Balsamic Caprese Burgers with Artichoke Pesto

1 8.5 oz can artichokes, drained and minced finely
1 8.4 oz jar Delizia Basil Pesto
1 1/2 lb ground chuck 
3 tbsp Basil Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Venice Olive Oil Sea Salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced 
8 thick slices of fresh mozzarella
4 large hamburger buns
lettuce leaves
sliced tomatoes
2 tbsp 18-year-old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar

Add the artichoke and pesto to a small bowl and stir until well blended, set aside.
Add the ground beef, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic to a large bowl and mix together.
Form the meat into 4 patties. Use your thumb to make a gentle indentation in the center of each one.

Prepare your grill to high heat.
Transfer the hamburgers to the hot grill. 
Cover and grill for about 5 minutes, then flip and grill for another 3 minutes.
Top each patty with 2 slices of mozzarella cheese. Continue to grill for about 2 minutes.
Remove the burgers from the grill and loosely tent with foil.
Brush the insides of the hamburger buns with the remaining olive oil and grill, oil side down for a moment or two.
To assemble the burgers, spread the artichoke pesto on both sides of the hamburger bun.
Layer on the hamburger, then lettuce and tomato.
Drizzle the tomato with the balsamic vinegar then top with the bun lid.

Lemon Pesto Grilled Shrimp

~Immerse bamboo skewers in water and let them soak while the shrimp isin the fridge soaking up the delicious pesto.
Double thread the shrimp on the skewer through the head and tail…or use two skewers…one through the heads and one through the tails…this will keep the shrimp from spinning while you try to grill.

2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 cup your favorite pre-made pesto
3 tbsp Lemon Olive Oil
1 lb raw shrimp, tails on

Whisk the juice, zest, pepper, pesto and oil together in a large bowl until well blended.
Add the shrimp and toss until well coated...cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat your grill or broiler.
Thread the shrimp onto bamboo or metal skewers.
Grill or broil the shrimp until they turn pink…about 1 1/2 minutes per side for medium-large shrimp...2 minutes for jumbos.

Recipe from: "Salty Kisses: Love and Deliciousness Inspired by Sun, Sand, Flamingos and Orange Blossoms," by Mango Dragonfly

Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper.
Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until hot …but not setting off the smoke alarm.
Brown lamb shanks in two batches and transfer to a plate.
Lower the heat and add two thirds of your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the Dutch oven and sauté until the onions and carrots are softened.
Add wine and simmer, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced to about 3 cups.
Return shanks to the pan and stir in 4 cups chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp thyme.
Allow the liquid to come to a boil and then reduce heat to just a simmer.
Cover and continue to simmer 1 1/2 hours, occasionally turning the lamb shanks.
Remove the cover and simmer 1 hour more, or until lamb shanks are mouth wateringly succulent and tender.There is a lot to do while the lamb is cooking…

For Gremolata…
Mince about half the remaining garlic
Combine in a small bowl with the parsley and lemon zest.
Set aside.

For the beans…
Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
Sauté the remaining onions, carrots, celery and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add beans, remaining 2 cups chicken broth, and remaining 1 tbsp thyme and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in half the gremolata mixture, cover and leave on the stove while the lamb finishes.
When the lamb is done, transfer shanks to a plate and cover with foil.
Strain braising liquid through a sieve into a saucepan, discard the solids.
Stir in butter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
Sprinkle lamb shanks with the remaining gremolata and serve with beans, sauce, smashed potatoes and a new bottle of Two-Buck Chuck.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

1 large head of garlic
1 tbsp Garlic Olive Oil
2 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes cut into 1” pieces
sea salt
1/2 cup cream
4 tbsp Butter Olive Oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Generously brush a piece of foil with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
Trim both ends from the garlic heads.
Wrap the garlic in the foil and roast in the oven until tender…about 40 minutes.
Squeeze garlic cloves from skins and mash in small bowl.
Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Drain and return to pot.
Add cream, butter olive oil, parmesan cheese, and roasted garlic and mash together.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe from: "Warm Hearth: Comforting Love-filled Recipes for Family, Friends and Cozy Fireplace Afternoons,"  by Mango Dragonfly

Filet Mignon with Dark Chocolate Red Wine Sauce

2 Filet Mignon steaks
1 tsp. Venice Olive Oil Rosemary Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp Robust EVOO
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup Cremini mushrooms, sliced

4 tbsp Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup red wine

​Pre-heat oven to 400F.
Rub steaks with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper…set aside.
Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil to the saucepan, then add the shallots and mushrooms, saute 3-4 minutes.
Add in the balsamic vinegar and red wine, stir constantly until reduced by half, set aside.
Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
Sear steaks for 2 minutes on each side, then transfer the pan to the pre-heated oven.

Turn off the oven and let the steak finish for four minutes.
Remove steak from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Plate with sauce and enjoy!

Grilled Short Ribs with Tangerine Balsamic Glaze

1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 lb boneless short ribs
1 cup orange marmalade
4 tbsp Tangerine Balsamic Vinegar
2 tbsp Blood Orange Olive Oil
2 tbsp orange juice

Mix the paprika, cumin salt and pepper together in a small bowl.
Rub the spice blend into the short ribs.
In a separate bowl, mix the marmalade, vinegar, olive oil and orange juice until well blended.
Grill short ribs over medium heat, 15-20 minutes.
Generously brush both sides with the marmalade mixture during last 10 minutes of grilling, turning frequently.

​Recipe from "Garden Table: A Celebration of Bare Feet, Fresh Picked Tomatoes and Not Waiting Until Sunday Night to Grill"

Spiced Pineapple Glazed Ham

1 3 1/2 lb ham, smoked
1/2 pineapple, cleaned and cut in thin slices, halved
4 tbsp Honey Ginger Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Cayenne Olive Oil
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Line a large baking dish with parchment paper.
Cutting only halfway through…slice the ham into 1/2" thick slices.
Tuck the pineapple slices in between the ham slices.
Mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cloves, mustard and honey together in a small bowl.
Brush a small amount over the ham.
Bake the ham 1 1/2 hours.
Generously brush the remaining glaze over the ham, making sure it gets in between the cuts.
Continue baking for 1/2 hour more.
Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

​​​​​​​​eats and Mains

Braised Lamb Shanks with Cannellini Beans, Gremolata and Roasted Garlic Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

4 lamb shanks
6 tbsp Milanese Gremolata Olive Oil
2 onions, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
12 garlic cloves, chopped
3 1/2 cups red wine…heartier the better, if you are near a Trader Joes…Two Buck Chuck is perfect!
6 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp 18-year-old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar
3 tbsp thyme
3 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 cups cooked white cannellini beans
4 tbsp butter

Braised Pomegranate Rosemary Brisket with 36 Cloves of Garlic

3 tbsp Rosemary Olive Oil
1 5 lb beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
36 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
4 tbsp Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
3 cups beef broth
3 tbsp rosemary
1/2 tsp Venice Olive Oil Rosemary Sea Salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan.
Add the brisket and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside.
Add the onions and garlic cloves to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to soften.
Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add the broth and rosemary sprigs… reduce the heat to a simmer…and cook 5 more minutes.
Salt and pepper the brisket on all sides, and add it to the roasting pan, fat side up.
Spoon the garlic and onions over and around the meat.

Place the brisket in the oven, cover and cook, until the meat is fork tender, 2 1/2 – 3 hours, basting every half-hour.

Allow the meat to rest in the pan sauce for at least an hour.
Prior to serving…transfer the brisket to a platter and strain the pan juices…reserve the garlic and rosemary sprigs.
Skim and discard as much fat as possible from the liquid.
Puree the roasted garlic with 1 cup of the pan juices in a food processor or a blender.
Transfer the pureed garlic mixture and the remaining braising liquid to a large sauté pan.
Simmer over medium heat until the gravy reduces to the desired consistency.
Slice the brisket thinly across the grain add to the gravy and rewarm until heated through.
Transfer back to the serving platter…top with extra gravy.

Chicken Shawarma with Mushroom and
Sweet Pepper Kebabs

1 cup Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp Venice Olive Oil Sriracha Sea Salt
2 lbs chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1 lb cremini mushrooms
3 red bell peppers, cut in large chunks
2 lemons, cut in small wedges
2 bunches green onions
cucumber slices

Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin and sea salt together in a medium bowl until well blended.
Set 1/4 cup of marinade aside for grilling later.
Place a chicken thigh between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound out to 1/8" thickness.
Layer the chicken in a glass dish, pouring over the marinade as you go.
Refrigerate and marinate for one to twelve hours.
Prepare your grill to medium-high heat.
Thread the mushrooms, peppers and lemons onto skewers.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.
Stack the chicken evenly on a cutting board then cut the stack evenly in thirds.
Insert skewers into the chicken an inch apart forming a triangle. Use your fingers to slide the chicken up the skewers, tucking loose ends into the center as you go.
Sear the shawarma over direct heat, rolling the roast frequently until sizzling and charred evenly.
Move the shawarma to indirect heat to finish cooking while grilling the vegetables.
While grilling, brush the vegetables generously with the reserved marinade.
When the chicken reaches 155 degrees, remove from the grill and tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. *The temperature will continue to rise to 165 degrees while the chicken rests.
To carve, hold the chicken upright on a cutting board and slice downward from the top, rotating as you go.
Serve the sliced chicken with grilled vegetables, pita bread, sliced cucumbers, tzatziki and hummus!

Grilled Grouper with Pineapple

Coconut Salsa

~Persian Lime and I will have that Harry Nilsson song stuck in my head again! If grouper is not available this will be equally delicious made with sea bass or shrimp and scallops.

2 cups pineapple, diced1 tsp lime zest
1 jalapeno chili, seeded and minced
1 cup jicama, peeled and diced
1/4 cup flaked coconut  
4 tbsp Coconut Balsamic Vinegar
4 tbsp Persian Lime Olive Oil
sea salt
black pepper
4 6 oz grouper fillets

Combine the pineapple, lime zest, jalapeno, jicama, coconut,

balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil together in a medium

bowl until well mixed…set aside.
Prepare the grill to medium heat.
Brush the fish with the remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange the fish in a grill basket and grill 4-5 minutes on each side.
Remove the fish from the grill and top with a generous dollop of pineapple salsa.

Recipe from: "Salty Kisses: Love and Deliciousness Inspired by Sun, Sand, Flamingos and Orange Blossoms," by Mango Dragonfly