Monday, December 17, 2012

Dry Rubbed, Grilled Pork Chops

If you're in a time crunch this time of year, this recipe can really cut down on preparation work and still delight whoever is dining with you. The best part about these dry-rubbed pork chops is the simplicity and the fact that you can throw it together ahead of time during a busy day. 

You want to get thick, bone-in pork chops that will be able to withstand cooking on the grill. Mix the following ingredients together and then rub them onto each of the chops, covering all of the exposed meat thoroughly; 4 tsps Himalayan salt, 4 tsps chili powder, 2 scoops ground dry coffee, a touch of ground peppercorns, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp of coriander (cilantro can be used as a substitute), 1/2 tsp garlic powder (I used some jarred minced garlic in place and it worked well), 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp onion powder and 1 tbsp brown sugar. Place the rubbed chops into the fridge and store for up to two hours before grilling.

You want to grill the chops for about nine minutes per side over a medium heat on the outdoor grill. Times may vary depending on thickness, so be sure to check that the meat is white and juices run clear. You could make this in the broiler, but beware, it will lose something in translation.

Served with broccoli and some oven roasted sweet potatoes.

- Melissa

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Spicy London Broil Marinade...mmmmmm

So this is a real simple recipe that can not only feed a handful of people but will really taste like you cared enough to DO something new and not just dump in the old McCormick packet of seasoning we all know so well. Plus, in case the word spicy up top didn't tip you off, this is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of smoky spice.

For starters, I used a cut of beef that is often referred to as a London Broil - but you can also use a thick cut of flank steak or a top round cut. After rinsing the meat and patting it dry, slice shallow cuts into the top and bottom so that the marinade can seep in, and then set it aside with a healthy sprinkle of sea salt and ground peppercorns.

Now for the marinade, you want to mix 2 tbsp of olive oil, at least 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, at least 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, 3 tbsp Sriracha hot chili sauce, 2 minced cloves of garlic, at least 2 tbsp of a spicy brown mustard (I used kosciusko brand - not Gulden's, people!) and a few pinches of dried thyme. Whisk all of the ingredients together and then set your meat into the liquid and spoon it over the exposed portion of the roast. Finally, sprinkle the top of the meat with some chili powder (I use ancho).

Place the covered dish into the refrigerator for at least four hours (more is always better!) and try to flip the meat at least once halfway through the marinating process.

To cook, we did 9 minutes per side of the meat at high heat on the grill, and it was the perfect degree of medium-rare. However, if you'd like a little less pink, add a few minutes on the grill.

Served with roasted fingerling potatoes and sautéed arugula, topped with grated semi-hard, Italian cow's milk cheese.

- Melissa

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simmered Cannellini Beans with Rice, Vegetables

We all know side dishes get monotonous so sometimes you have to think outside the box - or at least, read this blog and let me do it for you. A few months ago I had a side at a restaurant that stuck in my head because it was not only tasty, but different. It involved cannelloni beans (a.k.a. great northern beans) and some carrots, but beyond that I can't tell you what specifically was in it. Nevertheless, I decided to create something similar here at home and this is what I wound up with!

 First things first, you need to get the rice started. I recommend short grain brown rice. Put two cups of chicken broth in a large saucepan and bring it to boil, then add in a cup of rice and and let it cook for about 15-20 minutes while continuing to check on it. When the liquid gets low, add a little water and then stir, stir, stir for another 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, flat stainless steel pan, heat olive oil and then toss in two cloves of minced garlic. Dice 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of celery and 1/4 cup onion. Add these to the pan once the garlic has started to brown and then cook over medium heat for another 5-10 minutes before adding in a can of drained cannelloni/great northern beans. Continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes but reduce the heat and add a pinch of salt, a little freshly ground {white} peppercorns and some chopped parsley.

Finally, you want to take the softened rice and stir it into the skillet with everything else. Continue to simmer for about five more minutes over low heat, stirring to ensure that the flavors blend.

Served as a refreshingly crisp yet tame side with spicy dry-rubbed buffalo chicken breasts.

- Melissa

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Macadamia encrusted Mahi-Mahi and Rosemary White Truffle Potatoes

While I always love to cook, sometimes I am just in the mood to really 'bring it' in the kitchen arena and remind my husband just how good he has it, haha. So last weekend I made macadamia encrusted mahi-mahi, rosemary and white truffle roasted potatoes and a salad that was mind-blowing on its own. Here's how you can replicate this evening...

For starters, you'll need to get the potatoes started as they take the longest. I chose small/medium red potatoes and I cut them into four pieces per potato, so fairly sizable chunks - skin on, of course. I tossed them in a large metal bowl with a mixture of olive oil, pink himalayan sea salt, white ground peppercorns, some sprigs of freshly cut rosemary and white truffle oil. You can find white truffle oil at any high-end grocery/gourmet is pricey, but I recommend buying a small bottle and rationing it out - so worthwhile for the richness alone. Anyway, once the potatoes are coated with the mixture, move them to a baking sheet and bake them at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Now take the fish steaks (ours were frozen and purchased at Trader Joe's - I recommend fresh obviously, but do what you can!) and after rinsing them, lightly salt and pepper both sides. In order to coat the fish, you need to first dip it in coconut milk. However, if you don't have coconut milk, you can make a substitution with regular milk whisked with powdered ginger - its a close second, taste-wise. Once they are coated with milk, roll the fish through the breading mixture (1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 2 tbsp wheat flour and 1-1 1/4 cups of freshly ground macadamia nuts, coarsely ground) and then place them on a baking sheet that is lined with foil. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is browned and crunchy.

As for the potatoes (which were cooking at a lower temp), you can leave them in while the fish cooks, but keep an eye on them to ensure they don't get TOO crispy, aka burnt. If they're getting done, just pull them out.

Served with a mixed green salad topped with crispy prosciutto and a homemade white balsamic vinaigrette and paired with a cucumber sake-tini. On a night like this, life was just GOOD.

- Melissa

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Citrus-soy glazed Drumsticks

I am not a drumstick fan...unless it comes attached to a large turkey, that is - but sometimes they just seem like a bargain when I'm grocery shopping and so some of them come home with me even if I have no idea what will become of them. So this time, I tried a citrus soy glaze that really gave the skin and meat some real flavor and, as a result, I'm recommending it to you all.

For starters, combine 1/2 cup dry, plain sake (if need be, substitute rice wine vinegar), 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 cup orange juice, some freshly squeezed lemon juice (1/2-1 lemon), a pinch of brown (I use Splenda) sugar and 2 tsps freshly ground or grated ginger in a large bowl and whisk together. Place the drumsticks into the marinade and toss them a few times until coated. Save the remaining marinade and place the drumsticks in a stainless steel pan over medium heat. Let them cook on each side for a few minutes until the skin starts to brown, about six minutes total. PS - Add salt and pepper to taste while they are browning.

Next, add the remaining marinade from the bowl, reduce the heat slightly and let the chicken simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Continue to cook and rotate the drumsticks until the liquid has evaporated by 50 percent, then drain the liquid and sear the chicken for an additional few minutes until the skin is even darker. Be sure to cut a drumstick open to check the temp on the meat before serving - drumsticks can be tricky!

Served with mixed asian vegetables (frozen, oh, the horror!) and sliced sweet potatoes that were baked (for 45 minutes at 375 degrees) with cinnamon, chili powder and all spice in the oven.

- Melissa

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spicy Cashew Chicken (Pinterest Recipe)

It has been quite some time since I have posted here so I would like to formally apologize to my co-blogger(s) and to our followers.  Four months ago we added a little angel to our family and creativity, in the kitchen, has been put on the back burner for a while. 

That being said, quick and easy meals have become the newest installment in our culinary handbook.  My wife has recently become engrossed with Pinterest and has been selecting meals from other "Pinners" that look easy and sound tasty.  I slightly modified this recipe tonight and man was it delicious!  Here is what you will need:

2 Chicken Breasts Cubed
1 Tbsp. Cooking Sherry
2 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (We use low sodium)
3 Tbsp. Oil
1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
3 Green Onions, Sliced Diagonally
2 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1/2 C. Unsalted Cashews

For the Finishing Sauce:
4 Tbsp. Soy Sauce (We use low sodium)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
4 Tsp. Sugar
2 Tsp. White Vinegar

Combine 1 Tbsp. low sodium soy sauce and 1 Tbsp. of cooking sherry in a bowl with the cubed chicken and allow to marinade.

In a small bowl, whisk together 4 Tbsp. of low sodium soy sauce, 1 1/2 Tbsp. of cornstarch, 4 Tsp. of sugar, and 2 Tsp. of white vinegar.  (MY advice is to add the cornstarch last or you will have a hardened clump to deal with.)

Drain the marinaded chicken and heat 3 Tbsp. of oil in a wok on high heat.  Add the red pepper flakes to infuse the oil (This will add to the heat but in a good way!).  When you start to see bubbles on the red pepper flakes, add all of the chicken.  Allow the chicken to sit for a minute before turning to get a golden brown color to it.  Turn the chicken, and add the garlic.  Cook the chicken until done and add the cashews.  Remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the finishing sauce, continually stirring.  The sauce will thicken almost immediately but keep stirring until the chicken is well coated.  It will have a "candied" look when it is complete.  Sprinkle with green onion and serve with some jasmine rice, enjoy!

- Chris

You can find the original recipe by following this link:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Greek Shrimp Tapas Dish

So I was watching Bobby Flay (if you've seen my husband, you might understand my 'type' and why I am drawn to Flay...ha!) and he was doing a version of this dish and I couldn't grab a pen and paper quick enough to jot some notes. So while I made a few changes, I stayed pretty close and thus, credit to the Irish guy from NY for sure.

First things first, take some grape or cherry tomatoes and place them on skewers to go on the grill. (Remember to soak the skewers in water if they're wooden for at least 30 minutes before loading them with anything and putting them on the grill!) So put the tomatoes on the grill for about 2 minutes each side or until the outside is charred and the insides are warm and bubbly.

Next, take a large saucepan and get it HOT. Once it is is ready, reduce the heat to medium and add olive oil, one diced shallot, a little white wine and one diced head of garlic. After that softens a little,  remove the tomatoes from the skewers and place them in. Using a wooden spoon, you want to sort of smush the tomatoes down so that they break up a little and start to really cook.

Meanwhile, you want to take the clean and deveined shrimp (I used medium sized, frozen ones because I live in a fish-less state) and load them onto some skewers. I removed the tails as well at this point since I think its easier than doing so when they are hot off the grate. You want to cook the shrimp skewers for a few minutes each side until they start to pink. Don't cook them all the way on the grill.

Now, as the tomatoes stew away, you want to add in some key ingredients - none of which I measured admittedly, so I urge you to use good judgement and follow my eyeballing advice! Start with some paprika (a few shakes), some crushed red pepper (be wary, the spice is not meant to take over), some ground cinnamon (be generous), oregano (generous again) and some mint (if it is fresh, use less - if it is jarred, more).

When your shrimp are done, pull them from the skewers and toss them in too and reduce the heat to low. Then you want to take a lemon and zest the entire outside and then squeeze all the juice into your mixture. Keep stirring this for a few minutes and feel free to taste and add any spices you feel might not be represented. Ideally, you want to taste almost everything that went into this - which sounds crazy, but its deliciously true.

Lastly, you top the entire dish with a healthy dose of feta. To serve with the tapas, I took some whole wheat flatbread and sliced it into triangles, drizzled it with olive oil and then sprinkled it with pink Himalayan sea salt and toasted it on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees in the oven for about 7 minutes.

The meal was completed by a light mixed green salad and a lovely bottle of red wine (Meditrina by Sokol Blosser). Opa!

- Melissa

Monday, August 20, 2012

Twice-cooked Rosemary Garlic Potatoes

This is a dish that can really compliment any meat, from poultry to steaks, but I think I like it best when served with pork tenderloin...though I didn't see anyone complaining when I served it last year at Thanksgiving with Gabe the turkey. Just saying.

To start, you need to boil the potatoes (as if you were making potato salad) with the skins on. I tend to use red, but in the photo below I used a new and red mixture and it was still good. Meanwhile, while your water is coming to a boil, you want to take an entire head of garlic (two if you're serving a larger group) and divide it into cloves, then place it in a ramekin, pour olive oil generously and coat as generously - if not more so - with sea salt. Roast the garlic for about 10 minutes at 325 degrees, being careful to stir the cloves around and making sure the garlic NEVER burns. Once done, remove it from the oven and set it aside.

And back to the potatoes! Once they are fork-tender and the skin is just starting to flake off, remove them from heat and drain into a colander. After they have cooled a little, you want to mash/smash the potatoes until they are in chunks. This means doing it by hand with an actual potato masher or a fork if you're really tough - a mixer does not enter into this equation at all! Once you have them smashed up, mix them in a large bowl along with a little olive oil, some fresh rosemary sprigs broken up (I tend to use quite a lot), those pre-roasted garlic cloves and a spoonful or two of sour cream. Once the ingredient are all fairly blended, spoon into a pyrex dish or any oven safe cookware (sans lid). Then you want to bake them uncovered at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. I will stir them around at least once, but not more than that since I want the top to get crusty. The time can vary a little, depending upon whether you've had the stove on already, etc. So 40 minutes is the minimum whereas if I am starting with a  cold oven, its taken me closer to an hour.

They're just THAT good.
Again, serve them with what you like - they are a side dish that can go the distance!

- Melissa

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jalapeño Beer Brine for Pork Chops

So for starters, my apologies, I have no photos. The camera battery was dead and the pork was too good so we ate it well before the battery issue could be resolved. Sorry! But I digress, I used 2-inch thick, bone-in pork chops with this marinade/brine mixture and they were beyond moist and tasty.

First clean the pork and lightly season the chops with salt and pepper before setting them aside. Then, in a large covered dish pour in 1 bottle of Mexican beer (I used Corona, but Dos Equis would also work well), some lime juice, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, a little olive oil, 4 or 5 cloves of minced garlic, 1-2 tbsps of brown sugar splenda (your choice how sweet you want this vs. how spicy), and then 2-3 seeded and diced jalapeños (see previous parenthetical). Mix it altogether and then toss the chops in.

And that's it!

Then I let them soak for about four hours in a covered dish in the fridge before throwing them on the grill. I cooked them over a medium flame for about eight minutes a side, giving them a nice char. Served with peas and wild rice.

- Melissa

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BALT...but T stands for Tuna

Hello! First off, allow me to apologize for the lapse in blog entries. Personally, I moved 1800 miles to a new home (thus making the name of our blog untrue - need to recalculate some milage) and my co-bloggers welcomed a daughter, so we've all been a little distracted to say the least. Rest assured, we've been eating well, but cooking 'new' dishes hasn't been on the agenda. But I finally have a couple newbies coming this week, so stay tuned!

This one isn't so much a recipe as a great suggestion or idea for fish lovers and those lucky enough to reside by the water...oh, how I miss my old home. But I digress. As the entry title states, this is a simple BALT, but rather than using tomato, we used ahi tuna for the 'T'. What's that? You don't know what the 'A' stands for? Why avocado of course!

You'll need to slightly sear your tuna steaks first. I recommend a high heat pan, some grape seed oil (to really get the sides seared well) a little soy sauce. Cook the tuna steaks a few minutes per side and and then slice them into thick chunks.

For a condiment, try mixing some mayonnaise with chili powder and wasabi paste until it is smooth.

Finally, crisp your bacon (we used turkey to keep it healthy, but real bacon is equally delicious obviously), slice your avocado and toss some lettuce on the toasted bread, layered with the chili mayo.

- Melissa

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wilted Arugula Salad with the WORKS

So...want to make a salad that is both green but gluttonous? I have the answer. This wilted arugula salad (which I half stole from a restaurant where I ordered it and then doctored a bit on my own) will leave guests asking for seconds and thirds.

For starters, you need to make your own dijon vinaigrette, which is really easy. One part olive oil, one part lemon juice, one part stone ground dijon (Grey Poupon totally works) and one part white balsamic vinegar. Then add a pinch of splenda/sugar, whisk vigorously and taste. Too tart, more splenda, too sweet, more mustard. You can make this ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge, but whisk it again before serving.

Next, you want to take the arugula and cook it for a few minutes in a little olive oil and white wine over a medium heat in a large, sauté pan. Once it is wilted, remove it from the heat and put the arugula aside. Then using the same pan, lightly toast pumpkin seeds, golden raisins, chopped shallots and sliced prosciutto. (The restaurant version used bacon, so believe me, that works too!)

It just screams to be devoured!
Once its all warm, top the arugula with the goodness from the pan and then pour the vinaigrette over the salad and lightly mix it all together. Remember, just enough dressing to get it damp - the goal is not to soak the salad and make a pool in the dish. Lastly, I cracked some white peppercorns on top.

Plated perfection.
You might notice that I also added in some mixed greens (radicchio, spinach, etc.) for a little more greenery since I'd underestimated the arugula count! Luckily, it all works well together, but in the future I'll stick to just the one leaf. 

- Melissa

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pan-seared Scallops with Spinach, Lemon Fettucine

Scallops are awesome...but only if they are high quality sea scallops and are cooked perfectly. If not, they came be like tiny, sandy hockey pucks - and no one wants that. So before we begin, you need to get large sea scallops (half dollar size at least) from the fish market or the fish counter at the grocery store. Not frozen, not the tiny bag full of 45 scallops - those won't work, trust me.

So first lesson first....heat your pan properly!! I'm talking a silver frying sauté pan, turned to high heat and let it heat for at least 5 minutes. You don't want it to smoke, but you want it close. While that is happening, you need to make sure that the scallops are drained...they should have some moisture in them, but not be soaked; next, lightly season them with salt and pepper. Next coat the pan with a little grape seed oil (highest heat ability) and then place the scallops in - they should sizzle from the moment they touch metal. If they don't, the pan is not hot enough so remove them and continue heating.

Let the scallops cook about 3 minutes per side and then peek at the side touching the pan. It should be forming a nice, brown crust (as illustrated below). If it is not, let it sit for another minute and then flip them and do the same to the other side. Resist the urge to move the scallops around in the pan though other than the mandatory flip! To get the crust, you need to let them sit still. Finally, squeeze some lemon juice over the scallops right before you remove them from the pan.

Served with fresh lemon-basil fettuccine, sautéed spinach, roasted garlic cloves, lemon zest and some shaved parmesan.

- Melissa

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Simple Summer Salad

Thank god the weather has finally let's celebrate with a fairly simple salad sure to leave your guests (or just you) with the taste of summer in your mouth.

For starters, I made a champagne vinaigrette that could be used on any salad, any time...its just that good. Take 1 part dijon mustard, 1 part white balsamic vinegar, some splenda (or sugar, your choice) and 2 parts dry champagne. Yes, the real deal here - alcohol - think a Korbel Brut. Whisk it all together and then sample...too tart? Add splenda/sugar. Too sweet? Add more champagne - woohoo :)

Then I sliced fresh strawberries and bosc pears and tossed them in with a little white balsamic vinegar and cooked them over a low heat in a wide saucepan for about five to seven minutes. Once they were softened, I placed them atop some mixed greens and then drizzled the vinaigrette all over. A few sprinkles of white peppercorns and you're set.

Ta-da! Simple, effectively delicious and a crowd pleaser!

- Melissa

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mahimahi with Orange Ginger relish

Sorry for the lapse in posting. Sometimes life gets in the way and sometimes I make things I already posted about...because they were so damn good the first time!

Anyway, this dish is really all about the relish that I concocted and less about what you serve it with, so though I strongly endorse the mahimahi selection, another white fish - say tilapia or cod - would also work. As far as the fish is concerned, you want to sprinkle it with salt and pepper and then grill it - no further prepping needed! Grilling should be about 5-7 minutes per side...but if it is starting to flake, it may be done quicker.

First, in a saucepan you want to mix 1 part sesame oil and 1 part grape seed oil (all together 1/4 cup; heat that over a medium flame/burner. Next toss in 1/3 cup of minced ginger - fresh is best - and if you like more ginger, go for it, its good for you! Let that soften a little and then stir in 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of red chili powder and the juice from a large orange. (Note - keep the de-juiced orange itself for later.) Continue stirring this all together over a slightly lower heat and then after about five minutes, add a pinch of cilantro, 2 tsps of spicy Chinese mustard and a few splashes of soy sauce. Now, if you want the relish to be thicker, you can add some more mustard (I did) and continue to cook and stir over the low heat for another 5 minutes.

Once relish looks chunky and the the liquid has reduced a little, you are good to go. Zest the orange over the fish and then spoon the relish on top.

Served with steamed edamame, brown jasmine rice and a chilled Pinot Gris.

- Melissa

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ohhhhhhh Caramelized Fennel & Pappardelle

You have no idea. I mean, how could you? How could you know that the most delicious thing ever is caramelized fennel? I didn't know until I saw it mentioned on some Food Network show and even then I was doubtful. Yet I planned a meal with it anyway and was rewarded with AWESOMENESS. Here's how you can get in on this...

For starters, get some fennel bulbs - two should be enough. You want ones that are firm and not brown; remember, you can store fennel bulbs for maybe two days in the fridge crisper, but not any longer. Anyway, you want to cut off the rough parts - meaning all of the greens - and then slice the white bulb into 1/8 inch thick pieces. You then boil the pieces in lightly salted water for about 5-7 minutes.

Next remove them from the water, pat them dry and place them into a shallow roasting pan with salt, pepper, LOTS of olive oil (I used a Spanish cold-pressed extra virgin), some Italian breadcrumbs and grated hard cheese - Romano, Parmesan Reggiano or what I went with - Grana Padano - will work. Then you bake the fennel at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. It will get browned, a little crispy and even slightly gooey (see photo).

For the pasta, I made a light sauce with some butter (maybe two tablespoons), the olive oil from the roasting pan and then placed the fennel over the pasta.

Served with fresh toasted onion pappardelle (found at the farmers' market but if you're not so lucky, try a fettuccine) and grated Romano cheese. Torn basil on top is optional.

- Melissa

PS - I am also considering other ways to incorporate the caramelized fennel into meals...perhaps a bruschetta appetizer or paired with oven roasted, bone-in chicken breasts. We'll see!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wine Braised Pot Roast for T

Now I am not a traditional, 1950s dinner kind of girl; this means that I don't usually make pot roasts, meatloaf or anything that sounds remotely like tuna casserole (I cringe at the words!). However, the husband loves pot roast and sometimes, just sometimes, you have to grant menu requests and make it despite your own feelings. So I found a decent recipe, adjusted it to my liking and made it a little healthier and took on the challenge of homemakers everywhere - the classic (sort of) pot roast for Sunday dinner.

First things first, wash the roast and then lightly coat it with some salt, pepper and a little pre-mixed steak seasoning (literally don't overdo it on the steak seasoning...a few sprinkles is enough). Then you want to sear the roast in the Dutch Oven pan on the stove with some grape seed oil (I don't condone vegetable oil), over medium heat, about 2 minutes on each side until it browns a little. Then set the meat aside and add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped celery to the oil and juices in the pan. Reduce the heat and let that soften. Then add in 4 minced cloves of garlic and 1/2 cup of sliced carrots. After another two minutes, stir in 1 cup of chicken broth, 3 spoonfuls of tomato paste and some hefty pours of DRY red wine (I used a Petite Syrah that's fit for drinking, not just cooking), close to 2 cups.

Meanwhile I cooked five slices of turkey bacon (again, I went healthier), patted it dry and crumbled it up for the sauce. I did NOT use the bacon grease...but that's your call, you can add it to the sauce. Put the bacon into the pan, along with the roast, two bay leaves and some fresh rosemary - say a tsp. Now heat the oven to 320 degrees, cover the roast and let it cook for 90 minutes. Then you need to flip the roast in the sauce and then cook it for another 45 minutes. Though you can take the roast's temp, a roast soaking in liquid will ALWAYS be more done than rare, so you want to make sure the roast is 'fork tender' meaning the from can be easily inserted and removed. This temp & length of time should yield that.

Served with roasted gold potatoes (made first in the oven in pyrex for 60 minutes and then crisped up in the cast iron skillet atop the stove). 

PS - I actually liked it, so we might even have it time he asks, that is. 

- Melissa 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

"Buffalo" Blue Cheese Burgers with Grilled Sweet Potato and Sea Salt Fries

     I will start off by explaining the quotes.  The Buffalo in this burger does not describe the meat, it describes the sauce I used to flavor it.  This recipe produces a slightly spicy and tangy burger that you will love!  The sweet potato fries are balanced with the application of sea salt and the charring they receive from the grill really adds another level of flavor to them.  Here is what you will need to make the burgers.

1 Lb. of Grass Fed Ground Chuck (Springfield Butcher!)
3 Tbsp. of Buffalo Sauce
1/4 - 1/2 C of Crumbled Blue Cheese
1/2 C of Plain Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp. of Onion Powder

     In a bowl, mix all of the above ingredients.  You need the breadcrumbs to take up some of the moisture you introduced by mixing the meat with the buffalo sauce.  This will allow you to make patties that stay together on the grill and cook evenly.  Without them, your patties will crumble on the grill.  Cook them on the grill at 400 - 425 degrees for about 3-5 minutes on each side.  Be sure that you only flip them once and under no circumstances do you ever press them!  You want all of that flavor to stay in the burger!

     To "dress" my burger, I made a buffalo ketchup to go on the burger.  This sauce really brought out the buffalo flavor and added a delicious tang to the flavor profile.  To make the sauce, simply use a 3:1 ratio of ketchup to buffalo sauce.  Simple, yet delicious!

     The fries are not your typical french fry.  They get a nice crisp to the outside layer but retain their softness on the inside.  Do not think deep fried when you are making these instead, bask in the glory of sweet and salty flavors adorned with just a touch of "char" to really bring the flavors together!  Here is what you will need.

2 Medium - Large Sweet Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt

     Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into 1/4" thick pieces then boil them until they are just about fork tender.  (Important note.  The pieces need to be large enough so you can easily manage them on the grill.)  If you boil them until fork tender, they will fall apart and you will not be able to grill them.  (Think as if you were making pasta and cooking it al dente.)  When they are done, drain the water from the potatoes and place them on a cookie sheet.  Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle them with sea salt as you see fit.  Flip them over and repeat the process.  When you are done adding the olive oil and sea salt you can move to the grill and finish cooking them.  Grill them at 400 - 425 degrees for about 5-10 minutes or until you are comfortable with their grill marks. 

     When you are done cooking, this is what you will have.

     I cannot explain to you how well the buffalo flavor goes with the blue cheese.  The buffalo ketchup really elevates the flavors to another level!  The sweet potato and sea salt combination is a sweet and salty lovers paradise!  I know you will love this and I will be bringing more burger recipes to the blog as the weather gets better!  Enjoy!

- Chris 


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Veal Saltimbocca

Veal is easily one of our favorite things to eat, but, living where we do in the PNW, veal is limited to occasional restaurants that are authentically Italian enough to serve it. Which means, not many at all. So imagine my delight when I came across some reasonably priced veal scallopini cutlets at the store - I tell you, tears were a part of it. So I decided to make my favorite of all veal dishes - the saltimbocca.

The first key to correctly preparing veal scallopini is to pound it out...yup, I'm talking about using a meat tenderizer and layering wax paper both under and atop the cuts of veal and then pounding the hell out of it. This not only reduces and toughness but thins the meat out, so beware of overcooking it. Next you want to take the pounded veal and dredge it in egg (two whisked in a bowl is good) and then through flour. I use a mixture of whole wheat flour and a little almond meal, but regular flour is obviously fine. Then you want to lightly salt and pepper the veal and get ready to build the dream.

The dream (which is not nearly as complicated as the movie Inception, so relax) involves taking two slices of the veal (or if there's a large piece, just folding it in half) and layering fresh sage leaves with slices of prosciutto inside. Typically each piece of veal gets a few sage leaves and at least one slice of veal...but I am not hear to restrict your gluttony. To fasten the 'packet' of veal together, you want to secure the open ends with a toothpick. 

I cooked the veal in a very hot, deep sauce pan with enough olive oil and butter to coat the bottom. You want to make sure the veal is touching the pan and that none of the pieces are piled up. Each side of the veal should cook for about 2-3 minutes (it will get slightly browned, as shown in the photo above) and that's it! Anymore and you will kill the dream. The last step varies with every chef, but's here how I do it: when the veal is almost done (remember, this is a quick process, so have everything nearby at the ready before you start!!!!) I add some dry white wine (think less than a 1/4 cup, so really a few healthy splashes) to the pan and turn the heat down. You want the meat to get a taste of the wine, but not to be drunk. Let that simmer for just a minute and serve with lemon wedges. 

I paired the veal with a straight risotto (see:, haricot verts sautéed with lemon/garlic/pink himalayan salt, and a heady Merlot we picked up in northern California. 

- Melissa 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Finally a TRUE Mexican Restaurant, Tacos El Costalilla in Alexandria, VA

     If you are like me, you enjoy well prepared, authentic Mexican cuisine.  The problem with living in the Alexandria area is that you are surrounded by "authentic" Mexican restaurants that are run by El Salvadorians.  Now please do not read too far into that statement,  I am a huge fan of El Salvadorian food but it is not Mexican.  Plainly stated, if you go to a Mexican restaurant, you want to eat Mexican food. 

     Having said that, if you are following this blog, I am about to reveal a hidden gem of epic Mexican flavors!  The restaurant I am talking about is called Tacos El Costalilla and it is located at 7862 Richmond Highway in Alexandria, VA.  (If you do not have a basic understanding of Spanish, you will have a hard time ordering here.)  This restaurant primarily serves tacos but they have some amazing alternative dishes.  When I say tacos I am talking about a flavor palate that stretches from the usual beef and chicken to beef tongue and tripe!  The possibilities are endless and if you are willing to put your apprehensions aside, you will not be disappointed!  

     My wife ordered a beef taco and a shrimp ceviche tostada (They also offer fish ceviche).  She said the shrimp ceviche was equivalent to the exceptional ceviche she experienced on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico.   What's amazing about the tacos is when you order them, all you get is the freshly made corn tortillas and the meat accompanying it.  On the side, they offer a small toppings bar to dress your tacos with.  The bar has: cilantro, radishes, diced onion, lettuce, lime wedges, a mild cilantro salsa, and a spicy chili salsa. 

     My true test of a Mexican restaurant is the tamale.  The tamale is nothing short of an art form and something that is passed down from generation to generation.  This restaurant does not disappoint!  I decided to order a chicken tamale and a beef tamale.  The only thing that I can say to give justice to how exquisite and delicious the tamales were is to explain to you that the last time I had one so well prepared I was in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.  At the end of my meal I decided to try a leche empanada and all I can say is wow!  The above should be enough to convince you to try this magnificent restaurant. 

- Chris

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mint and Feta Cheese Lamb Burgers with Home Made Tzatziki Sauce

This was something that we planned for a few days and when it came together...WOW!  If you are a fan of Gyros then you will LOVE this recipe!

Here is what you will need to make the Lamb Burgers:

3/4 - 1 Lb. of Ground Lamb (Again, we got ours from Springfield Butcher because it's the best!)
1/4 C Fresh, Copped Mint
1/2 C Feta Cheese
1/8 Tsp. Salt
1/8 Tsp. Pepper

Here is what you will need to make the tzatzikt sauce (Slightly modified from Michael Symon's "Live to Cook:  Recipes and Techniques to rock Your Kitchen.")

1 cucumber
1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 C Plain Yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Mint
1 Garlic Clove, Minced

Pre-heat your grill to about 425 degrees.  Mix all of the burger ingredients and make your patties.  Place the patties in the refrigerator and keep them cool as you make the tzatziki sauce.

Dice the cucumber, sprinkle it with the kosher salt and let it drain in a colander for about two hours.  When time is up, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl and keep cool.

Cook the burgers at 425 degrees for about 4 minutes on each side for a medium burger.  (Toast the buns on the grill as you cook the burger.) Pull the burgers off, let them rest for 2-4 minutes, and top with the tzatziki sauce.  When it is all said and done, they will look like this.

We ate it with a baby spinach, feta cheese, dried cherry, almond, and vinaigrette dressing.  Enjoy!

- Chris

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Asiago, Spinach & Bacon Quiche

Oh, quiche. The egg dish that is often relegated to 'special' brunches can really be so much my house, it is a viable dinner alternative every once in awhile and with the amount of ingredients you can chuck in? Why deny yourself of quirky quiche? 

The favorite one in our house uses asiago cheese, sautéed spinach and bacon (albeit turkey bacon most of the time). But forget the ingredients - the true key to quiche is keeping it moist yet not runny and, of course, flavorful.

For starters, I don't bake so the crust I use comes from the pillsbury box - I know, I know, how unlike me! - and just needs to be rolled flat at room temperature and then gently laid into a round (pie) pyrex dish that's been lightly greased. Do your best not to tear the dough and try to get the sides to come up as close to the dish edge as you can. Then place that in the oven at 325 degrees for about 6-10 minutes and keep an eye on it. You want it to crisp up A LITTLE but not to fully cook; after all, it is going back in the oven once it is loaded up. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 large eggs (yolk and whites, the whole egg), a splash of milk (more than this will ruin the consistency!), some salt & pepper to taste and about 2 cups of grated asiago. We used the rest of a rosemary asiago that I found at a gourmet market and then finished with a regular, find-it-anywhere block of asiago. The 2 cups is negotiable too - honestly, we might have used more than that because we are cheese whores, so adjust accordingly. Whisk that together and let it sit. Next stir in some chopped shallots (1/4 cup) and 4-5 slices of crisp, cooked bacon that you've crumbled or sliced. Then add in the sautéed spinach....sidebar, here is how I do spinach: hot, wide sauté pan coated with olive oil, torn fresh spinach leaves with the stems removed, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a splash of white wine and a sprinkle of salt. Toss the spinach frequently and once it is wilted and soaked in the liquids, remove from heat.

Pour the mixture into the warmed, crisp crust and place it back in the oven at 340 degrees for 25 minutes. Check on it towards the end and adjust the time accordingly - you want the crust to be just browned and should be able to stick a toothpick into the quiche and have it come out clean. Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing to ensure that the pieces stay together. 

Served with a mixed green salad & champagne vinaigrette (courtesy of Trader Joe's).

- Melissa 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Simple, Delicious Surf and Turf With Fresh Fruit Salsa

     Danielle and I were lounging around earlier today, as you should on a Saturday, when we thought about what we were going to eat for lunch.  We had no plans and nothing in the house sounded all that appetizing.  Who comes to the rescue?  Me. 

     We had been watching Iron Chef America when someone began to cook scallops and they caught Danielle's eye.  We decided to make a trip to Springfield Butcher and make a delicious, easy lunch out of it.

     Here is what you will need:

1/2 lb. Dry Aged Flat Iron Steak
4 - Bacon Wrapped Scallops
1 - Mango
1 - Jalapeno
3/4 C of Fresh Strawberries
1/8 C Cilantro
1/8 C Red Onion
2-3 Tbsp. of Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tsp. Lime Zest
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Salt, Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

     Here is how to make the fresh fruit salsa.

     Chop the strawberries, mango, and cilantro.  Place them into a bowl and add the lime zest and juice.  Dice both the jalapeno and the onion and add them to the fruit mixture.  Splash with balsamic vinegar, stir, and salsa complete.

     Here is how to cook the steak and scallops.

     Pre-heat the grill to 475 degrees.  Sprinkle the salt and pepper into both sides of the scallops and the steak.  Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil on both sides of the scallops but not the steak.  Cook the steak for about three minutes on each side for medium rare.  The scallops will need about 3-4 minutes on each side.  When complete, this is what your plate should look like!

     Believe it or not, the fresh fruit salsa pairs extremely well with the steak.  I know, fruit and steak sounds like a complete man-law violation but try it.  It is delicious.  Enjoy!

- Chris

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Garlic & Goat Cheese stuffed Chicken Breasts

So I don't know about you, but bone-in chicken breast are my favorite way for this everyday poultry. Boneless cutlets are great and certainly easy, but can lack more than one level of flavor....and a whole roasted chicken can be gorgeous but is full of work. So the chicken breast in the way to go in our house and they are a lot easier than you might think... 

For this method, I first created a blend to stuff the chicken with using some herbed goat cheese (the kind that comes herbed already in the package, though plain would work just as well), 1 tsp parsley, some lemon juice, zest from that lemon and some roasted garlic cloves. While you can certainly use store-bought roasted garlic, I prefer to do my own by simply placing some whole cloves into a small ramekin with olive oil and salt (I used spanish rosemary salt) and baking it for about 5-7 minutes. Then I let it cool a little and mixed it in with the cheese, etc. 

Next you want to clean the chicken breasts and then cut a deep slit in the meatier portion of the breast along the side of each one. You don't want to completely cut the meat off though, so be careful, just make a pocket that you can stuff. Now you can season the chicken's skin with some olive oil, salt, fresh cracked pepper (I use white peppercorns) and a little thyme. Then using your hands - believe me a utensil of any kind just won't work as well - you want to stuff the slit/pocket with the cheesy-goodness mixture. Fill it until it is packed in, and then if you're as gluttonous as me, fill it some more and then use a toothpick to sort of fasten it closed and prevent spillage. Ideally, you don't want to lose too much of the cheese during cooking. 

Roast the chicken in a roasting pan for about 35 minutes at 425 degrees. Keep an eye on the skin though and if it starts to look dry or like it might burn, use an olive oil mister to keep it moist. 

Served with asparagus saffron risotto. For that some tips on that recipe (just nix the fennel and replace the tomatoes with asparagus)...check out an earlier blog post here:

- Melissa

Monday, February 13, 2012

Amaretto & Meyer Lemon Shrimp

So my entire inspiration for this dish stemmed from the Meyer lemons popping up in every store around me these past two weeks. This is their season to shine and they are so. much. more. than just a dessert ingredient! I decided to do a little research and figure out what I could use them for...and here we are. Amaretto & Meyer Lemon Shrimp - a sure fire way to impress your stomach or your dinner guests!

So, just an FYI, the dish is similar to a scampi and if you know how to make that, you're halfway there already. First you want to ensure that you have some decent prawns for this dish, preferably fresh from the fish market. Frozen, bagged and tiny shrimp will just not work. Now you need to make the marinade, which is the most "complicated" step in this recipe and guess what? Its SIMPLE.

In a bowl, mix 2-3 tbsp of melted butter (unsalted is best, but the salted won't ruin things), 2 tbsp of olive oil, some dry white wine (don't go too crazy here!), 3 cloves of minced garlic and a few pours of Amaretto liqueur. Next stir in some salt and pepper to taste, then about 2 tsp of parsley and chopped chives. Finally, use the juice from at least one Meyer lemon (if small, use two) and then zest one them into the marinade as well. 
Admittedly I should've plated on a different color...whoops.
Place your cleaned shrimp (I left the tails on, mainly for presentation sake) in a shallow pyrex dish and cover with the marinade. Marinate the shrimp at room temperature - though covered with plastic wrap - for about 30 minutes and pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. When the oven is heated, put the shrimp in and bake for 10 minutes or less...keep an eye out for the shrimp to change pink...and then remove. Plate the shrimp over the starch (rice or orzo are best - though a fettuccine wouldn't be out of the question) and then pour on the extra sauce, sprinkle with some grated Parmesan and some extra chopped chives.
Mine was served over a bed of whole wheat orzo, spinach salad on the side. 

 - Melissa

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A La Lucia is the only Italian restaurat in (Old Town) Alexandria, VA.

     In an attempt to get back into the blogging spirit, I decided to do another restaurant review for the local followers.  I have to warn you, this restaurant is so good that I ate lunch there on Friday and took my wife there for dinner on Saturday night.  I am serious when I say that this is the only Italian restaurant you should eat at in the (Old Town) Alexandria, VA area. 

     I will begin with the best lunch I have had in ages.  You can get lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  They offer an amazing pre-fixe menu that consists of an appetizer, entree and dessert for $19.95.  For my appetizer, I had a caprese salad with wedges of fresh mozzarella cheese with juicy tomatoes, fresh basil and a wonderful drizzle of olive oil.  For the main course, I opted to have the home-made veal raviolini.  To say that these mini bites of tender veal were anything less that spectacular would be a critical oversight on my part.  The pasta was cooked to perfection and I wish I could remember the sauce it came with because it was decadent.  For my dessert I decided to truly test the Italian roots of the restaurant and chose the pistachio gelato.  The only thing I can say is that I have only had better gelato in "Italy," via Disney World.  I cannot begin to describe to you how breathtaking this dessert was.  Creamy, icy, pistachio deliciousness with every bite and it was not a small serving.  Now, I was on a business lunch so I could not partake in the secret I am about to share with you.  For lunch, if you decide you do not want the gelato, home made canollis or the divine chocolate mousse, you can forfeit your dessert for a glass of wine.  You read that correctly, a glass of wine fro lunch in lieu of dessert!

     Onto dinner.  Dinner is served from 5:00 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Again, they offer an amazing pre-fixe menu that consists of an appetizer, entree and dessert.  Dinner is a little more expensive, obviously, but is still only $32.95.  Danielle and I decided to use Open Table to make our reservations, to get the points, and it turns out we made a great decision.  There was not a single open table in the entire restaurant and there was quite a line of people waiting to get in as well.  We walked in, sat down and began the arduous task of deciding what to eat.  I started off with a double cream version of mozzarella that they make at the restaurant.  Only one word can describe how amazing this cheese was.  Yummy.  The main course was a dazzling mix of herbs, pasta and cream sauce and I went back to the pistachio gelato for dessert.  When something is that good, you don't want to stray away from it! 

     Bottom line, if you are anywhere near the Old Town Alexandria area this is the only place you should go to eat Italian food.  I have been extremely disappointed in most of the "Italian" restaurants in the area but this one is the exception.  I can honestly say that this restaurant is comparable to ones I have eaten at in NYC.  

Here is their website enjoy!       


Monday, January 30, 2012

Cast Iron Lamb Shoulder with Potatoes

Sorry I've been MIA...a back injury has not kept me out of the kitchen, but it has made me forget to photograph and blog about what happening in our kitchen. Anyway, I have been utilizing my cast iron skillet more often lately because I keep coming across recipes that call for it, meaning  my mind is now conjuring up ideas of what magic it can bestow on my stomach. For instance, I had some lamb shoulder in the fridge and I figured that cooking it in the searing hot cast iron would definitely work...and I was right. 

First off, I marinated the cuts of lamb in 1/2 cup lemon juice, some fresh rosemary (say 3-4 sprigs), 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 cup olive oil and 2 tbsp of dijon mustard. I did this mid-afternoon so the meat could sit in the fridge for four hours...more or less time will still work, just depends on your schedule, though at minimum I'd marinate them for 90 minutes. 

Next up, dice up some yukon gold potatoes, throw them in a pyrex dish with a little olive oil and a lot of salt (I used a rosemary sea salt - amazing!!!!!) and stick them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Once the half hour has passed, start heating that cast iron skillet. When it is hot enough to make a drop of water evaporate, coat the bottom with a little more olive oil and then toss the potatoes in. Continue to move the potatoes around in the skillet and add a little chopped onion or shallots (less than 1/4 cup!). After about 20 minutes when the potatoes are really starting to crust over and get soft inside, grab the lamb. 

Pour some of the marinade (maybe half) into the pan and place the chops in there amidst the potatoes. Cook the lamb about 5 minutes per side and then remove the skillet from heat. The lamb will be medium-rare (and perfect!) at this time, but if you wrongly prefer it more cooked, haha, add two or three minutes to each side. 

Served with mixed greens and a homemade lemon vinaigrette. 

- Melissa 

Mahimahi Tacos

So these are not only easy, but completely healthy and delicious. To start, you need at least two pieces of mahimahi. In the absence of that particular fish, you can substitute rock fish or swordfish or hell, shrimp would also work out if you had to. To season the fish, just use a little salt, pepper and grape seed oil and then grill over a low flame for about 10-12 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up two medium tomatoes, one avocado and dice about 1/3 cup of onions. Mix the three together and then toss in a little grape seed oil (I use that oil for this because it has less of a strong flavor - like olive oil - and doesn't change the taste of the 'salsa'). At the same time, heat up some black beans in a small saucepan and stir in some crushed red pepper flakes - how much is your call.

You want to lightly toast the tortillas in the oven, right on the rack - say on the 'warming' heat option - for just a few minutes. Once they are still malleable but slightly crispy, remove and start building your taco. Take the fish and flake it off into smaller chunks that'll be easier to roll up.

Then, in addition to the fish, beans and avocado salsa, you can also add some chopped lettuce, sour cream and even tabasco - clearly we went for ALL of that.

Ideally, serve these with a beer!

- Melissa

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christmas Crown Roast

So I decided to tackle a crown roast for this past seems so seasonal and holiday-tastic, not to mention, who doesn't want a challenge on Dec. 25? Anyway, first challenge is finding a crown roast, which means hitting up a local butcher or a high-end specialty store since they are not readily available at your local supermarket, trust me. Be sure to ask the butcher to 'dress' the roast - meaning that it is tied up and arranged in a pretty circle, ready to be stuffed and cooked. Once the roast is cleaned, you want to lightly rub the outside with flour (I used whole wheat flour), a little water, oregano, salt and pepper. Not enough so that it is a paste, but it should be visible on the roast.

Hard at work, stuffing that roast.
As for the stuffing, which is a key part of the meal for sure, there are tons of variations, but I went with a green apple and sage stuffing which was unbelievably savory and just a little sweet. You'll need the regular stuffing ingredients - 2 tbsp butter, 1/4 cup diced celery, 1/4 cup diced white or yellow onion, a few cups of chic broth - and then you can either use 4 cups of toasted, cubed bread or the Stouffer's bags that they sell. Granted there are some extra spices in the Stouffer's bags, but nothing that will ruin the stuffing. Once you have cooked the main parts of the stuffing over low heat, you'll want to add in the two large green apples (diced, skin on), 1/3 cup splenda brown sugar and about ten leaves of fresh sage, cut into strips or torn. Cook the stuffing a few more minutes over very low heat and let it all mix together. If it is extremely dry, add a little more chicken broth. Then let it sit off the heat for at least 10 minutes before actually stuffing the roast.

Lastly, you want to place small pieces of foil on top of each piece of bone. You don't want to put a full piece of foil on the top of the whole roast - JUST the tips of the bones so that they don't dry out. Then you cook the roast in a deep roasting pan, completely stuffed, at 325 degrees for about 15-20 minutes per pound. We had a 12-pounder (and by the way, you won't find ones much smaller than that...this is definitely something to serve with guests over!) and it took just over three hours. Temperature-wise, you want the meat to be at about 150 degrees before you remove it from the oven. If that sounds too rare, you can cook it more, though I make no promises that it won't be dried out!!

Once the roast is out of the oven, you want to cover it with foil and let it sit for at about five minutes. Then to cut and serve it, you want to cut down through the space between the bone tips at the top. Like you're slicing a cake, the first piece/chop might be tough to extract, but moving forward the rest should come out nice & pretty.

The masterpiece is done cooking, though minus the fun little white crowns
on the bone tips...they are impossible to find!

Served with my own pear salad creation (toasted almonds, mixed greens, goat cheese & homemade pear vinaigrette).

- Melissa

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