Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Lemon Pepper Chicken

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Split chicken breasts are so big one  breast, boneless with the skin on will serve two people. I am finding the splits weighing about 11/4- 1 1/2 pounds each. I have trouble finding the skin on boneless sometimes so I debone myself. It isn’t hard but you can always ask the butcher to do it for you. Just remember to take the bones too so you can freeze them for when you make stock.

I serve this with a simple salad dressed with juice from the lemon, 1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar and 2 Tablespoons olive oil. I was lucky enough to have nastursiums and purslane from the Farmers’ Market but any greens you have are fine.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

2 Tablespoons softened butter

Zest from one lemon

1 shallot minced

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 boneless skin on chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Mix together butter, zest, shallot and pepper.

2. Massage the butter under the skin. Salt well.

3. Bake 45 minutes. Slice and serve.


Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

I rarely bake. Strawberries call for shortcake. I can not find good shortcake anywhere in town. So I baked this. I used an old recipe on a index card in the back of my oldest Joy of Cooking Book ( I have 4-5 editions). It was probably in there when I bought it at an estate sale. I changed shortening to butter. Milk to cream. White sugar to turbinado. They came out pretty darn good! Strawberry season is short and I may fit this in again this year.

Strawberry Shortcake

1 container of strawberries cut into halves or quarters depending on size

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Combine the strawberries and sugar and let sit for 1-2 hours. This will draw out the juices.

1 1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in vanilla and sugar


2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon turbinado sugar

4 Tablespoons cold butter

3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1. Whisk dry ingredients together.

2. Cut in butter.

3. Stir in cream. The dough will still be a little crumbly.

4. Drop 6 large spoonfuls on to a cookie sheet. Just pile the crumbly bits up if needed.

5. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15-17 minutes. Let cool.

6. Top the shortcakes with whipped cream and berries.


Farmers Market Bounty June 21st

Farmers' Market 6-21

Farmers’ Market 6-21

The produce is just getting fun! Today at the Farmers’ market I got:

Garlic scapes

Nasturtium leaves and blossoms- These come from an easy to grow annual. I will use them in salads. They have a nice peppery flavor.

Cincinnati market radishes- These long babies are hot and spicy. I love radishes!


Green beans- First of the season and they look perfect.

Cabbage- This farmer planted very early. I expect this to make a great slaw.

Zucchini blossoms- I am so excited to stuff these with goat cheese and basil to serve with skirt steak tonight.

Kale- Wow this is beautiful! Deep green and obviously just picked.

I also got homemade bread and a fabulous cheese Danish.

Just can’t beat the Farmers’  Market for the freshest of the season!




Black Beans and Rice

I first published this a while back but it was so popular I thought it would be worth sharing with my new folks.

Mary Pat Cooks

Black Beans and Rice Black Beans and Rice

When Max was about five he used too much Tabasco on his black beans and rice. He had tears running down his face but would not let me get a new plate ” because it was so good”. Max was an adventurous eater and black beans and rice was a favorite. We still have this for dinner every week or two. It is a great meal if you are serving a vegan or vegetarian. Sometimes we serve it as a side dish with baked chicken breast or pallomilla steak (another Cuban specialty). I simply serve sliced avocado and mango sprinkled with fresh lime juice. And of course Tabasco.

I use brown rice which is not traditional. I think I started using the brown rice to get more nutrition in the boys when they were young. As time went by we decided that we liked the nutty flavor…

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Baked Grouper

Baked Grouper

Baked Grouper

Grouper is a great fish. There are many different varieties but are usually only identified as grouper. It is a thick, meaty, firm fish with a pleasant flavor. I find baking is foolproof, although grouper also grills, broils and fries very well. I figure about 10 minutes per inch thick at 400 degrees. I keep the seasoning simple and straight forward so as to not overwhelm the fish. These seasonings would work with almost any fish. Choose grouper with moist flesh and beautiful color. It may be with or without the skin for this recipe. If it is skin on the meat will lift off of the skin when done cooking. I cook the fillet whole and cut when ready to serve. I find that to be more reliable for timing my cooking.

Baked Grouper

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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11/2 -2 pounds grouper fillet

1 Tablespoon chopped chives or garlic chives

1 Tablespoon chopped capers

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Season the grouper with salt and pepper. Mix remaining ingredients and spread on fish.

2. Bake about 10 minutes per 1 inch of thickest part of fillet. ( 20 – 25 minutes)

3. Cut into 4 serving pieces.

Chipotle Ham Steak

Chipotle Ham Steak

Chipotle Ham Steak

Ham steak is a simple no problem meal. I did this with an old fashioned, new fangled glaze. You can make this entrée in 10 minutes flat. And it tastes great spicy, sweet with a zing from the lime.

Chipotle Ham Steak

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 Ham steaks

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1-2 chipotle in adobo minced

zest of 1 lime

Preheat broiler to high

1. Stir ketchup, sugar, chipotle and lime zest. Spread on ham steaks.

2. Broil 5 minutes and serve.








Purslane is originally from the middle east. It is now a common weed to most people. Purslane is a succulent that has a grassy citrus flavor. The flavor is best from a younger plant that has yet to flower. It makes a wonderful addition to salad. I am making it the star of the show in a gremolata to be served with veal chops. I mixed lemon zest, minced garlic scapes, chopped purslane and some chopped capers to make the gremolata. I will pan sear the veal chops then finish in a 375 oven for about 10 minutes and garnish with the purslane gremolata. I get mine at the farmers’ market in town. Keep your eyes open for purslane in your area.

Veal chop with Purslane Gremolata

Veal chop with Purslane Gremolata