Lemon Basil Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

Lemon Basil Chicken, Roasted Vegetables and Tomato Roquefort Salad

Tonight we had dinner that was both delicious and by mistake, allowed us to feel righteous in doing all the requisite foodie things: using fresh, local, organic ingredients.  The amazing thing is that in the process, we had an amazing morning riding bikes through The City and bought high-quality produce at a fraction of the cost that we would have spent for imported veggies at Safeway.

From my own personal perspective, financial concerns are greater than they’ve been in a long time.  Through this process, I keep thinking about the old adage that freedom is the enemy of creativity.  Obstacles force you to think about things differently and redefine your priorities as you move forward.  Here’s what we came up with from our fun, cheap adventure at the farmers market today.

Total Weight Watchers Plus Points: 6

Wine suggestion: La Crema Chardonnay

Lemon Basil Chicken on the Grill

Lemon Basil Chicken on the Grill

Lemon Basil Chicken

Servings – 4

Weight Watchers Plus Points per serving: 2


  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise and gently pounded to uniform thickness
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp of minced fresh basil
  • a generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil


  1. Combine lemon juice and zest, minced garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl and stir well.
  2. Place cut chicken in a large ziploc bag.
  3. Add lemon juice marinade and toss well in bag.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and grill until cooked through, flipping several times.
Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

Servings: Varies depending on the amount of vegetables

Weight Watchers Plus Points per serving: varies, this version: 3

It doesn’t really matter which vegetables you use, just pick your favorites and dice them into bite-sized pieces.  For me, red peppers, whole cloves of garlic, mushrooms and sliced onions are guaranteed staples.

  • 2 stalks of broccoli
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 medium shallot
  • 2 red spring onions
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3 small zucchini
  • shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • button mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp of thyme, finely chopped
  • Pepper Plant seasoning (optional – delicious, but optional)


  1. Preheat grill (or oven) to 400°
  2. Chop all vegetables into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and Pepper Plant seasoning and toss well
  4. Arrange on a grill tray (or a cookie sheet if you’re using an oven instead of a grill)
  5. Grill until vegetables are tender and slightly charred, about 40 minutes
  6. Remove from heat, season to taste and serve.

Tomato Roquefort Salad

Servings: 2

Weight Watchers Plus Points per serving: 1

Staying true to the let-nothing-go-to-waste pledge, we used some left over tomatoes and the last bit of the Trader Joe’s Roquefort cheese and created a tasty, simple, easy salad – ridiculously easy, it’s taken much more time time type out than it does to actually make.  I used these fantastic tomatoes we’ve formed an addiction for called Kumato.


  • 2 tomatoes, cored and sliced
  • 3 slices of Roquefort (or other bleu cheese)
  • balsamic vinegar


  1. Arrange tomatoes on plate
  2. Crumble bleu cheese and distribute evenly over tomatoes
  3. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar
  4. Dust lightly with salt

Sunday Farmers Market

Civic Center Farmers Market

Civic Center Famers Market

Another beautiful weekend in San Francisco meant we were out and about on our bikes, exploring The City and checking out the farmers market at the Civic Center.  Hard to imagine a better Sunday morning: bike ride through San Francisco, buying amazing fresh produce and grass fed beef at amazing prices and then coming home, popping open a bottle of wine and making Sunday delicious.

Farmers Market Bounty

Farmers Market Bounty

NY Strip Whole Wheat Pizza with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, Roquefort and Caramelized Onions



True confessions: I shamelessly stole this idea from my friend Carey, who shamelessly stole it from a winery she visited –clearly the tastings weren’t sufficient to black out the specifics of the h’ors d’oeuvres.  Skimp at your own peril, wineries!   As it turns out, plagiarism is delicious.

While I’ll spare you the details, current circumstances warrant a very frugal, let-nothing-go-to-waste approach to culinary budgeting in our house.  That said, I’m still forcing myself to believe less money does not mean less flavor.

Having just enjoyed a modest, though delicious, steak dinner to inaugurate Spring on the backyard grill this past Sunday, we were left with a single, lonely NY Strip.  A recent trip to Trader Joe’s left us in possession of some amazing (and unbelievably affordable — seriously run there and indulge) cheese selections.  Still rapt in the memory of Carey’s creation, it all came together.  Presto! Quick Tuesday night dinner.

NY Strip Whole Wheat Pizza with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce, Roquefort and Caramelized Onions

Remembered from the kitchen of Carey Montes


  1. 1 store-bought, whole wheat pizza dough  (don’t get the frozen stuff)
  2. Flour, for dusting
  3. 1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
  4. kosher salt
  5. 1/4 cup of red wine
  6. 1/4 cup of Raspberry Chipotle dipping sauce (I used one fromKozlowski Farms).
  7. olive oil
  8. 1 prepared NY Strip Steak (cooked to your desired temperature – though anything past medium-rare is a travesty in my mind)
  9. 2 oz of bleu cheese (my favorite is Roquefort — for me nothing matches the flavor of sheep’s milk aged in French limestone caves)


  1. Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high in a non-stick skillet until it starts to shimmer.  Add onions and toss.  Stir frequently to keep onions from burning.  After about 5 minutes, add a pinch of salt (and a pinch of sugar if you like, to aid the caramelizing process).  As onions become translucent, reduce heat to medium and continue stirring frequently to avoid burning for 20 minutes.  Deglaze pan with red wine and continue cooking until onions are dark and syrupy.
  2. While your onion is reducing to caramelized goodness, pull your pizza dough out of the fridge and let it rest and come up to room temperature.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Slice the steak into thin strips.  If it’s been in the refrigerator, pop it in the microwave for a minute or two to heat it up.
  5. Slice the cheese into thin strips (or crumble if you prefer) and set aside.
  6. Dust a cutting board with flour and press pizza dough into a rough circle.
  7. Brush about a tablespoon of olive oil over the surface of a cast iron skillet.
  8. Place pizza dough in skillet and shape to fill the bottom.
  9. Leaving 1/2 inch border, brush 1 tsp of olive oil over the dough.  Add the Raspberry Chipotle dipping sauce and spread evenly.
  10. Evenly distribute caramelized onions over sauced dough.
  11. Arrange steak slices on dough evenly.
  12. Distribute cheese evenly over pizza.
  13. Over medium-high heat, cook pizza on the stove top until steam starts to rise from the edges (about 6 minutes).
  14. Transfer to preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Checking regularly to make sure crust isn’t burning.
  15. Remove pizza from oven, transfer from cast iron skillet to cookie sheet and slice with a pizza cutter.
  16. Serve immediately.

Pair with the wine you used to deglaze the onion pan.

Grilled New York Strip

Few things are better than reclaiming the backyard after the cold, rainy San Francisco winter.  After lots of rain and cold wind, temperatures this weekend reached a very rare 80 degrees in San Francisco.  The ramifications were far-reaching: flowers burst into bloom, more naked people than usual (believe me, it’s never the right ones) wandered the streets, true San Franciscans complained about the heat and dug into the recesses of their bathrooms for sunscreen, and the long-dormant grill called from the backyard to be ignited.

Grilled New York Strip


  1. New York Strip Steaks
  2. Williams-Sonoma Gray Sea Salt with Five Pepper Blend
  3. 1 medium shallot
  4. 1 bunch of parsley
  5. 3-4 Tbsp of finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  6. Olive Oil


  1. Rub steaks with salt blend and leave at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.
  2. Combine diced shallots, finely chopped parsley and fresh thyme in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Preheat grill to 400.
  4. Grill steaks to desired temperature turning once or twice. (Keep in mind that steaks will continue to cook while they rest).
  5. Once steaks are done, remove from grill andcover with parsley, thyme, shallot mixture.  Drizzle with olive oil and tent with aluminum foil.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Keep in mind that steaks are very lonely without a full-bodied red wine, potatoes in one form or another and vegetables.

MEAT TEMPERATURE HINT (thanks to the genius of my Dad):

To get steaks to the perfect temperature, do the following:

  1. Open your left hand with your fingers up but relaxed.
  2. Touch the meaty area below your thumb.  This is how a steak should feel if you want it rare.
  3. Touch the tip of your index finger and your thumb and press the meaty part again: medium rare
  4. Middle finger and thumb: Medium
  5. Ring finger and thumb: Medium well
  6. Pinky and thumb: Well done (otherwise known as jerky)