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!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Baked Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta

You won’t miss the meat in this hearty, cheesy, mushroomy baked pasta dish, with broccoli, basil, and rosemary added for that green factor. I chose cream cheese and goat cheese for the filling, but you can substitute any soft, creamy cheeses you like—it’s all good.

Serves 4

  • 3.5 oz cream cheese, room temperature and pinched into small pieces
  • 2.5 oz goat cheese, room temperature and pinched into small pieces
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 7 oz rotini (or other semi-short pasta)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for oiling dish
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups very small broccoli florets (or medium, chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely shredded asiago cheese

Prepared Ingredients
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, goat cheese, eggs, half the rosemary, and half the basil in a large bowl.
  3. Boil the pasta according to package directions and drain. Add to the bowl with the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, garlic, remaining rosemary, and other half of the divided basil (save some extra for garnish).
  5. Season with salt and pepper and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool 5 minutes, then add to the pasta mixture, stirring well to combine all the ingredients.

Cheese Mixture

Cheese and Pasta

Beginning to Cook

Cooked Vegetables

Vegetables Added
  1. Lightly oil an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Spoon the pasta mixture into the dish, spreading to an even thickness. Spoon the crushed tomatoes on top and sprinkle with asiago cheese.

Ready for Topping

Ready to Bake
Bake uncovered until bubbly and beginning to brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve.

Baked Broccoli and Mushroom Pasta

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Gochujang-Pork Lettuce Wraps

The Korean red pepper paste called gochujang adds spicy, savory, pleasantly pungent flavor to sauces and marinades for meats, stir-fries, barbecue—wherever you want that touch of umami that says mmmmm. Its base ingredients are ground rice and soybeans, along with varieties of red pepper. Find it in any general Asian market or supermarkets with good international aisles.

Here, I used it to spruce up—really spruce up—simple ground pork lettuce wraps. Very quick, very easy, and very good.

  • 2 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 8 large lettuce leaves, such as green leaf or Boston
  • thinly sliced radishes and chopped cucumber, for serving

Prepared Ingredients
  1. Combine the gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl, stirring until well blended. Set aside.

Gochujang Sauce
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the pork, chiles, ginger, onion, and garlic and cook until the onion has softened and the pork is cooked through with most of the liquid absorbed, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in the gochujang mixture and cook until well combined and the sauce begins to thicken, 5-6 minutes.

Beginning to Cook

Cooked Pork Mixture

Sauce Stirred In
Transfer the pork filling to a bowl and serve with lettuce leaves, and radishes and cucumber for topping.

Gochujang Pork Lettuce Wraps

Monday, July 23, 2018

Crispy-Coated Halibut with Lemon

Don’t pitch that half-eaten bag of pita chips just because most of them are broken into tiny pieces. Instead, toss them in a food processor to crumble them even more, and, just like that, you’ve got coating for a big, meaty piece of fish, such as halibut or cod. Here, I mixed the coarsely ground pita chips with Old Bay™ seasoning and served the halibut with a simple drizzle of lemon juice. Simple is the key word for this dish—not to mention flavor-licious.

Serves 2

  • 1-1/2 cups broken pita chips
  • 2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 6-oz skinless halibut filets, about 1-inch thick
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus more as needed
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 large lemon, cut into wedges
  • sliced chives, for serving

Halibut Steaks
  1. Place the pita chip pieces in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Transfer to a baking dish or large plate and combine well with the Old Bay seasoning.
  2. Spread the flour on a sheet of wax paper (for easy cleanup) and whisk the egg in a shallow bowl.
  3. Roll each filet in the flour and shake off excess. Dip each in egg, letting excess drip off, then roll in the ground pita chips-Old Bay mixture, coating both sides.
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep skillet. Lightly salt the fish (there is plenty of salt in the pita chips and Old Bay) and add to the skillet.
  5. Cook, turning a few times and adding any additional oil as needed, until golden and crispy on the outside and just cooked through, 4-5 minutes total.

Ground Pita Chips with Old Bay

Coated Halibut Ready to Cook

Squeeze lemon juice over the fish, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Crispy-Coated Halibut with Lemon