Category Archives: Poultry, Eggs

Grilled Cuban Oregano Chicken

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This last spring while shopping for plants for my garden I stumbled upon a Cuban Oregano plant.  I’ve never seen or heard of Cuban Oregano before and it was so much different looking than the Italian or Greek Oregano that I have growing in large pots on my back patio.  The leaves were thicker, almost succulent like and they were lighter in color than the variety I use for Italian and Mediterranean dishes.  What I also noticed is that it had a wonderful herbaceous smell and flavor that would be perfect with chicken, pork or even lamb.

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Do you see how thick the leaves are?  They are fleshy and soft to the touch, almost velvety in nature.  I picked a few sprigs and thought of making a marinade for some chicken that I was going to prepare for dinner that evening.  I tasted one of the leaves first to get an idea of how much to use.  It was fairly aromatic and had a lovely flavor.  With that in mind, I was thinking of making a marinade that had a Mexican or Latin American profile.  That meant lime juice, cilantro and garlic would be great in addition to cumin, pepper and onion.  I pulled together my ingredients and marinated the chicken for about 4 hours before tossing on the hot grill.  Luckily, I wrote down my recipe for it turned out fabulous!  Both Bruce and I loved it!  As a result, this marinade is a definite keeper.  Chop up any leftover chicken and fill warm corn or flour tortillas for delicious soft tacos for a quick and easy dinner the next day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbs Cuban oregano
  • 4 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • garnish with lime wedges and sprigs of Cuban oregano

Toss all ingredients except for the chicken in a blender.  Blend for a few seconds until all the ingredients are mixed well.  Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 – 6 hours before cooking.  Place chicken on the barbecue or grill pan on medium high heat.  Discard marinade.  Cook chicken, turning occasionally, until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from heat and let chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving. Serve with lime wedges and garnish with the Cuban oregano.  Makes about 8 servings.

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Egg Drop Soup

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Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love it when the leaves on the deciduous trees in my neighborhood turn canary yellow, fiery orange and bright red.  Fresh picked apples, pears and pumpkins are some of the last crops sold at the local farmers markets as the late summer harvest winds down.  Remnants of my little garden will be tossed in a compost bin and added back to the soil next year.  Seeds will be saved.  Pots need to be scrubbed and cleaned and tomato cages need to be stacked.  In a few short months, the seed catalogs for next year will be in my mailbox.  Can you believe it?  I’m already planning next year’s garden.

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On the flip side, fall marks the beginning of the cold and flu season.  People walking around with sniffles and barking coughs become increasingly noticeable.  At the grocery store, over the counter cold remedies and boxes of tissue seem to fly off the store shelves.  Hand sanitizer and constant hand washing does help in the prevention of colds but, sometimes there’s no avoiding it.  Once you got it, you’ve got it.  We’ve all had it.  Unfortunately, most of the time, you just have to let it simply run its course…

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One of my favorite dishes to prepare while dealing with the common cold is Egg Drop Soup.  My Egg Drop Soup is similar to what you may find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.  My Egg Drop Soup is slightly different for I like to add finely chopped carrots, celery and use galangal root instead of ginger.  It’s easy to prepare, mild in flavor and has a wonderful soul soothing chicken soup like quality about it.  I love curling up on the couch with a good book and wrapping my hands around a warm little cup of my Egg Drop Soup.  Egg Drop Soup certainly won’t cure your cold but it may help you feel just a little bit better.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart chicken stock (reserve 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (chopped fine)
  • 1 slice dried galangal root
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 Tbs cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (optional)
  • chives or green onion for garnish

In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat add 3 cups chicken stock, celery, carrot, galangal, and white pepper.  Bring to a slow boil.  Cook until the celery and carrots are tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.  In a small bowl lightly beat eggs.

Now, grab a spoon and stir the boiling soup in a single direction.  Slowly add the egg mixture to the soup stirring gently.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove galangal root.  Add soy sauce if desired and garnish with chopped chives or green onions.  Makes about 4 – 1 cup servings.

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Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

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Grilled Grapefruit Chicken

I finally had another well earned day off and let me tell you, it was great!  It was so amazing to spend a leisurely day at home and in my garden doing absolutely nothing.  The house was quiet most of the day until the unthinkable occurred.  While assembling some fresh fruit smoothies for Bruce and I the other morning is when it happened…  Neither Bruce or I saw it coming.    Everything appeared normal and all looked fine as I dropped in some gorgeous bright strawberries, blueberries and bright orange mango chunks into one of my most cherished kitchen appliances.  As I secured the lid, the base of my blender appeared to be tightly fastened to the glass pitcher before I pushed the start button.  Within a matter of seconds, I shredded the motorized gears and destroyed the base unit, rendering my blender completely useless.

What completely “frosted my cookies” about the incident was that I received that blender as a gift from my mother many years ago.  I loved that blender.  It was a beautiful bright red KitchenAid and it was in perfect running condition before I destroyed it… And the smoothie ingredients?  Not salvageable either.  All went straight into the garbage can.

Well.  I have to tell you.  There is a bright side to the story.  I have a new blender.  My husband Bruce felt pity for me and within a few hours he brought me down to Macy’s to pick out a replacement to help dry my tears.  Before we left our home, I did my homework, and read the blender reviews on the internet prior to purchasing the new blender. First of all, I avoided purchasing a unit with a similar design.  I wanted something with a one piece construction rather than three.  I wanted a quality blender that was sturdy, with high wattage and really easy to clean.  Surprisingly, Bruce did not even bat an eye at the price.  We simply walked into the store, I pointed at what I wanted, he lifted the box off the shelf and pulled out his credit card from his wallet.  What a sweet man! Or rather, I should say, a very sweet intelligent man.   He really likes his smoothies.

While all the fuss was going on, I had placed some chicken thighs and legs in a tangy grapefruit marinade in the refrigerator for dinner later that day.  The marinade is a wonderful combination of flavors with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, lime juice, garlic, Sazon Goya seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.  I marinated the chicken for a few hours before tossing on the grill.  My grilled grapefruit chicken is easy to make and has a wonderful Mexican inspired flavor.  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Grapefruit Chicken on the grill…

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 pounds chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 grapefruit (juiced)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I used more)
  • 2 packets Sazon Goya seasoning (cilantro and anchiote blend)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the grapefruit juice, olive oil, lime juice, sugar, garlic paste, cayenne pepper, Sazon Goya seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add the chicken pieces, cover with plastic wrap and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Turn chicken at least once.  Heat up your grill and place chicken on medium high heat.  Throw away the marinade.  Cook until juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from grill, place on serving platter, garnish with cilantro and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

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Sriracha Egg Salad

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Sriracha Egg Salad

During the work week, I am notorious for eating lunch at my desk.  Some people may frown upon it but I don’t.  I consider it being efficient and a form of multi-tasking…

For those who do not know what Sriracha is. It’s an Asian chili sauce that you may be able to find in the Asian section of your favorite grocery store.  It’s a little bit spicy and in my opinion, tastes wonderful in so many dishes that you may want to add a little heat to.  It’s a staple in my kitchen and I use it all the time in soups, stews, sauces, eggs, stir fries and even on pizza.  

My Sriracha Egg Salad is one of those dishes that I can easily prepare the night before and have it ready in my lunch bag before I leave for work the next morning.  I just grab a handful of crackers, maybe a piece of fruit, some sparkling water and lunch is done. My Sriracha Egg Salad is a riff on a traditional egg salad but with light mayonnaise and spicy Sriracha sauce. Next time you are in the mood for egg salad, add a bit of Sriracha to liven it up.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 4 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs relish
  • 1 green onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha or to taste (I like to use more)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh chopped chives and pinch of smoked paprika

Peel and chop your hard boiled eggs.  Add to a medium sized bowl.  Add light mayonnaise, celery, relish, green onion, dijon mustard, sriracha, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Spread on your favorite bread or crackers.  Keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Makes 4 servings.

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Teriyaki Chicken

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Teriyaki Chicken

While digging through one of my mother’s old cookbooks a while back, I found this gem of a recipe.  It was handwritten on the back cover by my mother and is one of the dishes that I remembered as a child.  This recipe came from a woman named Kay who worked with my mother at a furniture factory over thirty years ago.  Kay’s teriyaki chicken is without a doubt one of my most favorite all time dishes.  I like to serve it with steamed jasmine rice and a crunchy Asian Cucumber salad.  I adapted Kay’s recipe by adding a little bit of cornstarch and removing the Ajinomoto (monosodium glutamate).  Enjoy!  Tessa

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup mirin (Japanese sweet wine)
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 – 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • toasted sesame seeds

In a medium sized saucepan whisk together soy sauce, sugar, mirin, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch.  On medium low, cook mixture stirring occasionally for a half an hour or so until mixture has thickened.  Let cool.  Any leftover teriyaki sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.

To make the teriyaki chicken, marinate chicken in a cup of the teriyaki sauce for several hours in the refrigerator. Place chicken on barbecue or indoor grill and cook until juices run clear or reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Throw away the marinade, don’t even think about reusing it.  Remove chicken from grill and let rest for about five minutes.  Slice chicken and serve with jasmine rice.  Drizzle chicken with teriyaki sauce (don’t use the same the teriyaki sauce that you marinaded the chicken in) and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

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A Winter Weekend in the Cascade Mountains and Chicken Lentil Soup

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Chicken Lentil Soup 

I love living in Southern Oregon.  One of my favorite things to do during the winter months is to visit the Cascade Mountains.  This year our family and friends stayed in some cabins up at Hyatt Lake over the weekend.  Hyatt Lake is about an hour drive from our home but in snowy weather, it may take twice as long.  There was at least 3 feet of fluffy snow on the ground and the temperature was a bone chilling 16 degrees.   The only way we could get up to our cabins was with four wheel drive pickup trucks for there was nearly 10 miles of narrow snow packed roads.

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A view up towards the summit.

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Along the edge of Hyatt Lake.  The lake was frozen over.  During the summer months, Hyatt Lake is known for its wonderful trout fishing and camping.

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A view across the lake.  The ice on the lake was only a few inches thick and covered with snow.  We would not dare walk out onto the lake for it was too risky and dangerous.

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Sunset in the forest.  It was eerily quiet.  The only noise that we heard was the snow dropping off the branches of the trees.  There were no birds, squirrels or any signs of wildlife. The birds either migrated south or are spending the winter in the valley below. Other animals such as black bear, skunks and squirrels are hibernating in their dens.  Deer, cougars and elk generally find their way down to the warmer lower elevations during the cold winter months.

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A view from the top of the mountain.  You can see the ski resort at Mount Ashland in the background.

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Snow covered Chinquapin Mountain. In late spring, when the snow has melted, Chinquapin Mountain is one of my favorite places to hunt for Morel mushrooms.  When I get some mushrooms this year, I’ll be sure to post some delicious Morel mushroom recipes.

After spending a cold day in the snow, my Chicken Lentil Soup is a perfect way to warm up. My Chicken Lentil Soup is made with locally grown organic green Laird Lentils, carrots, onions, celery, chunks of tender chicken and flavored with my homemade Garam Masala Spice Blend.  It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and as an added bonus, it’s really good for you too!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Laird lentils (washed and picked over)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Garam Masala spice blend
  • 1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan with a lid, saute onion, carrots, celery and red bell pepper in olive oil.  Cook until onions are translucent and tender.  Add lentils, Garam Masala, tomatoes, garlic and chicken stock.  Cook on low heat until lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Add cooked chicken about 10 minutes before lentils are done.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Serve hot with crusty bread.  Makes about 4 servings.

*Note:  I used precooked chicken that I found in the deli section of my favorite store.  I added the chicken towards the end of the cooking process because I wanted the chicken to stay tender.

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Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

Turkey Cranberry Sandwich

Every year during the winter holidays we always seem to have leftover turkey.  The reason is because we always have at least a 20 pound bird for Thanksgiving and sometimes we may even cook another turkey for Christmas dinner.  So, in the grand scheme of things, that’s a lot of turkey!  That’s when I have to get creative with the leftovers.  I make soups, stews, enchiladas, and even turkey lasagna.

One of my favorite ways of preparing leftover turkey is a turkey sandwich.  I got my idea from a local deli in town that offers Turkey Cranberry Sandwiches on their menu.  Whenever I stop there for lunch, that’s the sandwich that I generally like to order.  The turkey cranberry sandwich is piled high with fresh sliced turkey, tangy cranberry relish, and melt in your mouth cream cheese.  My version of the Turkey Cranberry Sandwich is a bit different for I like to use blueberry bread instead of white bread.  If you can’t find blueberry bread just keep in mind that it also tastes great on raisin bread.  So, the next time you happen to have leftover turkey, make this sandwich.  You’ll be glad that you did!  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients ***

  • 1/4 pound sliced turkey (no bones)
  • 2 Tbs cream cheese
  • 2 Tbs cranberry relish
  • 2 slices of bread (I used blueberry bread)

On one slice of bread, pile on your turkey. Add the cream cheese and then the cranberry relish.  Top with remaining bread, slice in half and serve.  Makes one delicious sandwich!

*** Note:  ingredient amounts are an approximation.

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Chicken Liver Pate

Chicken Liver Pate

When it comes to food preferences and tastes, I believe that people fall into two distinct groups.  People either like to eat liver or they don’t.  I consider myself one of the fortunate people who fall in the first category.  And as for my husband Bruce, well, take a wild guess…  I learned early on in our marriage that if I wanted to elicit a strong response out of Bruce, I would simply tell him that we are having liver and onions for dinner.

It all started with a harmless trip to the butcher…  Earlier that day I purchased a pound of calf’s liver and right before I was going to prepare the meal, Bruce noticed the package of liver in the refrigerator.  I kid you not, for within minutes, I received a stern lecture on why he will not eat liver.  Meanwhile, while trying to understand his food issue, I could not help but notice the look on his face.  The look on his face was priceless.  I knew I had just pressed a button :).

The other day while shopping for our groceries for the week, I saw a half a pound of chicken livers on sale and I promptly put them in my basket.  I knew exactly what I was going to make with them.  Chicken Liver Pate!  Not only just Chicken Liver Pate, but Chicken Liver Pate all for me.  My Chicken Liver Pate is easy to make and tastes delicious.  Serve Chicken Liver Pate on toasted crostini or on your favorite crackers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound chicken livers cleaned and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • pinch of white pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup Marsala wine

Heat a saute pan to medium high heat (Not too hot).  Add olive oil and chopped onion.  Cook until onion is opaque.  Add chicken livers, garlic, thyme, salt and white pepper.  Cook until livers are cooked completely through and no pink color is left.  Remove thyme sprig and deglaze pan with Marsala wine.  Cook until wine has nearly disappeared.  Add entire contents of pan to a food processor and process until smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove from processor and place in a bowl.  Cover surface of pate with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until completely cool.  Serve pate chilled with your favorite crackers or toasts.  Makes about 3/4 cup.

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chicken Satay.  Now close your eyes and repeat after me.  Saa-taay…  While you are saying it, just imagine hot, juicy, succulent, flavorful barbecued chicken on bamboo skewers drizzled with peanut sauce.  Close your eyes and say it again.  Saa-taay…

Did I just catch you drooling?

If you have never had satay before, satay is an amazingly flavorful barbecued dish that is generally of Southeast Asian origin.  It is prepared with many different ingredients such as chicken, beef, shrimp, lamb, fish, pork, goat and even tofu.  One of my favorite ways to prepare satay is with chicken.  I like to use bits of boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated for several hours in coconut milk, Indonesian soy sauce and a variety of spices.  I then thread the chicken on to the skewers and cook them on the barbecue.

I like to serve my Chicken Satay with my homemade peanut sauce or drizzled with sweet chili sauce or sriracha.  I also serve it with a scoops of fluffy jasmine rice and fresh sliced cool cucumbers for garnish.  I also make sure that there’s plenty of sambal oelek on the side for those who love fiery hot food.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  •  1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes or strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Indonesian soy sauce
  • 1 – 2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or sambal oelek (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together all the ingredients except for the chicken.  Once the marinade has been blended, add the chicken and toss well to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Take 10 -12 bamboo skewers and soak completely in water while the chicken is marinating.  Soaking the skewers in water prevents the skewers from burning off while the satay cooks on the barbecue.

Thread chicken onto the skewers and cook on medium hot barbecue or grill pan until the juices run clear or the chicken reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Do not brush it on the chicken while cooking and do not even think about reusing it.  Pay attention and turn your skewers occasionally for even cooking.  Be sure not to over cook or under cook the satay.  Makes 10 -12 skewers.

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Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Bruce and I lead very busy lives so cooking dinner on weekday evenings can be a crazy mad scramble. I’ve learned over the years to prep what I can in the morning before work and by the time I get home in the evening all I have to do is toss together a salad, make a quick side dish and grill up dinner.  Done.  If there is any one dish that tastes great and easy to make, my Lemon Rosemary Chicken is one that fits the bill.

Fresh picked Rosemary from my garden.

To make the Lemon Rosemary Chicken, all you need is boneless skinless chicken thighs, fresh rosemary, fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and some spices.  Toss all the ingredients in a covered container in the morning before work, cover and refrigerate.  Come home, pull the chicken out of the fridge, toss on a grill or grill pan, and cook until the juices run clear.  See?  I told you that it was easy…  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs rosemary (chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Toss all ingredients in a covered container and let marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  Toss any remaining marinade.  Place on medium hot barbecue grill or grill pan.  Turn chicken when halfway cooked.  Cook until juices run clear or the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pull from grill, let chicken rest for about 5 minutes covered, garnish with sprigs of rosemary and plate up.  Serves 4 – 6 people.

 

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