Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb

If a leg of lamb dish sounds too intimidating to cook, relax, and read on: this was my first time cooking it. For starters, buy a small piece of the leg. My butcher cut a 4-lb roast in half (sort of), and the piece I bought was about 2-1/3 lbs with just a small piece of bone in it. In other words, this was 95% meat. But don’t forget—this is also lamb: no need to fuss or cook for a long time. A pink middle is soooo good.

A simple but very flavorful marinade based on a garlic-rosemary paste is all it takes to highlight the natural, pleasantly gamey flavor of the lamb. Rub it on and let the roast stand at room temperature for half an hour. The oven does the rest.

Tip: To make the garlic paste with a fork (instead of a mortar and pestle), finely chop the garlic on a cutting board, scrape it into a little pile, and sprinkle it with sea salt. Let it stand 15 minutes, then use a fork to mash to a paste. (The salt softens the garlic, making it easy to mash.)

Serves 6

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced and mashed to a paste (use a mortar and pestle or mash with a fork)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black
  • 2-1/3 lb semi-boneless leg of lamb, trimmed 
  1. Combine garlic, oil, and rosemary in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and rub all over with the garlic mixture. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the pan in the oven and roast the lamb 15 minutes (uncovered). Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and continue roasting until the meat is medium-rare to medium, about 50 minutes longer (or until desired degree of doneness).
Garlic Paste

Ready to Roast

Roasted Lamb
Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.

Garlic and Rosemary Roast Lamb

Friday, January 12, 2018

Chicken Ramen Bowl with Miso Broth

“Ramen” means a lot thing to a lot of different people. Both Chinese and Japanese cuisines embrace it as a style of cooking. In the most generic sense, it simply means a quick-cooking noodle dish with meat and vegetables served in a broth. It does not involve those tiny packages of so-called “ramen noodles” popular among cash-strapped, hungry college students. Do not buy those.

Instead, choose a thin Chinese or Japanese noodle of your liking and build a light yet hearty and very flavorful dish with both cooked and raw vegetables, tender chicken, and a savory broth based on miso—that salty, sweet, creamy soybean paste that makes a great base for soups, sauces, glazes, you name it.

One Brand of Chinese Noodles
Serves 4

  • 4 oz thin Chinese soba noodles (or other thin noodles)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white or yellow miso
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • sea salt (if needed)
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white/light green and dark green parts separated
  • 2 stalks baby bok choy, each trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken thigh meat (or breast)
  • 1 cup shaved, peeled carrot
  • 2 large radishes, very thinly sliced
Prepared Vegetables and Aromatics
  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken broth, miso, soy sauce, and vinegar, stirring well to dissolve the miso. (Taste for seasoning and add a dash of salt if needed.) Set aside.
  3. Heat a pot over medium heat and add the peanut oil, swirling to coat. Add the white/light green parts of the scallions, bok choy, garlic, and ginger and cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add the reserved chicken broth mixture and chicken and bring to a light simmer. Cook 3 minutes, until hot throughout.
Broth Mixture

Bok Choy Mixture Beginning to Cook

Broth Mixture Added
To serve, divide the noodles among 4 shallow bowls. Ladle the broth mixture over top and divide the carrot and radish on top. Garnish with the dark green parts of the scallions and serve.
Chicken Ramen Bowl with Miso Broth


Monday, January 8, 2018

Shrimp Pasta with Kale and Walnut Pesto

Here’s a simple dinner for two that combines the best of healthful, hearty, and homemade goodness. Did I mention so light and flavorful? C’mon, you already know the nutritional wonders of kale, and you can pump up both the good-for-you factor and the flavor of this mighty green by turning it into pesto with garlic, walnuts, olive oil, and cheese—that’s it.

Need a little more protein? Just add shrimp. Mmmmm.

Serves 2

  • 2 cups (packed) chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup broken walnut pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tbsp
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz mini penne
  • 1/2 lb peeled, deveined medium shrimp (32–36 count)
  • 1/2 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
  • fresh lemon juice, for serving

  1. Place the kale, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor. Grind until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. With the motor running, slowly pour in 1/4 cup olive oil. Scrape down the sides again and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Kale, Walnuts, and Garlic Ready to Grind

After Grinding

Oil Added

Cheese Added

  1. Cook the penne in a pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 7-8 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the pesto. Stir well to combine.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, swirling to coat. Add the shrimp and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring a few times, until the shrimp is pink and just cooked through. Stir the shrimp mixture into the pesto mixture.

Shrimp Mixture

Pesto Pasta Mixture
Divide the pasta and shrimp between two bowls and squeeze fresh lemon juice on top. Serve right away.

Shrimp Pasta with Kale and Walnut Pesto