Grilled Clams

Grilled Clams

Grilled Clams

Need I say more? This recipe is quick and easy. And impressive on a warm summer evening. We like to make it as an appetizer for our foodie friends, but it could be dinner if you pour it over rice or pasta (gluten-free of course!).

Although I've always used butter in the past, I wanted to attempt a dairy free version this time around. Butter or ghee lends a nice richness, but olive oil was an exceptable stand-in.

Start with high quality clams. I prefer them on the smaller side (1 1/2 - 2 inches wide). When you buy clams, ask if they need to be rinsed or not. Some farmed clams don't need to be rinsed, while most others do to remove sand (say no to grit!).

Many folks will appreciate some bread to soak up the delicious juice, so find a good gluten-free bread. Drizzle olive oil over the bread and grill it for a few minutes each side for a real crowd pleaser. Believe it or not, the pic above features a gluten-free hot dog bun cut into four thin slices. Not my first choice, but it turned out great!

Grilled Clams
serves 4

1 pound clams
1 lemon, sliced and seeds removed
1 Tbs olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1 shallot finely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup white wine
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tbs chopped parsley

Prepare a parchment lined foil pouch. Place clams and lemon slices on half.

Fold foil + parchment over and seal edges by rolling over 2-3 times. (FYI - the reason I line the foil pouch with parchment is because I am concerned about the acid from the lemons reacting with the aluminum foil.)

Clams & Lemons

Grill over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Almost all the clams should open. Discard unopened clams.

Grilled Clams

Carefully take a peak into the pouch. You should see steamy open clams and smell the mouth-watering blend of clams, wine and garlic. Pour the clams + juice into a bowl and top with parsley. (I put the parsley in first and it wilted into a unattractive mess...so don't do that.)

Serve these Grilled Clams with GF bread and a buttery Chardonnay!

All Things Grilled Part 1

Bison Burger with Potato "Bun"

Part 1 of a 3 part series on Grilling!

I love a good burger. There is nothing quite like taking your first bite of a juicy, perfectly cooked burger and having all of the layers and components harmoniously meld together in that one bite. Once you have had that wonderful experience, it is quite disappointing when things (flavors, textures, proportions) don’t seem to work out.

One challenge for gluten-free folks is what to do about a bun. Don’t get me wrong, I love a light, airy, appropriately sized bun with my burger. But sometimes a dense, dry gluten-free bun interferes with the star of the show…the meat! I’ve tried lettuce wraps and grilled portobello mushrooms too, but my quest for a new “bun” continues.

When my brilliant and creative side kick, Constance, mentioned using a thick potato slice as a bun, I couldn’t wait to try the concept of a burger and fries all in one! It was a beautiful thing...I fell in love with burgers all over again.

Grilled Bison Burger
makes 4 burgers

1 pound ground bison (or sub grass-fed beef)
½ cup grated red or white onion ½ tsp garlic salt ¼ tsp lemon pepper cheese slices optional

Turn on grill and set to high heat.

Meanwhile, combine burger ingredients and divide meat evenly into 4 patties.

Reduce heat to medium high once grill temperature reaches 400° F.

Place patties on grill for approximately 3 minutes. Rotate the patties 45° and grill for 2 more minutes if grill marks are desired. Then, flip the burger and cook for 3 minutes or until desired doneness. Remove from grill and allow to rest 3-5 minutes.

Grilled Potato "Bun"

1-2 russet potatoes (nice thick round ones), scrubbed
olive oil or fat of choice (about 1 Tbs)
salt & pepper

Microwave (each) potato 2 minutes.

Slice potatoes crosswise in ½ inch thick slices. (Use the bigger pieces for buns and the smaller pieces for “fries”.)

Drizzle or brush with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Grill potatoes for about 4 minutes, preferably on the cooler side of the grill. Rotate potatoes 45° and grill for 4 more minutes, if grill marks are desired. Flip potatoes and grill another 3-5 minutes, depending how crispy you want them.

Set potato "buns" aside for a few minutes while the burgers rest. Then use the potato slices as a bun to build a tasty burger.

Optional toppings:
* stone ground mustard
* grilled onions (sliced ¼ inch thick and grilled about 10 minutes on medium low, flipping occasionally)
* grilled tomatoes (try a drizzle of oil + balsamic for a tangy treat; grill about 5 minutes on medium low)
* avocado
* arugula
* baby spinach
* grilled or sauteed mushrooms

Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato & Arugula Bison Burger with Grilled Tomato

Cheese & Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast with Rustic Roasted Tomatoes

stuffed chicken breast with rustic roasted tomatoes

Part 3 in a 3 part series

Cheese & Herb Stuffed Chicken Breast with Rustic Roasted Tomatoes serves 2
See dairy-free version below too!

2 large organic chicken breasts, butterflied (see how here)
1 cup shredded cheese (asiago + aged cheddar is nice)
2 Tbs basil chiffonade
2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp lemon zest
salt & pepper
2 Tbs olive or grapeseed oil
Roasted tomatoes + oil (about a cup cooked with garlic as described in part 1)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine cheese, herbs and lemon zest in a small bowl. Open butterflied chicken breasts. Add 1/2 cup filling to each. Do your best to close the chicken completely around the filling. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Heat a saute pan over medium-high. Add 2 Tbs oil. When oil shimmers, carefully add chicken. Cook 7-8 minutes on the first side. When they are nicely browned, flip and put in oven. Cook 10-15 minutes in the oven or until cooked through. Let chicken rest 5 minutes.

Plate and top with roasted tomatoes.

And now, the dairy-free alternative...

Tofu & Kale Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes serves 2

stuffed chicken breast with rustic roasted tomatoes

Since I can't do cheese right now, I tried substituting this dairy-free filling for the cheese & herb filling above.

Tofu & Kale Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes

2 large organic chicken breasts, butterflied (see how here)
1 cup thinly sliced kale
1 cup crumbled firm organic tofu (4-5 ounces)
1/4 cup roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp lemon pepper
salt & pepper
2 Tbs olive or grapeseed oil
Roasted tomatoes + oil (about a cup cooked with garlic as described in part 1)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine kale through lemon pepper and stuff 1/2 cup into each butterflied chicken breast. Close the chicken breast around the filling. You may want to secure it with a wooden pick.

Heat a saute pan over medium-high. Add 2 Tbs oil. When oil shimmers, carefully add chicken. Cook 7-8 minutes on the first side. When they are nicely browned, flip and put in oven. Cook 10-15 minutes in the oven or until cooked through. Let chicken rest 5 minutes.

Plate and top with roasted tomatoes.

Check out this mouth-watering goodness...
Tofu & Kale Stuffed Chicken Breast with Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes, the new Caramelized Onion

roasted tomatoes with garlic

Part 1 in a 3 part series

As you know, I've been obsessed with tomatoes lately. I make fresh tomato + cucumber salad (with a red wine vinaigrette) all-the-time. So simple, yet perfect. That's how these roasted tomatoes are too! If you are thinking, "ugh, you want me to roast perfectly good tomatoes?" Please try this amazing technique...it does something magical to the tomatoes that allows you to make several easy, delicious dishes. Pretty please.

I've used large grape tomatoes and a variety called strawberry tomatoes that are similarly shaped and delightfully sweet. If the tomatoes are large (like the ones shown), cutting them in half is the way to go.

Simple Roasted Tomatoes: Toss tomatoes with a generous amount of olive oil (at least 1/4 cup per 2 cups tomatoes), salt, pepper, and herbs or garlic or both. If you choose garlic, toss in a half dozen cloves or so and leave the papery wrappers on, so the cloves don't burn. Then you'll have buttery roasted garlic too! If you choose herbs, several sprigs of thyme are nice. Slow roast at 350 for an hour or speed the process along by cranking the oven to 425 and roast for 30 minutes.

Once you've got the technique down, these sweet and flavorful jewels will dazzle any dish.

In the coming 3 part series, you will learn three (plus) interesting ways to use roasted tomatoes:

Wilted Spinach Salad with Roasted Tomatoes serves 4 as side salad
wilted spinach salad with roasted tomatoes Roasted Tomatoes + oil (from 2 cups tomatoes cooked as described above)
2 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 generous handfuls baby spinach
2 Tbs pine nuts, dry toasted in a pan*

While the tomatoes are still hot (or reheat to make hot), stir in vinegar. Gently toss with spinach and top with pine nuts. Enjoy immediately!

*Don't skip this step...it adds so much flavor! If you can't do pine nuts, consider shredding a dry salty cheese such as manchego over the top instead.

Ok, get ready for a simple, family friendly gluten-free pasta next.