Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Pulled pork sandwiches are high on my list. I love them. This is a “healthier” version. To reduce more of the fat, I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. You can serve these sandwiches on those super thin “buns” to ease the guilt! Also, you can throw it in the crockpot and forget about it!

Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Serves 8

8 oz can reduced-sodium tomato sauce
4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
3 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sweet or smoked paprika
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground chipotle chile
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground chipotle and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.

Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Make Ahead Tip
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Shake Shack ShackBurger

Shake Shack originated as a hot dog cart in Manhattan in 2004 and has now grown to 21 locations across the United States with another 13 international locations.

They are known for their shakes, fries, hot dogs and of course burgers.  The secret to the ShackBurger is the blend of sirloin, chuck and brisket beef.

This is the Shake Shack at Grand Central Station, my favorite building in the world.


Shake Shack ShackBurger

Serves 4

16 oz ground beef (ask your butcher for a mixture of sirloin, chuck and brisket)
2 Tbs butter, melted
4 Martin’s Sandwich Rolls
4 Tbs Shack Sauce (see recipe below)
4 leaves of green-leaf lettuce, clipped
8 center-cut slices ripe plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbs ketchup
1 Tbs yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper

Form into four round patties, about 2-inches tall, and 2.5-inches wide. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Open buns but do not split hinge. Brush lightly with butter, then place under broiler or in toaster oven until golden brown, about 1 minute. Spread 1 tablespoon Shack Sauce on top half of each bun. Place 1 leaf lettuce and 2 slices tomato on top half of each bun.

Rub inside of heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet with vegetable oil, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke. Season beef pucks on top side with salt and pepper, then place, seasoned side down, in skillet. Using back of heavy, flat spatula, press down on beef pucks firmly to form 4-inch round patties, being careful not to let it stick to bottom of spatula. Season top side with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp brown crust has formed about 2-minutes.

Carefully scrape patties from skillet, and flip. Top each patty with 1 slice American cheese. Cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Transfer patties to burger bun bottoms, close sandwiches, and serve.

Shack Sauce
Combine all ingredients in blender until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary. Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.

Magic Green Beans

My good friend Chris had us over for dinner last weekend and served these green beans that were outstanding. I can honestly say they were the best I’ve ever had. He had these at a restaurant in Chicago called Girl & the Goat.




Magic Green Beans

Green Bean dressing (makes 2 cups)
4 oz lemon juice
5 oz fish sauce
2.5 oz soy sauce
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
¾ tsp sriracha sauce
1/3 oz garlic smashed (about 2-3 cloves)

Green Bean aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup green bean dressing

Green Beans
4 cup green beans, trimmed
2-4 oz olive oil
½ cup shallots, sliced
1/3 cup unroasted unsalted cashews, chopped
salt (may not be needed)

Combine green bean dressing ingredients in a bowl or jar (a jar is good because there will be left over dressing, which can be used in other applications – keeps for a few weeks in refrigerator. After 2 days, strain to remove garlic pieces and transfer to a squeeze bottle). Make at least one day in advance.

To make aioli, combine mayonnaise and up to 1/3 cup dressing. Whisk until smooth but still thick (not watery). Put into a squeeze bottle and set aside or refrigerate.

Heat large frying pan, add oil, then add green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add shallots and continue to cook 2-3 minutes longer. There will be a little char on the green beans.

Add enough green bean dressing to coat beans (start with 2 Tbs and taste (it’s easy to put too much dressing in and turn the whole thing into a salt bomb), cover and let steam 2-5 min on medium heat – do not burn. Add cashews and season with salt if necessary.

Transfer to serving dish and drizzle with aioli.

Tonkatsu Sauce

Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ, pork cutlet), is a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. Tonkatsu originated in Japan in the 19th century.   I wrote about Pork Tonkatsu about 3 years ago that was served with store bought Tonkatsu sauce. I had a hankering for breaded pork and was out of the sauce, so I decided to make my own.



Tonkatsu Sauce

Makes about 1¼ cups

1 tsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp water
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire
4 tsp soy sauce

Whisk together mustard and 2 tsp water in a bowl until smooth. Add ketchup, Worcestershire, and soy sauce, and whisk until smooth.

Crispy Oven Zucchini Fries

Recently, I posted a recipe for Zucchini Patties. I guess I have zucchini on my mind. Zoe made this  “unfried”, healthier version, which really turned out well. I have included the Apricot Dipping Sauce below. We served this with Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches.

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Crispy Oven Zucchini Fries

Serves 4

½ cup all purpose flour
1 beaten egg with 1 egg white
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
½ tsp smoked paprika
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 zucchini, sliced into ½ inch thick and 4 inches long
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Add flour to a pie plate and whisk in some salt and pepper.
Beat the eggs together in another pie plate.

In a third pie plate, whisk together the panko, Parmesan, smoked paprika, and another big pinch of salt and pepper.

Dip the zucchini in the flour, then in egg, and then through the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a sheet tray and spritz with non-stick spray. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip, and continue cooking for 10 minutes more, until golden and crisp.

Apricot Sauce

In a blender, puree:

½ cup Pineapple Juice
2 ½ Tbs Dry Mustard
1 ½ Tbs soy sauce

Transfer to a bowl and stir in:
1 ½ cups apricot preserves

Serve the sauce warm.

Zucchini Patties

These zucchini patties are really latkes. Grace, yet again, made these. We decided it would go really well with Apricot Dipping Sauce. There is a restaurant in Pasadena called Hamburger Hamlet. One of their most popular appetizers is called Zucchini Zircles, fried with Italian herbed breadcrumbs served with tangy apricot sauce, chipotle salsa and ranch dressing.  The Apricot dipping sauce, is divine.




Zucchini Patties

Serves 2

1 whole Large Zucchini
1 Tbs Minced Garlic
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cup) Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup 4-cheese Italian Blend (or Parmesan Or Romano)
2 whole Eggs
Kosher Salt To Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Olive Oil

Wash and cut the end off of one large zucchini. Shred it using the large holes of a cheese grater. Squeeze the shredded zucchini inside of a clean towel until you’ve removed as much liquid as possible.

Place shredded zucchini into a medium sized bowl. Add minced garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese (shredded), eggs, kosher salt and pepper to taste. Stir with a fork until well mixed.

Heat olive oil (about ¼ inch deep in bottom of skillet) to a medium heat. When the oil is hot enough drop a spoonful of zucchini batter into the skillet and flatten it a bit. After about two minutes, turn the cakes over ( they should be nice golden-brown) and cook on the other side until done (about 2-3 minutes).

Serve with the dipping sauce of your choice or Apricot dipping sauce below.

Apricot Sauce

In a blender, puree:

½ cup Pineapple Juice
2 ½ Tbs Dry Mustard
1 ½ Tbs, soy sauce

Transfer to a bowl and stir in:
1 ½ cups apricot preserves

Serve the sauce warm.

Spicy Southwest BBQ Sauce

This BBQ sauce should spice up your 4th of July celebrations!

Spicy BBQ Sauce

Spicy Southwest BBQ Sauce

6 cloves garlic
2 cups ketchup
2 stalks celery
1 cup water
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves

Bake garlic in a small baking pan at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and peel.

Combine garlic and remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Cool.

Process mixture in a blender until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

Jalapeño Tartare Sauce


Today’s blog comes from Sharon, Brisbane, Australia.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I used to love Trader Joe’s Tartare Sauce with Jalapeños – I think I have finally managed to copy their recipe. Here it is, served with Moreton Bay Bugs – these are found as you would expect in Moreton Bay here in Queensland, Australia. They are a type of slipper lobster and totally delicious.


Jalapeño Tartare Sauce

1/2 cup good mayonnaise
2 Tbs small-diced pickles or cornichons
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs capers
1 tsp coarse-grained mustard
Pickled jalapeños – chopped finely – to taste
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch freshly ground black pepper

Mix together and serve.

Quick Marinara for Chicken Parmigiana


Guest blogger Jessica (Denver, CO) from Beauty Marks again.


Sometimes nothing but chicken parmigiana will do for a grumpy child. Yes, you all know how to make breaded chicken cutlets, but what made this version great was the sauce. It only took about five minutes longer than opening a jar:

Quick Marinara for Chicken Parmigiana

1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes – whole or crushed; puree them with a hand blender (or as I like to call it, the kitchen vibrator)
Olive oil
Two cloves of garlic
A pinch of crushed red pepper
Dried or fresh oregano (I used both)

Sauté the garlic and pepper in the olive oil. Add the tomatoes. Simmer for about ten minutes. Add the oregano and salt. Sauté for a few more minutes. Voilà – or eccolà – you have the best sauce imaginable.

Mini Kofta Patties with Tzatziki

The other night, when I made Chicken Zorba, I also made these mini Kofta patties.  They are meant to be made with lamb, but I hate lamb and I made them with ground beef.  Also, they are meant to be shaped onto skewers and grilled, but that’s too much work.  You can eat them in pita bread with the Tzatziki. Tzatziki is a Greek yogurt and cucumber sauce, that is very refreshing.



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Mini Kofta Patties with Tzatziki

4 cloves garlic
1 Tbs kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 lb ground beef chuck or lamb
3 Tbs grated onion
3 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbs ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, for brushing the grill
Tzatziki, recipe follows
Grilled flat bread

Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste. Mix the paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt with the meat, onion, parsley, and spices.

Line a pan with aluminum foil. Divide the meat mixture into 28 rough balls. Flatten each ball and place on a pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the patties, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with tzatziki and flat bread.


Makes 1 1/4 cups

2 cups Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
2 tsp kosher salt, plus a pinch
1/2 clove garlic
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried mint, crumbled

Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater into another bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons salt and rub into the cucumber with your hands. Set aside 20 minutes, then squeeze the cucumbers to express as much liquid as possible.

Smash the garlic, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Stir the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mint into the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.