Hi there! Every family size is different and in the last two years it really just been my son and I at the dinner table so I’ve become pretty accustomed to scaling back on meal size with the exception of creating recipes for this blog. In another two years he will be off to college….leaving me to dine alone or with a partner as I transition to becoming an empty-nester (gulp). Dining à deux can be sophisticated – or relatively simple – it just sets a different tone than putting together a standard family dinner. It’s adult in nature; it conjures up two people enjoying themselves with a lovely meal and perhaps a bottle of wine in a relaxed setting. I certainly admire all of the bloggers out there that have found successful ways to get a good meal on the table every night for their families but I’m just not in that place anymore as many others are no longer as well. So I thought I would start a Dining à Deux feature with recipes designed for two to make dinner just a bit more special, a little more intimate, and wonderfully appreciated. I hope you enjoy it!! And most recipes can easily be doubled to serve a family of four……..
Today’s recipe is Rosemary-Tarragon Pork Chops. Yum. A little more sophisticated than a family meal with the stronger-flavored herbs and the wine sauce – but it doesn’t have to be. My son – who is in the Dominican Republic this week with his Spanish classmates and faculty – doesn’t like rosemary so I made my third test recipe today while he is away lol. I am so proud of him – they are working with children there. My mommy heart almost burst when I saw this picture posted yesterday via the Outreach360 organization……especially love how the little boy who is diligently working is resting his hand on my son’s arm almost as though in comfort and appreciation.
Preparations are underway for the pork chops…..each pork chop is first seared in a hot skillet and then transferred to a baking/roasting dish where each sits upon a nice thick slice of sweet onion which become soft and even sweeter. Did I already mention yum?
Rosemary-Tarragon Pork Chops
- 2 boneless pork chops, thick cut, about 1 pound total (1½-inches thick)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil for the skillet plus more for drizzling
- 1 sweet onion – sliced into 2 thick slices (½-inch) and remaining sliced thinly
- 5 rosemary sprigs, plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- onion powder, kosher salt, and coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; sprinkle the chops with onion powder, salt, and pepper and sear on both sides, 2 minutes per side.
- In a baking dish large enough to hold the two chops, drizzle a bit of oil and then place the onion slices in the dish. Drizzle with a little more oil and season the onions with salt and pepper.
- Transfer each chop to the baking dish and place each on an onion slice. Scatter thin onion slices over the top of each chop and add the wine to the skillet over medium-high heat and slightly reduce, a minute or so, scraping up any browned bits. Scatter the rosemary sprigs around the chops and sprinkle with the chopped tarragon. Give each chop a drizzle of olive oil as well.
- Roast in the oven for 20-22 minutes and let rest 5 minutes. Internal temperature after resting should be at least 145°F.
- Plate with fresh rosemary sprigs and spoon the pan juices over the chops and serve.
© 2015 Kitchen Serendipity
This dish was dinner Tuesday night to celebrate Cinco de Mayo but it’s good any evening – no holiday required to enjoy! I adapted this recipe that’s been in my binder of fish and seafood recipes for years by switching out a couple of the original ingredients – namely Ritz crackers and Parmigiano-Reggiano – for Spicy Nacho Doritos and a Mexican blend of finely shredded cheese. If your kids are not big seafood eaters, cheese and Doritos just might be the enticement they need to dig in.
Nacho Cheesiest Bay Scallops
- 4 dozen bay scallops
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons white wine
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
- 2-3 handfuls of nacho-flavored chips (I used Spicy Nacho Doritos)
- 8 tablespoons finely shredded Mexican-blend cheese (½ cup)
- Coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and set a rack in the upper third of the oven. Using four single-serving size gratin dishes, place a tablespoon of butter in each and evenly distribute the minced garlic between the dishes. Place in the oven until the butter melts and remove.
- Add one dozen scallops to each dish, then add the 1 tablespoon wine, 1 tablespoon heavy cream, and ½ teaspoon lime juice to each. Stir and spoon the sauce over the scallops to coat.
- Place the nacho chips in a plastic storage bag and with a rolling pin (or anything else you fancy) crush the chips into crumbs. Scatter the crumbs over each gratin dish and top each with 2 tablespoons cheese (you are welcome to use more).
- Bake scallops until they are opaque and hot, about 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil and cook until the topping is lightly browned.
© 2015 Kitchen Serendipity
This salad is a twist on the famous 1905 Salad at the Columbia Restaurant – a Tampa and Sarasota, FL Spanish-Cuban dining establishment that dates back to 1905 – and there is a little story on how this recipe came to be.
Let’s go back to 1999 – a very important year because that’s the year in which my son was born. But I was also hard at work on recipes back then, fueled and inspired by my frequent weekends spent at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY taking a wide variety of courses. It was during this time that I challenged myself to submit recipes to what was Bon Appétit magazine’s former “Too Busy to Cook?” section that featured recipes by readers of the magazine. Surprising enough, my recipes were accepted and I found myself staring in awe at the April 1999 issue in which they were published.
So yesterday, I decided to resurrect this recipe exactly 16 years later. The only change I made was to increase the amount of garlic and I tossed the lettuce in the bowl with the other ingredients instead of laying leaves on a plate. Not touching anything else – it’s a food blogger’s dream when someone else does the recipe testing for you – in this case the Bon Appétit test kitchen. Pretty cool.
Hearts of Palm Salad with Olives and Ham
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
- 2 14-ounce cans hearts of palm, drained and rinsed
- 6 ounces ham, cut into matchstick-size strips (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup assorted olives
- Torn iceberg lettuce leaves
- Combine the first 4 ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cut hearts of palm on the diagonal into ½-inch-thick slices and place in a large bowl. Add the ham and olives and toss with the dressing. Add the lettuce leaves and toss again to coat liberally.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be a yawn. Haven’t we all been there? Looking for a zap of genius to elevate the lowly and overused boneless, skinless chicken to a new level?
Buy skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts – leave the skin on and remove it from the bone. Have your butcher do it for me if you’d like, but it’s easy to do yourself at home. I just run my fingers between the meat and bone, and then use a small paring knife to keep cutting the breast away from the bone.
The prosciutto, pine nuts (or pignoli nuts if we want to be fancy and Italian), and rosemary give this dish a decidedly Mediterranean flair and I love the texture that the pine nuts and crispy prosciutto provide. I like to serve this over a bed of baby arugula greens and a few slices of fresh mozzarella cheese……and leftovers are delicious.
Chicken with Prosciutto, Rosemary, and Lemon
- 3-ounces sliced prosciutto, coarsely torn
- 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- 3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts; leave skin on and remove the breasts from their bones
- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 lemons, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
- Generous pinch dried oregano
- Several dashes onion powder and garlic powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook 6-7 minutes or until crisp and set aside.
- In an ovenproof skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet, skin side down. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes; turn and cook for two more minutes.
- Take one or two of the lemon wedges and give a good squeeze over the breasts. Scatter the rosemary springs and add the dried seasonings. Roast at 450°F for 10 minutes or until juices run clear.
- Carefully remove the skillet from the oven (handle is hot!!) and transfer the chicken breast and rosemary sprigs to a serving dish. Scatter the prosciutto pieces and pine nuts over the dish and serve with lemon wedges.
© 2015 Kitchen Serendipity
Who can resist a delicious twice-baked potato?
Don’t see any hands raised lol. This dish is when you crave something a little special, when just a regular ‘ole baked potato just won’t do. Perfect with a steak or swordfish, these can also be made ahead and finished in the oven at a later time. And the shallots? YUM. I would of course probably top anything off with crispy shallots if given the opportunity.
Twice-Baked Potatoes with Crispy Shallots
- 3 medium Idaho potatoes (about 2¼-2½ pounds
- ¾ cup light sour cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (if making ahead and baking later)
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- pinch of flour
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Wash and dry the potatoes, poke the skins with a knife tip or fork, and rub each with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and bake the potatoes for 60 minutes.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice each in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Add the sour cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and chives and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper and divide among the six potato skin halves.
- Raise the oven temperature to 450°F. If potatoes were assembled ahead of time and refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes and splash each halve with heavy cream. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the tops start to brown, about 25-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet. Dust the shallot rings with a pinch of flour, toss, and add to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are a deep brown color, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and season with a generous pinch of salt.
- Top the potato halves with the crispy shallots and serve.
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine