Grilled Lamb and Autumn Chimichurri


This recipe is one from our grill. It was inspired by that fire kiss char flavor one gets from cooking over coals. Francis Mallmann, one of my culinary heroes, discovered his true culinary craft in his birthplace, Argentina. He embraced his roots, and cooks from the primal force: Fire. Taming this element is what he does best, his instincts and knowledge based on French disciplinary techniques gives him the perfect alibi to be one with fire. It’s his passion, intuition, and adventurousness that make him the king of char. I had the opportunity to meet him at the presentation of his book “Seven Fires” here in Austin, Texas. Its a cookbook I can recommend to anyone who wants to explore and understand open fire cooking.

It wasn’t until I tried his technique on my own little grill that I experienced Mallmann’s big flavor world. Besides discovering and loving the char flavor, one of my favorite recipes from his book is the Chimichurri. It is made, gaucho style with fresh herbs married to the extra virgin olive oil and a salt solution called salmuera. This kind of chimichurri is not the one that resembles pesto, the herbs are finely chopped transforming the oil and brine into a magical loose herbed infusion in which you can taste all the herbs in harmony and discord at the same time.


Inspired by his Chimichurri texture and flavor, I used Texas herbs to prepare mine. We sometimes forget that Fall season has a great variety of herbs to offer like Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Sage. The flavors on this chimichurri are deeper, woodsier, and Autumnal with a punch of garlic, hint of spice, and a bright note from the red wine vinegar. This Fall Chimichurri can be drizzled onto any roasted vegetables, added to flavor rice, used as marinade, mixed into cheese or even added to any warm lentil or bean soup for an extra kick!…eggs, salad, as an empanada companion, a spoonful into mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes or pasta?…Yes, please!

Fall and Winter are my favorite months to grill. To me, grilling makes more sense when starts to cool down. You prepare your charcoal and warm up by the cooking fire. Two weeks ago we had pleasantly lower temperatures, so I geared up and grilled these Lamb Loin chops with sea salt, black pepper, and a little extra virgin olive oil over a hot grill fired up with mesquite charcoal. There is a great deal of comfort in a fall-winter grilling session and I enjoyed it a lot. Although the next day it was 90 degrees as it often happens to be here in Austin, Texas. When the cool weather arrives, or the mood strikes, fire up the grill for a delicious lamb feast.Lamb-loin-chops-and-Texas-Chimichurri

Grilled Lamb and Autumn Chimichurri

Serves 4

Adapted from Francis Mallman “Seven Fires”

Autumn Chimichurri

1-1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoonful sea salt.
4-5 Long sprigs Rosemary needles only about 1/3 cup
12 Sprigs Thyme remove leaves forms steams about 1/2 cup
2 long sprigs Oregano about 1/4 cup
4 fresh Sage Leaves finely chopped
4-5 garlic cloves finely minced
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Red pepper flakes
Fresh black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 Red wine Vinegar
Zest of one lemon


Start by preparing the Salmuera: Bring one cup of water to a boil, add salt until dissolved and reduce until you have 1 cup. Set aside to cool down.
Chop all your herbs along with the garlic, and add them to the salmuera while still lukewarm. Add the red pepper flakes, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, Red wine vinegar, lemon zest toss well and transfer to a glass jar with a lid to let marinate. If preparing the same day, 1-2 hours before dinner will do, although Chimichurri It is best if it is prepared the day before, keep it on the refrigerator, and remember to take it out a few hours before dinner to get the best flavor out of it.


For the Grill:

10 Lamb Loin Chops Room temperature. Remember its always best to bring your protein at room temperature before cooking, it cooks more evenly and gives you tender juicy meat.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper
Natural Lump Charcoal, Mesquite
1. Fire up your Grill, dividing it into a hot hot area, and a medium-low heat.
2. Brush the lamb chops with extra virgin olive oil, both sides, sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper.
3. Place the lamb chops into the hottest area of the grill , about 1” inch apart from each other. Let them develop that char and seal about 4-5 minutes, depending on the thickness and temperature.
4. Once they easily release, flip to the other side for 3-4 minutes. Move them to the indirect medium-low heat area of your grill and let them finishing cooking for another 2-3 minutes for a nice pink rare center. Give them another minute or little longer to your desired doneness. About 115F internal temperature for rare, 120F for medium-rare and 130F for medium. Lamb tastes is best on the pink side, better flavor and texture.



Remove from fire, transfer them into a platter and let them rest for 7-10 minutes on a warm area. Before serving add teaspoonful of chimichurri on each lamb chop loin. Take the rest of the Chimichurri for seconds and what ever you do, please make sure to have plenty of crusty bread like ciabatta or chapas to clean up those juices on the plate. Enjoy!
A great side dish could be this Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad…


Grilled Lamb and Autumn Chimichurri

Music Pairing: Astor Piazzola ~Las Cuatro Estaciones

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Mariana’s Pipian Verde


One of the most iconic and traditional Mexican dishes, Mole Poblano, gets all the fame and glory, but what about the rest of the Moles? There are at least another 7 moles from Oaxaca, imagine that is just one state… equally delicious, easier, different chiles and seeds combinations, seasonal, upon what is available in different regions and Grandmas’, Moms’, and Aunts’ taste. Each family has their own traditions, style and way to prepare them. Which one is more authentic?.. The one that is more you-er than you. I do not like to refer to a dish as authentic, I believe its more about tradition. Unless we go authenticating Grandmas, Moms and Aunts out there…unless it’s a Picasso painting.

Tradition is what a dish should reflect. The way and manner it was prepared in your family, at a place in time and history that has carry on within. That’s what resonates more with a recipe, like that yellowish piece of paper that has butter spots and crunchy edges, you can barely read from your grandmas handwriting, and that you have slightly adapted because of personal preferences but its done and evokes you memories and flavors that ground you, and hold a spot in your family history.


In this case Pipian Verde it is not part of my family history, nor was traditionally made at home, but it is part of my culture and my Mexican flavors. I’ve always admired this dishes for the complexity yet so warm and comforting flavors. This Pipian Verde tells my story as a cook, the way I’ve adapted and embraced flavors in a foreign country, and the eagerness to rescue my Mexican cooking flavors.

My Pipian Verde recipe its my own translation of this traditional Mole. Not only on flavor, but also with a simpler method and an updated way to prepare it at home.
With all intention of show casing the pepitas flavor, the herbaceous distinctive smell and color, I used what is best available in austin, Texas, the city I currently call home. I thought about herbs and ingredients, that will mimic the flavors in a new refreshing way. Light, velvety and bright flavor with a hint of heat that will warm the back of your throat. This is my recipe for Pipian Verde, adapted for what I could best find in my city. If you decide to make this recipe, be fearless, do it with the best ingredients you have, use your instincts, adapt. I will assure you it will be the best Pipian you’ve ever had. Youer than you.  After that, you will fall in love with this green mole.

This mole is the beginning of my own traditions.
I hope you enjoy it and embrace the anewness



Mariana’s Pipian Verde

Serves 6-8

The unique flavor of toasted pepitas, chiles, corn masa and herbs give this beautiful bright green Mole a lighter quality and a velvety sauce. It is absolutely outstanding combination with any white fleshy fish, shrimp, chicken, turkey or roasted vegetables and root vegetables, like zucchinis, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, mirliton, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips… among others. Because of the amount of fresh herbs this Mole taste better the day its made, and it will hold for the next two days in the refrigerator.

¾ cup raw pepitas, toasted and finely ground*

8-10 (upon size) green tomatillos
2 medium poblano peppers chopped and de seeded.
3-4 Serrano peppers
¼ medium sized onion
2 garlic cloves
1-2 cups slightly packed, fresh epazote leaves**
¼ cup parsley leaves
½ romaine heart lettuce
2 cups baby power greens, like spinach, kale, arugula, mustard, chard.****
½ teaspoon anise seeds toasted
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds toasted
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon kosher salt
A few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

3-4 cups chicken stock***

4 tablespoons white corn masa harina, diluted in 6 tablespoons water or chicken stock.

*I used my spice “coffee” grinder to pulverize the toasted pepitas. Pulsing on a food processor might work too.
** Smell and taste the epazote, if this is the first time you use it, taste it it has a minty-liquorice flavor. If it is to strong for you, start by adding ½ the amount, adjust to your tastebuds.
*** I made my chicken stock using a small whole chicken. I usually add to my stock, 1 carrot, ½ onion, 1 long celery stalk, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 large bay leaf , salt and pepper to taste. It is easy to prepare, you make the most of your ingredients, using the stock and the chicken.
****Why baby greens? because they are tender and the flavor will not mask the nutty delicate pepita flavor.

For Vegan version: Use a roasted vegetable stock, preferable to add extra flavor.


Preparation Method:

1.In a blender add the chopped tomatillos, poblanos, serranos, onion, garlic, epazote leaves, parsley leaves, romaine lettuce, power baby greens, toasted anise seeds, toasted cumin, peppercorns, salt, 1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and blend well for about 3-4 minutes until pureed.

2. On a 7 QT. clay or enamel Pot, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil. Once it starts to ripple , carefully add the green blended concoction. It might splatter so use an apron. Stir, and let low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove any white foam that comes to the surface. Stir now and then.
3. With the help of a whisk incorporate into the green sauce the pulverized toasted pepitas little by little to avoid clumps. If the sauce is getting to thick add one more cup of warm chicken stock little at a time. Chicken stock has to be warm so the mole do not break and separate.
4. Gently whisk, and add the diluted masa harina little at the time. And add another cup of the chicken stock. Whisk gently. And let the mole on a gently slow simmer for another 10 minutes stirring now and then making sure you scrape the bottom to avoid hot spots. As it cooks the mole will thicken, If the consistency its to thick add more chicken stock, little at the time, you want a creamy consistency, that will cover the back of a spoon.
5. At his point I used my immersion blender and blend for 1 minute until smooth and velvety. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can use the food processor or a blender. Please, be really careful and cautious when handling hot sauces into the blender.
6. Taste for salt , adjust if necessary let it simmer at the lowest.


7. Serve warm over a piece of chicken, pork, white fish grilled or sauteed, or any Vegetables. Be generous with the sauce, cover the entire surface, and maybe a little more. Garnish with toasted pepitas, a side of brown rice, or your favorite garlicky rice pilaf. Enjoy!


Interested on cooking this delicious Pipian Verde and learning other 2 moles with me?

Come and join me at Kitchen Underground headquarters for a Moles and Mezcal Cooking class

Pipian Verde * Mole Amarillo * Mole de Novia

For registration and more information about this class: Kitchen Underground

“Para todo Mal un Mezcal, y para todo Bien… también!”

Looking forward to see you there!…

Any Class suggestions, Yes, more please! shoot us a comment…

Music Pairing: Luis Cobos Huapango Popurri

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Bonanza Bowl


One Zucchini, one sweet potato, 1/3 of avocado, 11 cherry tomatoes, some spinach, the heel of a red onion and 2 pieces left from different cabbages, that was what I had in my fridge.
It happens to every fridge. These lonely rangers, the forgotten vegetables that get a little sad and tired looking. You really do not have a plan for them but you know you better eat them before you reload your fridge. All this bits and ends not enough for a complete recipe, you know how it feels when you have potatoes, but not butter, you have pasta but no sauce, or garlic but not oil sometimes your cooking just gets stuck. Some times you have to shake up your fridge and pantry to see what comes out of it.

This is the kind of Non-recipe that saves you. Sometimes if your fridge feels like this, its contagious and you’ll find that your Pantry has the same dilemma. But when your cooking bulb goes on, this bits and ends can be transformed on a blink of an eye and will turn into, perhaps the best dinner of the week.


I did a quick pantry search, and spotted the last brown rice on the jar and some pepitas. I cooked the brown rice using my pasta method, lots of water and then strain the rice, voila you have the perfect separate grains very efficient and anti-gluppy rice. If you are a rice glupper this is the method to the madness.


While rice was cooking, a quick look into the freezer and I had some left over shrimp from last week yes!…Please, do not get discouraged if there is not such a big freezer catch for you waiting in the freezer, remember there is always an egg waiting to be sunny side up into a bowl like this. Tofu, cheese, left over roasted chicken, lentils, every protein sings well on this bowl.

I knew I did not want to spent to much time cooking all this puzzle, so I thought on the simplest cooking like sauteeing or quick pickle that yield maximus flavor with minimal efforts. Next, Shredding the cabbage adding some dashes of vinegar, honey and tabasco, salt and pepper for a quick pickle. It took me about 2 minutes. I chopped some spinach, halved cherry tomatoes for freshness. Then cubed sweet potatoes and zucchini quick sautéed with olive oil salt and pepper until a bit charred.


Using the same pan I sautee the shrimp along with some ancho powder and spices for a punch of flavor.


Before serving, I seasoned the rice and plate everything on a bowl a squeeze of lime, a blap of creamy yogurt a dash of hot sauce. A one heck of a good one bowl dinner!


Beside loving the eclectic vegetable chaos, what I love the most about this one bowl its that every bite taste different. What could feel like bits and ends become a feast of flavors, textures and colors. In less time that you imagine, you will find yourself eating even better than if you would have planned. A truly Bonanza Bowl.

Maybe, next week you will find yourself waiting and craving to put your left overs together…


Bonanza Bowl

Serves 2-3-4 stretch it by adding an egg…if you have them…

I started by cooking the Brown Rice.
About 3/4 cup brown rice, I always cook my brown rice like pasta, in lots of water just using less salt. It cooks about in 25-30 minutes. I drain the rice and let the steam take care of the excess water. I used a dash of comino, garlic and salt for the rice.

Then I chopped into cubes the sweet potato, and sautéed. Zucchini chopped in long pieces and quick sautéed.

The awkward pieces of Cabbage Red and green, I shredded and season with a couple of dashes of tabasco, some honey, 2 good pinches of oregano and rice vinegar, for a quick pickled flavor.

Chopped a bit of Red onion and spinach, halved some gold tomatoes, avocado and lime wedges.

Once I had all this vegetable situation ready, I seasoned the shrimp with about a teaspoon of paprika, ancho chili powder, garlic and salt and sautéed them using the same pan from the zucchini and sweet potato. For a more efficient clean up future.

Shrimp or egg or tofu or chicken or tuna, or what ever you have left over roasted chicken,etc..

I served everything on a bowl sprinkled some sea salt, some fresh cracked pepper, a blap of greek yogurt. Done dinner was served in about 20 minutes.

With all our spear time, we indulged and took our dinner bowls up stairs to the TV room and watched a good ol’ movie…

Which movie???!!!…oh! Lordy… Casino Royale 2006 hehehe

Have fun with your left overs!


For the double 00h! on this Bowl:

Movie Pairing:  Casino Royal James Bond

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Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_ingredients_Yes, more please!

Sweet peppers are what you can find at the markets in Austin, Texas right now. Beautiful varieties, colorful, different shapes and sizes. Perhaps one or two sassy ones among the bunch, but mostly they are fleshy, sweet and flavorful.

For me, grilling these kind of sweet peppers bring the best flavors in them. The sweet mild flesh with the charred pieces of skin are what inspired me to make this salad. We love to grill at this time of the year when it does not feel like you are grilling your self over, September its a better Grilling Time for us.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilling-Sweet-peppers

So what to do with all these chard sweet peppers? I combined them with the most handsome Italian grain of them all: Farro, my favorite grain, because of his nutty flavor,  great bite and texture. This gigolo of a grain has to become part of your pantry. I cook farro the same way I cook pasta, in lots of water and a couple of pinches of salt,  for about 20-25 minutes. Once its cooked, I strain the water, air dry it, and while still warm I add a sensible vinaigrette, of green grassy extra virgin olive oil along with a generous splash of red wine vinegar for a bright flavor. Coriander seeds, garlic, salt and pepper where my flavors of choice for this grilled salad.

Last but not least, I added grilled Sweet Peppers, grilled red onions, some fresh celery for crunch and sprinkled some bulgarian feta to add some salty and creamy texture. It is a great hearthy salad.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Charred-red-onions

This Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad will flirt with lunch or dinner, the perfect match for roasted or grilled, chicken, pork or lamb. If you are feeling not so carnivorous, put an egg on it. This Farro salad best companion was a glass of red wine, we had a good Tempranillo and some Lamb Loin chops on the side. It was a great end of the Summer welcome Fall dinner.


Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Yes,-more-please

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad

Serves 4-6 Italian portions

1-1/2 cup dry Farro
18-20 Sweet peppers any kind, any color, mix and match.
1 large red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh celery, include the leaves

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 to 1  teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and coarsley chrushed
1 small garlic clove finely chopped or smashed through a garlic press.
1 teaspoon honey
1 lemon, grilled and juiced.
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a mason jar place all the vinaigrette ingredients, close jar with the lid on tight and shake-shake shake…then ready to use.

Bulgarian Feta crumbs to top.
Chopped Mint or Texas Marigold (optional)

Preparation Method:

1. On a large pot filled with water, and 2 good pinches of salt, add Farro, bring to a boil and cook for 20-25 minutes. Taste for doneness. Drain water and air dry on a colander.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Cooked-Farro

2. Grill red onion and sweet peppers. Once the peppers have cool enough to handle them, peel them, remove seeds and cut into stripes.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilled-Sweet-peppers-and-OnionsSweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Chop,-chop,-chop

3. On a large plater or a bowl, combine the cooked farro along with all the vinaigrette, the sweet pepper stripes, grilled onions, celery, mint, salt and pepper. Use your hands, toss well. When ready to serve sprinkle the feta crumbs.

Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Grilled-lemon_Yes,-more-pleaseSweet and Handsome Farro Salad_Toss-the-Salad


Sweet and Handsome Farro Salad_a great simple salad_Yes,-more-please

There is nothing like great ingredients, treated with respect, paired and cooked right and you will have a heck of good dinner!

Music Pairing: I’m Just a Gigolo- Louis Prima

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