Our pasta e ceci is simple to prepare, yet packed full of satisfying flavor. We cook chickpeas and ditalini in the same pot to blend the dish, using the starch released by the pasta to create a silky, stick-to-your-ribs texture. Before adding the pasta, we simmer the chickpeas to give them a creamy softness. We build flavor (without adding a distracting texture) by using a finely minced soffritto of onions, garlic, carrot, celery, and pancetta, an addition that gives the dish a meaty backbone. And we achieve depth of flavor by adding anchovies, tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.


ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

small celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

garlic cloves, peeled

onion, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces

(14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving

anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

(15-ounce) cans chickpeas (do not drain)

cups water Salt and pepper

ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini

tablespoon lemon juice

tablespoon minced fresh parsley

ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)


Another short pasta, such as orzo, can be substituted for the ditalini, but make sure to substitute by weight and not by volume

1. Process pancetta in food processor until ground to paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Add onion and pulse until onion is cut into 1/8- to 1/4-inch pieces, 8 to 10 pulses. Transfer pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven. Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Set aside.

2. Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes. Add anchovy, pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing Parmesan and extra oil separately.

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Fettuccine With Butter And Cheese

Fettuccine With Butter And Cheese

Yield 4-6 Servings

Cooks Country August/September 2016


1 pound fettuccine


4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (2 cups), plus extra for serving

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces


1. Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in large dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.

2. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, reserved cooking water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to pot. Set pot over low heat and using tongs, toss and stir vigorously to thoroughly combine, about 1 minute. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let pasta sit for 1 minute.

3. Toss pasta vigorously once more so sauce thoroughly coats pasta and any cheese clumps are emulsified into sauce, about 30 seconds. (Mixture may look wet at this point, but pasta will absorb excess moisture as it cools slightly.) Season with salt to taste.

4. Transfer pasta to individual bowls. (Use rubber spatula as needed to remove any clumps of cheese stuck to tongs and bottom of pot.) Serve immediately, passing extra Parmigiano-Reggiano separately.


Be sure to use imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese here and not the bland domestic cheese labeled "Parmesan." For the best results grate the cheese on a rasp-style grater. Do not adjust the amount of water for cooking the pasta. Stir the pasta frequently while cooking so it doesn't stick together. It's important to move quickly after draining the pasta as the residual heat from the reserved cooking water and pasta will help the cheese and butter melt. For best results, heat ovensafe dinner bowls in a 200-degree oven for 10 minutes prior to serving and serve the pasta hot. If you are using fresh pasta, increase the amount to 1 1/4 pounds. 

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole




Yield 10-12 Servings


4 slices white bread, each slice torn into quarters

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1⁄4 teaspoon table salt

1⁄8 teaspoon ground black pepper

3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)

2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 lb white button mushrooms, stems trimmed, wiped clean, and broken into 1/2-inch pieces

3 medium garlic cloves, minced

fresh ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream


  1. For the topping: Pulse bread, butter, salt, and pepper in food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 one-second pulses. Transfer to large bowl and toss with onions; set aside.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Fill large bowl with ice water. Bring 4 qts. of water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add two tbls. salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Spread beans on paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  4. Add butter to now-empty Dutch oven and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/8 teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake until top is golden brown ans sauce is bubbling around edges, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.
  6. To prepare ahead: Store breadcrumb topping in an airtight container in the refrigerator and combine with the onion just before cooking. Combine the beans and cooled sauce in a baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. To serve, remove plastic wrap and heat casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake as directed. This recipe can be halved and baked in a 2 quart (or 8" square) baking dish. Reduce cooking time of the sauce in Step 3 to about 6 minutes and the baking time in Step 4 to 10 minutes.

Courses Side Dish